Monday, October 31, 2011

Paula Reviews "The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts"




Book: The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts by Louis De Bernieres
Publishing Info: Secker and Warburg, 1990
How I got it: picked it up at the local library book sale for 50 cents because I liked the cover art
Genre: Magical Realism
Rating: 5 stars

I just put this book down and ran over to the computer to write the review before I lost the sense of joy it left me with. I know that this review is going to be a challenge for me though, because so much happened in this book and there were so many characters that if I focus on one thing, I’ll be leaving out multitudes of equally wonderful things that happened in a different part. This book took me longer to read than I had hoped, but that was only because life kept getting between me and this glorious piece of writing.

The best way I can describe this book is that the writing style is similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. It takes place in a made up South American country that has the political strife of many real South American countries. The story follows the characters of one particular city, the army and the guerilla fighters. Each chapter is a sort of vignette that focuses on the activities of one (or a few) characters interacting and slowly moves the plot forward. This allowed De Bernieres to create rich and wonderful characters.
The plot is hard to describe, the synopsis on the back of the book only covers about the first fourth of the novel. Which is the rich, shallow Dona Constanza deciding to divert the Mula River in order to fill up her swimming pool and the citizens of the city trying to stop her by sabotaging the canal in any way possible. However, by the end of the book Dona Constanza has grown so much as a character that even she realizes how ridiculous she was being at the beginning.

Since I feel like I’m failing to do this book justice, I’ll mention a few of my favorite things in hopes that they’ll illustrate the magical qualities of this book.
-General Fuerte: He is actually one of the lesser mentioned characters in the story, but he is definitely my favorite. He is one of the few uncorrupt army officers in the book and tries to make sure his branch of the army performs honorably. However, his real passion is the taxonomy of animals, and he eventually deserts in order to follow his dream of recording the different species of hummingbirds found in the jungle. He is eventually captured by the guerillas who originally want to kill him for being in the army, but realize how naïve he is and instead keep him as a prisoner for the majority of the book. He has quite a climactic get away from the guerillas, the army, and life in general at the end of the novel. But you’ll have to read it to find out what he does.

-Aurelio’s story: Aurelio is a Mountain Indian who finds his way into the tribes in the jungle. His story is perhaps the most heartbreaking. He and his wife cannot have children so they raise dogs in attempt to breed a dog that does not bark. While they were out in the jungle one day with their dogs they stumble upon a 4-year-old feral girl. They decide to adopt her and raise her as their own. I don’t want to give away the heartbreaking bit, but tragedy strikes Parlanchina (his daughter) and Aurelio swears revenge upon the army. What I love about his story is that he sets up his traps for the army in the middle of the book, but nothing happens with them until the end, when the reader and Aurelio has forgotten about his plan. And by the end he regrets his revenge because more people died needlessly after the war was over.

-The Plague of Cats: This part of the novel is never really explained, but is probably my favorite magical realism aspect of the book. There is also a plague of laughter that hits, but it’s not as enjoyable as the kitties. OH and De Bernieres definitely alludes to One Hundred Years of Solitude (and possible another magical realism book I have yet to read?) in one paragraph, “Around here no one seems to think such extraordinary events as plagues of cats and plagues of laughter have any significance. I have been told that before I came, there were on various places a plague of falling leaves, a plague of sleeplessness, one of invisible hailstones, a plague of amnesia, and another time there was a rainstorm for several years that reduced everything to rust and mold.” Which made me squee like a little fan girl for 5 minutes. Anyway back to the cats: One day the people of the city wake up and find that it has been invaded by hundreds of cats. And they have no desire to go anywhere and just like to be mischievous little things. They are also apparently are immortal, one of the characters got fed up with one while he was trying to pack, shot it, and it shrugged it off and kept batting at a drawstring. Eventually the cats begin to grow to the size of ocelots, then pumas, and by the end of the book they are the size of jaguars and they are intensely loyal to their people. They are just a good addition to the story.

So. There are my 3 favorite parts of the story (and it was hard to limit myself). I highly recommend you go out and find it and read it and love it. I will be tracking down the second and third part of the story (did I forget to mention it’s a trilogy yesssss) and all the other books by this author.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Daisy Discusses the Game of Thrones TV Series



***WARNING***
While I'm sure a lot of you have seen/read it, I'll try not to put in spoilers, but I'm not gonna lie, it could be one slips in (sneaky little things those spoilers..).

Anyway: This is one of those series of books and now a TV series as well that a LOT of people are talking about. If you've followed this blog since the beginning, you might vaguely remember that I reviewed the first book A Game of Thrones right here on The Broke and the Bookish. This book blew me away with its epic fantasy awesomeness.

I was really excited about the fact that it was going to be made into a TV series, because my boyfriend doesn't really read (though I have to give him credit, he's trying) and I want to share the things I love with him. So this was perfect.

And I have to say, though I'm often complaining about the lack of consistency between print and screenplay, this adaption is AMAZING! It is SO good! Of course, there are still some things that are different/left out, but overall, it's pretty true to the book. LOVE!

But let's talk a bit about the differences: I've recently discussed this book with Kelly (because I managed to bully her into reading it, YAY!) and we noticed that the characters in the TV series are a LOT older than they are in the books. I had to look their ages up, because it's been a year and I wasn't really sure anymore. But Jon and Robb are 16 I believe (could be 15).

These two gorgeous boys (though obviously not including the one in the middle, cause that would be kind of gross) are NOT 16 (or 15, either). They are in fact 24 and 25. Which makes me happy. Because seriously, I would feel like a creep making goo-goo eyes at Jon if he was 16. So YAY!
And in real life, the actress playing Danaerys is 23, which makes the nude scenes more acceptable.

Researching this, I read online that the creators chose for older actors because they feel that in the middle ages, which is about right for most epic fantasy, you didn't really have teenagers. At 16 you would be of age, and in the time of Henry VIII as a girl you'd get married of at about 14, so I think they're pretty much right about this. It also feels right that the characters are older, they do some incredible things, especially Danaerys at age 14, I mean, becoming queen? That's huge!

I know there's a lot of nudity in the TV series, in the books as well, so I think this is probably best reserved for a slightly more mature audience (yes, I said mature, cause age is not always related to this). And some of it made me cringe a bit, but that's just me. I didn't feel like all of it was unnecessary, though there are some scenes, if you've seen it you probably know what I mean (the two girls in the brothel), that I could have easily done without and I'm not even sure the one I mentioned was in the book to begin with.

I do want to give the producers major props for the awesomeness that is the whole setting! It's pretty much how I pictured it in my head and everything looks amazing and real! With fantasy, you can often go tacky in how you film it, but here it's done absolutely right. And the cast is so well done! I LOVE Sean Bean as Ned and I'm so sad he won't be in the next season! I actually miss Ned all around, which is why I haven't started the second book yet. Gosh, he was such an amazing character!

There were some characters I liked better in the TV series than the book, namely Tyrion. Tyrion has a pretty big fanbase based on the book, but I really started warming up to him in the series. Peter Dinklage is awesome.
And OMG, Syrio! LOVE! And Robb, he's much more likable in the TV series, though I can't quite put my finger on why that is. I even liked Cersei better, I saw the scared mother in her and also **SPOILER, light up to read**how she didn't want Ned to be executed, which made me like her better. And I'm sad to say I liked Bran less in the TV series than in the book, he seemed sort of blah to me.

But my favourite characters remain Ned and Arya. And Danaerys.

So that's me gushing/discussing this series. Have you seen it? Excited for the second season? Read the book?? Or ALL of them? I've been lucky enough to win all the copies recently, so I'm dying to dive into my pretty books.
And for those who haven't read/seen it: HIGHLY recommended!! (in case I wasn't clear before ;) )
Tell me what you think: agree/disagree? Things I haven't mentioned? Let me know!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jana Reviews "Halo" by Alexandra Adornetto



Title and Author: Halo, by Alexandra Adornetto

Publishing Info: August 31, 2010, by Feiwel and Friends

How I Got This Book: Birthday present.

Why I read this book: The cover sucked me in, and the story sounded like something I’d enjoy.

Stars: 1




I had high hopes for this book. The cover is one of the prettiest I’ve seen in a long time (Really. Who could say no to that cover?), and the story sounded like something I’d love to read. I like stories with angels and romance. This book just didn’t do it for me, though, and parts of it really annoyed me. Here’s the summary from the back of the book.

 “Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.


Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.
The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?”


I was expecting these amazingly perfect angels coming down from Heaven to save a deteriorating world. I thought it would be full of action, excitement, forbidden love, and suspense. Was it? Not really. The story didn’t even really pick up until about page 370. This is a 500-page book. Let me list off some of my main complaints that made this book so hard to finish.  I must warn you, this might be the harshest of all my reviews. I feel really bad about it… but I just can’t go without saying this!

1. The writing. Oh dear. Talk about purple prose. There was more flowery writing in this book than actual dialogue! And it did nothing for the plot. Things are described multiple ways and then compared to something else countless numbers of times: "That was the effect he had on me--an explosion of happiness in my chest, scattering like little beads and making my whole body shiver and tingle." Or… “Xavier's eyes are turquoise and almond shaped, like twin pools of clear blue ocean.” Every time Xavier’s eyes were mentioned, they were turquoise. The author could come up with nothing else to describe them. Yes, we get it. And his hair was always nutmeg. ALWAYS. Hey, did you know Xavier’s hair color is nutmeg? Oh, by the way… Xavier has nutmeg hair. And he’s hot. Really hot. If you forget, that’s ok. You’ll be told again really soon. At least 3-4 times a chapter, in fact.

Pages were devoted to descriptions of interiors, or places, or outfits, or feelings, or people that didn’t contribute to the plot at all. I'd read some long, overdone description of some nameless character, and then they are never mentioned again! So why should I care about them? I was getting so tired of it. An Amazon reviewer said it best when she mentioned that the plot takes a back seat to the overwritten details and descriptions. Did I mention Xavier’s really hot?

2. Bethany’s “brother” is Gabriel, the archangel. Her sister is a seraph.  Why are such powerful angels sent to a sleepy little town called Venus Cove, where nothing bad is happening? I would think they’d be sent to a war zone or a place with extreme poverty, but no. They get sent to a place where more volunteers are needed to serve at the local soup kitchens. There was no possible way to write in any exciting encounters against evil.

Bethany would offend all actual angels, in my opinion. She’s petty, childish, shallow, and complains about her job in Heaven. Gabriel and Ivy walk around acting very superior and stuck-up—much different than I would expect messengers from God to act. AND… these angels are so dumb! The villain of the story is painfully described to a tee and fits perfectly into the category of “evil”. Every reader in the world knew he was bad before the angels did. A 3-year-old would get it.  It wasn’t until he started doing awful things that the light bulb turned on and they were like, “Oh, I think he’s bad.” Duh! Luckily this is not what real angels are like, because we’d be in trouble if they were.

3. Don’t fall into the plot holes. In the book, angels are described as having no family and not being able to understand human emotions. So why are Gabriel and Ivy referred to as Bethany’s siblings? Gabriel says love is forbidden. He also says that angels don’t feel the way humans do. So… the fact that Bethany is so in love with Xavier makes me question the entire premise of the book.

4. The love between Xavier and Bethany is more obsessive than that of Edward and Bella. I know, right? Is that even possible? Must be because he’s so hot. I did mention that, right? Bethany is willing to turn her back on Heaven for him! That seems really unhealthy, considering it took only a week or two for this crazy, never-ending, undying love to develop. There was no build-up to the love story. They saw each other, he ran into her on purpose a few times, he tells her he likes her, and BOOM. A full-on love explosion happens, and they both go nuts. I didn’t believe it at all, and it really sounded like some little girl’s daydream. And oh my, protectiveness! Xavier actually force-fed a protein bar (airplane noises and all) to Bethany when she wasn’t hungry when he thought she should be.  He compared her to glass and would not let her carry her books. I wanted to gag.

5. Halo is a Twilight knock-off. Vampires have been changed to angels, and the girl is now the supernatural one instead of the guy. The two meet in high school, she fights her feelings for him because the two of them shouldn’t be, then the whirlwind romance happens, she tells him her dark secret after hardly knowing him at all, he is taken in to her family as a trusted ally, the angels are the hottest breed of life known to man, etc. Instead of sparkling, the angels glow. Xavier saves Bethany from a gang of guys who want sex from her. Bethany even takes the train in to the city (Port Circe) to search for prom dresses, but found nothing she liked. Can we just call it Port Angeles, call Bethany Bella, and move on?

6. It was SO preachy! A religion can be written without being preached. This book is laced with mini-sermons and lectures, and should have been marketed as a Christian romance. Readers deserve to know if they’re about to be preached to for the entire book. I have nothing against Christian fiction; I just don’t read it (not because I’m not a Christian, but because there are so many different variations of Christianity and I frequently find things that rub me the wrong way, or teachings I don’t believe in). I understand this is fiction, but I was downright offended by some of the things she said about angels, God, etc. I have a hard time with authors taking liberties with spiritual/gospel-related subject matter. Commercialized Christianity. Not digging it. I hear the Devil himself is referred to as “Big Daddy” in book 2? Oh my. Gag me with a spoon.

7.  The story moved SO slowly. While reading this, I was in the process of painting my living room. I would choose to paint over taking a break to read. Watching paint dry was more entertaining. Now THAT’S saying something.

I guess I should have expected nothing more than I got as soon as I read a quote by Beyoncé on the introductory page of the book. Yes… a lyric from the song, you guessed it! HALO (Baby I can see your halo/you know you're my saving grace.). How creative. To make matters worse, it was paired with a quote from “Romeo and Juliet.” Sorry, but Beyoncé and Shakespeare don’t go together. I’m having a hard time understanding why this book got a deal. I enjoyed the idea, but not the execution. And I feel bad for the graphic designer who had to waste their beautiful design on such a lackluster book. This is the first book in a trilogy, and I have no interest in reading the other two.

And on that note… Xavier. He’s, like, really hot.

So, have any of you read Halo? Did you like it, or did you feel the same way I did?



Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ten Books Perfect For Reading Around Halloween - Top Ten Tuesday With Jamie

 Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme here at the Broke and the Bookish. The Top Ten Tuesday schedule and information about the meme can be found on the features tab.


I (Jamie aka The Perpetual Page-Turner) am always looking for a good creepy or scary book to read in October especially nearer to Halloween. Whether it be a scary Halloween book, something creepy or just something that feels "Fall-ish" to me. So here's my list of books that would be perfect reads for Halloween!

1. Fury by Elizabeth Miles -- Not so much SCARY but it certainly had its moments of being creepy. I think this could be a ridiculously creepy movie for sure but this book would seriously be a great Halloween read for some creepy Fury madness.

2. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin -- While this isn't a scary Halloween book, I think the WTFness and the creepy things that happen make this worthy of reading around Halloween!

3. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting -- I read this around Halloween last year and thought this was perfect creepy (but not SO creepy) read! I mean, how creepy would it be to be able to hear the echos of dead people. Imagine who might be after you after you stumble upon a murder victim's echoes!

4. The Diviner's Tale by Bradford Morrow -- This adult fiction novel was a great mix of literary fiction, suspense, mystery and a smidge supernatural. Definitely a good book to read if you want something that's not really scary!

5. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dance by Katherine Howe -- When I think of Halloween I think of witches! This book was a great historical fiction novel dealing with Salem witches and a young woman's exploration into her family's history.

6. Rebecca by Daphne du Murier -- I love love love reading any sort of Gothic novel in the Fall and at Halloween. I feel the atmosphere created...I feel like I can just FEEL everything so intensely like the coldness of the house. This book was creepy and thrilling (not like in a thriller novel) and messes with your mind. This is always a reread for me around Halloween!

7. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield -- Again, not a horror novel but this Gothic novel just is a great read for somebody who doesn't want to be scared but wants something to fit the Halloween/Fall mood!

8. Something Wicked Comes This Way by Ray Bradbury -- I love Ray Bradbury. It's been ages since I've read this but I also found his short stories very creepy!

9. The Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris -- Nothing like a good vampy book to indulge in around Halloween.

10. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman -- This is a great MG read for Halloween and you can't go wrong with Neil Gaiman in general. Am I right or am I right?



Also, am I the only one who devoured anything RL Stine or Christopher Pike as a child/teen and now feel like I want to reread them especially during Halloween? That Fear Street Saga scared the BAJEEZUS out of me.

What books do you think are perfect Halloween reads? Read any on my list? Also, TELL WHAT YOU ARE DRESSING UP AS FOR HALLOWEEEEN...if in fact you are dressing
up!



Monday, October 24, 2011

Heather reviews The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan

Book/Author: The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #2)
Publisher/Year: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2010
Pages: 407 pages
Where I got this book: bought at Borders
Why I read this book: I read the first book and bought the second on a whim hoping it would get better
My rating: 3 stars 

Brief Summary (from Goodreads): Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She’s content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry’s mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry’s generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother’s past in order to save herself and the one she loves.

My thoughts: I must have the worst memory in the history of people under 60 who have not suffered some traumatic memory loss. I read the first book in Carrie Ryan's series, The Forest of Hands and Teeth just two years ago and I hardly remember a thing about it. The only thing I really remember is that I wasn't very crazy about the first book and most people thought it was really good. In her second novel, The Dead-Tossed Waves, the story of the undead continues as we learn that Mary has grown up and now has a teenage daughter who is the MC of this book. It's rare for me to enjoy the sequel far better than the first book but this was an example of that. Right from the beginning there is action as Gabry and her friends jump the barrier that separates their relatively safe town and the unknown area where the unconsecrated roam. Her friends are attacked and those who aren't infected end up imprisoned for crossing the barrier. So much action and conflict, I was hooked!

When Gabry meets a stranger across the barrier who looks at her as if he recognizes her, I was intrigued. It takes almost the whole book to find out the deal with that and it did a good job of keeping me engaged. I was trying to figure out what the big secret was, but I ended up being so far off with my guesses anyway. As for the characters in The Dead-Tossed Waves, I thought Gabry was much more tolerable than her mother had been. I couldn't stand Catcher from the start but was routing for her and Elias to get together.

I wasn't sure about this one after being let down by the first, but I'm glad that I read it because Ryan has redeemed herself. I will most likely read the third book because I'm interested to see how Gabry's story ends up. If you haven't read any of the series, I would honestly recommend skipping The Forest of Hands and Teeth and moving right on to The Dead-Tossed Waves. There isn't much pertinent info in the first book that sets up for the second. This could very well have been a stand alone novel, minus the cliffhanger. Speaking of the cliffhanger, eeeesh! I want to know what the heck happened to Gabry and Catcher, and if she will ever see her mother or Elias again. It's nothing groundbreaking or amazingly written, but I found it well worth the read, especially in October. The mudo (zombies) make for a creepy story!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Daisy's Review of Juliet by Anne Fortier



Title/Author: Juliet by Anne Fortier
Publisher/Date published: Harper, August 19th 2010
How I got this book: got it with a giftcard which I'd gotten for my birthday last year :) People give me books for my birthday! Yay!

Goodreads summary: "Of all the great love stories ever told, hers is perhaps the most famous. To me, she is the key to my family's fate. To you, she is Juliet.
When Julie Jacobs leaves for Italy per the instructions of her late aunt's will, she never imagines that she'll be thrust into a centuries-old feud, not to mention one of the most legendary romances of all time. However, as she uncovers the story of her ancestor, Giulietta, whose love for a man named Romeo proved ill-fated, Julie finds herself increasingly under threat, and can't help but feel that the past and present are very much connected."

Let me just start by saying how completely amazing this book was!! I so LOVED reading this book! I even wanted to slow down and just savor it instead of devouring it, but in the end the need to know what happened won out.

The writing was absolutely beautiful and I found myself getting lost in both present-day Sienna and the Sienna of the past. Seriously, old European cities are the best kind of setting for a book. Especially a city as romantic as Sienna. Or it sounded completely romantic in the book. I now feel a burning need to visit Italy (Sienna, Rome, Verona... ALL OF IT!).

I have to admit I've never read Romeo and Juliet or seen the play, but I know the gist of the story, which was enough. I had however heard rumours before that maybe Shakespeare didn't write all of his work himself and this novel presents an interesting idea: what if the tragic story was based on actual events? And what if the real Romeo and Guillietta lived in Sienna? And what if their descendants to this day aren't freed of the curse?

Gosh, it was just amazing! I loved Julie (or Guillietta), the main character, I felt I could really connect with her and to me that's SO important! I also really liked Alessandro, the mysterious guy with LOTS of secrets. So I guessed one big one pretty early on, there were still some others that I didn't expect.

I loved the romance and the whole plot with incredible twists! This book was such a treat! And it was a story within a story, don't you just love those? And I now have a new holiday destination for next year!

Seriously, if you're into historical fiction with some romance on the side, this is the perfect read for you! I'm gonna go check if Fortier has some other books coming out (this was her debut) for me to gush over :)

My rating: 5+ stars

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tahleen Reviews "Millie's Fling" by Jill Mansell

TitleMillie's Fling
Author: Jill Mansell
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2009

Rating: 4 stars

Millie has not had the best of luck in the man department, especially lately. But when she stops bestselling romance novelist Orla Hart from hurling herself off a cliff, things are gonig to change. But Millie isn't sure it's for the better. Orla decides she wants to make a departure from her normal writing, namely about glitzy celebrities and high living, in favor of normal, everyday people. And she's willing to pay big money to Millie to tell her ALL about her love life. Trouble is, Orla isn't going to let Millie go on her own, and tries to set her up with any number of men.

This British chick-lit is great fun. It is full of what I can only describe and crazy shenanigans. Millie's trying to keep her attraction to Hugh, a young widower, secret, especially from Orla, since the novelist already told her he was off limits. Millie's flatmate, Hester, is super annoying and can be a total slut when she wants to be, since she's got the hots for Lucas Kemp, a guy they both knew in high school who is now back in Newquay and sexier than ever--despite her boyfriend Nat, who is miles away in Glasgow working as a chef in a restaurant.

Seriously, the things that happened in this book were fantastic. One twist after another, and misadventures galore. One of my favorite scenes had to do with a kitchen fire, a mud wrap, and some missing clothing. There were so many delicious misunderstandings, and the humor was rife with British slang, which is funny to me regardless.

If you're just looking for a feel-good romantic comedy type book, I'd definitely check out Jill Mansell's stuff. I'm sure her other books are just as good and funny, and I am looking forward to reading them.


Disclosure: I got this as a free nookbook from bn.com.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Paula Judges Books by Their Covers - Top Ten Tuesday


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started here at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week we have a specific topic for a top ten list. Link up, visit some new blogs and add to your ever growing TBR list. For future Top Ten Tuesday topics through February, go here!


We've all been told not to judge a book by its cover. But we all do it. We also judge books by their titles. I know that a lot of work goes into cover art - and so I think it's an acceptable factor in
your decision to spend $15-$20 on a book that it cover and/or title be pleasing. So here are 10 books that I've judged and bought based on their cover art and/or title. And whether or not that judging led me astray.

1. Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe


Can we just take a few minutes to look at how gorgeous this cover is (this is the front and back - the art wraps around the whole thing). I cannot even tell you how many times I went to the store and just stared at this book. I sat there consumed with lust over how pretty it was. I didn't even really know what it was about when I finally decided that it had to sit on my shelf and be pretty. Thankfully the book is just as great as the cover.

2. The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts by Louis De Bernieres

I stumbled upon this book at a library sale with no previous knowledge of the author. I read the title and giggled and then looked at the cover and smiled. Shrugged and thought, "eh 50 cents, why not?" It has turned out to be one of my favorite books this year. A review should find it's way on this blog some day soon.








3. Count Gieger's Blues by Michael Bishop


A similar story to the above, I picked this one up at a book sale based on the fact that there was a superhero on the front. Unfortunately my only thoughts on this book are "ughhhh". They can't all be winners.











4. The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder

You should really take a second to go find a bigger version of this cover because it is REALLY cool. The book itself was okay - I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either. The cover of the sequels are just as cool, so I will probably end up reading them as well. Seriously though, look at that detail. That is a well done cover. Kudos.









5. A Long Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka

Didn't include the cover for this one because it was the title that actually drew me in. There is something wonderful about this title. I saw it in an advertisement and thought "well that's certainly intriguing" Thankfully I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC of it. It certainly is intriguing and it lives up to that title.

6. The Book of Flying by Keith Miller

Another book sale find (man I love them!) I think the title was what originally caught my eye. And there is something I really love about the cover - I'm not sure why because it's not particularly pretty or stand out, but I just really really like it. However the book is pretty and fantastic. He also has another book called "The Book of Fire" that I really want to read but I can't find it any where. If you can find it: read it, then give it to meeee!






7. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

I definitely bought this book based on the title. I must admit it kept reminding me of Misses Pettigrew Lives for a Day which I adore - so even though I knew they had nothing to do with one another, I couldn't help but bring it home with me. The cover art isn't really my taste... but it fits the book. All in all it was a good judgement call.

8. The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys by Chris Fuhrman

So this one technically might not belong on this list.... this was my favorite movie in High School (and is still on my top 10 to this day) and for a long time I had no idea there was a novel that it was based on. When I finally discovered the novel I was also pleasantly surprised by the fantastic cover art that went a long with it. And I think we can all agree on how great the title is. Really I just want people to appreciate everything about this novel (and movie!).






9. The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

This book was on my to-read list forever because of its title. What a fantastic title! The cover is okay too.... but UGH. that is all. just ugh.

10. The Island of The Day Before by Umberto Eco

This one is still on my to-read shelf. I bought it because of the title, but the cover is pretty fantastic as well. I've heard mixed things about it by now, so I'm a little nervous to tackle it. But hopefully I did not choose poorly...










What about you guys? Which books did you buy based on the cover and/or title? Did your instinct prove to be correct? Be sure to link up below and share your top ten picks!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Natanya Reviews When She Woke

Book/Author: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
Publisher/Date: Algonquin Books, 2011
Where I got it: Amazon for my Kindle
Why I read it: I happened to come across a sample of it and enjoyed it, and I had a couple free days coming up, so I bought it

Summary (from Goodreads):
Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes—criminals whose skin color has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime—is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she’s shared a fierce and forbidden love.

When She Woke is a fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future—where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.

When She Woke is basically a futuristic version of The Scarlett Letter, with The Handmaid’s Tale (and perhaps some other dystopian novels) mixed in. I’m not sure if the Atwood connection was purposeful (that connection is more in the backstory of this dystopia), but it is exceedingly clear that the author intended the parallels to The Scarlett Letter—ex. with the names (Hannah Payne, Reverend Dale, etc), and Hannah’s unwillingness to identify the father of her child. By later on in the story, plot of When She Woke did diverge to an extent from The Scarlett Letter, which I was glad for, having spent a bit too much time early on comparing the two novels.

I enjoyed the plot of this novel, and it was clear that Jordan put in a lot of effort to make everything make sense (the color changing, the things Hannah does, etc.). It would have been easy for this novel to spin off into fantasy, but Jordan kept it pretty well-grounded. The only thing I could have used was more backstory as to how the US politics switched entirely to fundamentalist Christianity—while Hawthorne’s novel was based on Puritan New England, Jordan’s novel derives from the US in its current state, which I guess is kind of in flux religiously. It would have been interesting to know how much of Jordan’s US population actually believed in and agreed with the Sanctity of Life laws and the melachroming, particularly since something like a quarter of the US isn’t Christian, and since our politics have spent most of the US’s lifetime switching back and forth between liberal and conservative. I also had trouble figuring out when this takes place—at times, it seems like it’s only maybe 10 years into the future, but at other times it could be 30 or even 50 years in the future; Jordan doesn’t focus very much on technology, and instead will occasionally throw in references to things like “servbots” or “netlets,” leaving it up to the reader to figure out what they are.

As far as characters go, Hannah can get kind of annoying, but I found her struggles interesting. Though I had a hard time relating to them, I did feel like I understood why she felt the way she felt, even if I thought she or her thoughts or actions were stupid or naïve at times. The secondary characters in the novel were generally pretty secondary, but Jordan goes into just enough detail about them that I had an understanding of who they were and what their roles were. I loved Kayla in particular, who is funny and witty and balances out the annoying aspects of Hannah.

As a note, while there is a ton of focus on religion in When She Woke, I definitely wouldn’t describe it as “Christian literature.” It doesn’t preach, rather it presents the conflicts that arise with extreme religion and extreme conformity—essentially, it is a dystopia where the dystopian aspects happen to focus on religion. There is a lot of moral conflict in this novel, but there are also a lot of extremes—too many extremes, in my opinion. Hannah’s fundamentalist life is a bit over the top, with a complete lack of women’s rights and a severe patriarchy. It became a bit unrealistic.

While this novel isn’t amazing, it is the kind that really transports you into another world. I read for hours not noticing the time, completely caught up in Hannah’s world and her adventures. Jordan does a great job at weaving together Hannah’s past and present. She does at times seem to try a little too hard to create a novel deeper than this one could be, and it could have used better editing (I saw at least a few typos) but overall, I thought that When She Woke was an interesting and worthwhile read.

4 stars

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Get to Know Paula!



Hello everyone! So I was out of town during the blogoversary and I missed the "get to know" interviews. I have been pretty bummed about it because I feel like you guys don't know me that well. And that's sad, because hey let's be friends okay? I have really enjoyed working on this blog and plan on contributing to it more often.

So here's Paula 101: I'm Paula. I'm 22. I graduated from UNCW in May. I am still (sadly) looking for a job. I have a really cute dog named Pogo who is the love of my life. A boyfriend exists as well. Besides reading my hobbies include sewing and music (guitar and piano - although I have slacking on playing those recently. whoops) I love Wonder Woman and Velociraptors.

Questions time!

1. What were some of your favorite books as a child?

Well the first books I really remember reading were The Adventures of Frog and Toad. I also loved anything by Roald Dahl (especially The BFG and Fantastic Mr. Fox). Oh! and The Phantom Tollbooth which is still one of my absolute favorites. That book should be read continually throughout life because it has so many good things to say.

2. Favorite book quotes?

Oh man. This is really difficult. I'll have you know that my book mark is a sheet of graph paper that's covered in quotes that I find fantastic. I would say:

"A half-read book is a half-finished love affair" by David Mitchell

I wrote about this quote in a previous post. And it remains how I feel about books and how I feel about reading. I can't put a book down. Even if it is awful - I will see it through until the end. This quote just sums up my feelings quite perfectly.

3. What do your bookshelves look like and how do you organize them?




















Here are my two lovely book shelves. The tall one is my "books I've read" shelf and the small one is my "to-read" shelf. They are organized alphabetically by book and author. I really wanted organize them by color because it would be pretty - but it would be inconvenient when trying to find a book later on. Also note how sad and slanted my to-read shelf is. It started doing that when I moved and I don't know how to fix it!

4. What is the one book you push everybody to read?

Only one book? ..................................... O.o
How about what are the books you push people to read?

Well! Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe which is about this boy whose family is falling apart. So he escapes into a world called Vision which is filled with wonderful creatures and adventure. He has to collect 5 gem stones to be granted one wish.
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell - this one is a tough read and a few of my friends have had to give it back without finishing it. BUT those who do read it LOVE it. It's a story with in a story with in a story with in sldlvsdlvj forever and ever. Oh god this book. Read it now, srsly. (oh god sorry for saying srsly.)
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. Another book where a kid finds there way into a crazy world. In this book a little boy finds that the books on his shelf are whispering to him and they lead him into a world of fairy tales - but they are not the fairy tales we knew growing up - they are much darker versions. I love this book with all my heart and I'm saddened that not many of his books are similar in style (read: they are pretty much all crime thriller dad fiction which is not my cup of tea) However, The Gates is also great and you should read that too.

5. What are you reading right now?

The Fourth Hand by John Irving.
John Irving you are my favorite author. I will probably be devouring the rest of this book tonight. (side note: when people say devouring a book - do you ever picture them actually eating the book? because I do. And that's yucky. PSA: Don't eat books, they do not have much nutrition)
This is my 55th book this year. 20 away from my goal!

RANDOM FACTS

phewy. More things to say about me?

ummm.

1. Swedish Fish are my favorite candy
2. Margaret Atwood and I have the same last name. It is my one wish that we are some how distantly related. Margaret PLEASE be my 3rd cousin twice removed or something crazy like that.
3. I plan my Halloween outfits about a year in advance. Last Halloween I was Wonder Woman. I plan on being Harley Quinn this year (Ahh have to start that costume!) and I'm already thinking about next year's costume - either Maleficent or if I can get a group together- A Clockwork Orange.

4......? I can't think of anything else very interesting about myself without it being Favorite TV shows or Movies kind of thing. So I'll leave it at that. I hope you guys feel like you know me a bit better? Feel free to ask me any questions. Can't wait to get to know you guys too!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Julia Muses on Reading Challenges

Oh, reading challenges. If you want to do one and have any particular interest in something, somewhere in our interlocking web of blogs there is one for you. I used to be the queen of reading challenges. I even took it so far to say that I “read competitively.” When I started my new job, on the internal website, when I was supposed to write an About Me, I actually included that tidbit on there*. I would break out my spreadsheets and scour Goodreads looking for that one book which sounded interesting enough to fit in my "Authors from Africa" 10 point task. Or maybe I could use it in "Alliterative Titles". Making these spreadsheets and lists was almost just as fun as reading the books!

And oh! What books I found! Some were a little dry and not ones I would ever read again, but on the flip side I read The Book Thief, The Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451, The Art of Racing in the Rain, just to name a few. Such great books that I would never have found if they didn’t fit the “Books Narrated By Animals” task or “Books about Books”.

It was a good time and people who knew me said how happy I was. In fact just recently, I was conversing about my current lull in life when my one friend said “You should go back to doing those reading challenges. You were always so happy while doing them.”

And that is true! The reading challenges take a solitary task and make it social, much the same way blogging does with reading. It gives reading a book and extra sense of accomplishment.

Unfortunately for me, real life took hold and sent me all asunder and my challenges fell to the wayside. Blogging took over my free reading time, but I can’t help yearn for the days when I had the hours and motivation to pour over those spreadsheets.

So, readers, how about you?

Do you take part in reading challenges? What do they mean to you? Do you have any tips or tricks for a working girl like me to be able to keep my balance what actually completing one?

I guess I still have time this year to complete the one I really wanted to complete. Roof Beam Reader’s To Be Read (TBR) Challenge (original list posted at my personal blog which hasn’t been updated since February...) The challenge was to read and review 12 books of your TBR shelf. As of right now, I have read 4 and reviewed 2 of those. Two more of those books were purchased in the Great Borders Liquidation. So maybe I can get a 50%?



*Fun fact: if you GIS competitive reading, my picture shows up. No lie.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Heather reviews Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman


Book/Author: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman
Publisher/Year: Harper Perennial/ August 2011
Where I got this book: received as e-book on NetGalley
Why I read this book: It sounded funny and interesting.
My rating: 3.5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Tom Violet always thought that by the time he turned thirty-five, he’d have everything going for him. Fame. Fortune. A beautiful wife. A satisfying career as a successful novelist. A happy dog to greet him at the end of the day.
The reality, though, is far different. He’s got a wife, but their problems are bigger than he can even imagine. And he’s written a novel, but the manuscript he’s slaved over for years is currently hidden in his desk drawer while his father, an actual famous writer, just won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His career, such that it is, involves mind-numbing corporate buzzwords, his pretentious archnemesis Gregory, and a hopeless, completely inappropriate crush on his favorite coworker. Oh . . . and his dog, according to the vet, is suffering from acute anxiety.
Tom’s life is crushing his soul, but he’s decided to do something about it. (Really.) Domestic Violets is the brilliant and beguiling story of a man finally taking control of his own happiness—even if it means making a complete idiot of himself along the way.

My thoughts: Domestic Violets surprised me in a very good way. It reminded me of a few different books and movies all mashed into one. There was a nice balance of humor and seriousness between the protagonist's work life and home life that made for an interesting story. For the most part I really liked Tom Violet, except when he was flirting with Katie, his fellow copywriter at work. I know without that aspect we wouldn't have the conflict but I really wanted him to get it together with his relationship with his wife. Tom became a hero when he finally stood up for himself at work and made a fool of his boss and company. He did what anyone who has ever worked in a monotonous office job has only dreamed of, and in that moment he became a bit of a local celebrity.

Tom has always struggled to be different from his Pulitzer Prize winning father, famous author Curtis Violet, so when he writes his first novel in the same style as his father, it leads to realizations about himself and his relationship with his dad. I think one of the things I liked so much about Domestic Violets was that despite all of the things going wrong in Tom's life, he finds a way to pick up all of the broken pieces of his life and reassemble them into something better. He had a failing relationship with his wife, an unbearable crush on a coworker and he's still able to muster the courage to quit his day job to pursue his dream of becoming a writer. He fixes the relationships with the people who are most important to him and realizes what he needs to make him happy. I'm not sure it's all believable but it was nice to get that happy ending for a guy who went through a lot of crap throughout the rest of the novel.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Norman's writing is humorous and poignant and he has the rare ability to write a likable character who is also flawed in so many ways. Tom has a lot of baggage and he screws up A LOT but I was cheering him on throughout the novel. I think I also may have developed a slight crush on his character. I'd recommend this book for fans of Joshua Ferris, Jonathan Ames or anyone who enjoys routing for the underdog.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time



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.


There are just some books that leave you with such deep, intense feeling when you finish it for the first time. We've all experienced this at one time or another. The bad thing is, there's really no way we can go back and experience that feeling again, even with multiple rereadings. We already know what happens, if there are plot twists, a surprise ending, who the main characters ends up with , who dies, etc. Here are some books that leave me (Kelly) with these feelings of longing.


Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Read Again for the First Time

  1.  Harry Potter: okay, this one is obvious. I adore rereading this series (I do it once a year), but I will never experience that amazing feeling of reading about Harry for the first time.
  2. Shiver
  3. Sloppy Firsts: If you've read this series, you know exactly what I'm talking about. End of story.
  4. Innocent Traitor: This is an amazing historical fiction book that will leave you absolutely haunted when you finish it initially. Rereading it when you know what happens at the end just isn't the same.
  5. Falling Angels: almost an exact ditto to number four ^
  6. Outlander
  7. The Birth of Venus: I loved this book the first time around; I literally gushed about it everywhere I could. I picked it up recently and it was just...okay. I wish I could feel as passionately about it as I did the first time.
  8. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: This is my number one favorite book of all time. There's nothing like reading a book for the first time that becomes your favorite immediately. 
  9. The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings: A similar feeling to Harry Potter, though not as intense. Brilliant.
  10. The Hunger Games: So I may be cheating slightly on this one, since I just finished it, um...yesterday. I can't stop thinking about it and want to go back to the beginning.

So this TTT managed to sound much more depressing than I'd ever intended. :) Anyways, be sure to link up below and share your top ten picks!

Check out future Top Ten Tuesday Topics!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Jessi Reviews "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson

Title/Author: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson 
Publisher/Year: Broadway, 1999
How I Got This: I picked up a copy of this from one of my library's used book sales 
Why I Read It: I've always wanted to hike part of the Appalachian Trail and this book came highly recommended to me from one of my college classmates 
Rating: 4 Stars 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): God only knows what possessed Bill Bryson, a reluctant adventurer if ever there was one, to undertake a gruelling hike along the world's longest continuous footpath—The Appalachian Trail.

The 2,000-plus-mile trail winds through 14 states, stretching along the east coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine. It snakes through some of the wildest and most spectacular landscapes in North America, as well as through some of its most poverty-stricken and primitive backwoods areas.

With his offbeat sensibility, his eye for the absurd, and his laugh-out-loud sense of humour, Bryson recounts his confrontations with nature at its most uncompromising over his five-month journey.

An instant classic, riotously funny, A Walk in the Woods will add a whole new audience to the legions of Bill Bryson fans.

Review: This is a book that has been recommended to me time and again, and I finally got around to reading it.

And I loved it!

I went into this book, having heard it was supposed to be funny, but I still had this preconceived notion that it would be some sort of dry history of the Appalachian Trail and the various locations along the way. I couldn't have been more wrong. Bryson ambles between a bit of history and tales about the people he met and the adventures he got into along the way, without being one bit boring. He grabbed my attention for the duration of the book, and I had a hard time putting this one down. While this is non-fiction, it's more like narrative non-fiction. Bryson writes with an effortless, conversational tone that makes for easy reading. I could have read this book easily in a day or two, had it not been for school and pesky homework getting in my way. Even then, half the time, my mind was with Bryson in the woods.

I was surprised, too, to find that the bits of history that he included were very interesting. For example, at one point, he talks about Pennsylvania's history with coal. As a native of PA, I know all about the impact of coal on the state, but I was still fascinated to read about Centralia, which I had never heard of before. A town sitting on top of a burning coal mine that has the potential to burn for thousands of years? Awesome! I love that kind of trivia--and Bryson included a wonderfully interesting amount of it throughout his tale.

I also particularly loved just reading about the adventures he and Katz, his hiking companion, got into along the way. They were such a good pair, and while reading, I had these visions of how the two of them would make a perfect duo on a tv show, like Tim and Al from "Home Improvement." The two of them certainly met some interesting people along the way, like Chicken Joe and Mary Ellen who just cracked me up.

And that brings me to the humor. Bill Bryson is my hero. He is hi-freaking-larious! When I'm at school, I typically do a lot of my reading at night before I head to bed. There were definitely nights were it took all that I had not to burst out laughing for the sake of my sleeping roommates. Basically, trying to read this book without laughing is a feat in itself. Bryson has this excellent sense of humor--a kind of off-handed wittiness. I love it. If I could take this guy out for a coffee, I would so do it, just to get a chance to see what makes him tick. I love that he tells this tale like an ordinary Joe. He doesn't get on a high horse like an environmental elitist about hiking on the AT. He misses hamburgers and soft beds while he's hiking. He doesn't try to make it out to be a philosophically transcendent experience. That's not to say that he didn't enjoy his hike--you can tell when you're reading this book that while some parts of the trail flat-out suck, it's still something that he is happy to have done.

Overall, this was just an excellent book. It has me itching for summer and a chance to be out in the woods. I recommend this to those who enjoy being outdoors or for those looking for a hilarious read.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Natanya Reviews A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

Title/Author: A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
Publisher/Date: HarperCollins, 2006
Where I got it: Library
Why I read it: A friend of mine recommended it to me a couple years ago, and I’ve been meaning to read it since then

From Amazon (slightly modified):
For beta male Charlie Asher, proprietor of a shop in San Francisco, life and death meet in a maternity ward recovery room where his wife, Rachel, dies shortly after giving birth. Though security cameras catch nothing, Charlie swears he saw an impossibly tall black man in a mint green suit standing beside Rachel as she died. When objects in his store begin glowing, strangers drop dead before him and man-sized ravens start attacking him, Charlie figures something's up. Along comes Minty Fresh—the man in green—to enlighten him: turns out Charlie and Minty are Death Merchants, whose job (outlined in the Great Big Book of Death) is to gather up souls before the Forces of Darkness get to them. While Charlie's employees, Lily the Goth girl and Ray the ex-cop, mind the shop, and two enormous hellhounds babysit, Charlie attends to his dangerous soul-collecting duties, building toward a showdown with the underworld…

I read half of A Dirty Job while sitting outside a Starbucks, and after a while people started staring at me, likely because I was laughing my ass off. I haven’t laughed this hard while reading a book since…ever. While I wouldn’t say the entire book is hysterical—some of the jokes seem a little too forced, stupid, or offensive to be funny—the funniest parts are so funny that they make up for it. Really. Read the chapter where Charlie tries to get rid of the hellhounds and tell me you kept a straight face. (You won’t.) Even the chapter titles are funny: “Darkness Gets Uppity,” “Cry Havoc, and Let Slip the Gogs of War!” et cetera.

Charlie Asher is the most boring but most entertaining character ever. His reactions to his new “job” are priceless, and Moore’s narration of and commentary on Charlie’s thoughts and actions make them even better. This narrative commentary—in which Moore repeatedly explains why each of Charlie’s actions relate to his status as a “beta male”—is a great element of this novel, with these constant categorizations making Charlie seem even more pitiful, with his actions following the mold set out for him (but of course, they make him even funnier). Unfortunately, they do get a bit repetitive by later in the novel (yes, I know he’s a beta male, give me something new already!), but that didn’t do any serious damage to my opinion of the novel.

As for the plot, it’s bizarre, to say the least (and I’m pretty used to bizarre, thanks to Haruki Murakami). It’s kind of a mystery, where you spend a good chunk of the novel trying to figure out how different aspects of the plot are connected because so many random things are going on. But despite the randomness, I loved every new development. The role of Charlie’s daughter, Sophie, is fantastic. I love how she becomes such a crucial part of the story, but how laid back she is about all of the weird things that happen to her and Charlie—like when the hellhounds show up when she’s a baby, she calls them her “goggies” (doggies) and sits there whacking them on the heads with her toys. She’s a pretty minor character overall, but a great character.

One of the things that annoyed me was that time moves really quickly, and there aren’t any real indications of the passage of time until a while after it’s occurred, when Moore will mention Sophie’s age or what Lily’s up to. It’s just kind of awkward how much it jumps ahead, and I could have used a little more detail of what happened during the gaps.

But overall, A Dirty Job was a very fun, quick read. It can be pretty crude at times (and be prepared for an occasionally excessive amount of swearing), some things are over the top, and it certainly isn’t the deepest novel, but it’s just so damn funny and so riveting that I don’t really care. I can’t wait to read more of Moore’s novels (uh, no pun intended).

4.5 stars of awesomeness and humor

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open



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.

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday. Today's topic....

Top Ten Book Endings That Left Me With My Mouth Hanging Open
(because of the cliffhanger or because it the ending was MINDBLOWING, etc. Be careful with spoilers on this one! :P)  Click For FUTURE TOPICS

We at the Broke and the Bookish collaborated to give you a taste of our "WHAT?! I was not expecting that" endings. Here they are.

1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Both that and catching fire really. They tested the strength of my patience. That cliff hanger was just... URGH! Horrid - Julia

2. Delirium by Lauren Oliver: I cannot stop thinking about this ending and I read it 6 months ago! This ending left me staring at the book (or actually my e-reader) going: WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! I seriously needed hugs after and couldn't sleep. If you read it, you know what I mean! I'm so not patiently awaiting the sequel... - Daisy

3. Wither by Lauren DeStefano - This book left me DYING for Fever. And having just read Fever this month has made my mouth WIDE open. I NEED TO KNOW! -- Jamie

4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman - I remember reading this in high school and being all like "Oh yeah blah blah I thought that would happen yeah yeah WHAAAAAA?" and then the book ended. I remember putting the book down... and just blinking. - Julia

5. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin -- I WTFed a lot at the end. That's all. -- Jamie

6.My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares - I remember being surprised by this ending.. but not really in a good way. It was a cliffhanger, but I didn't really want it to be. A good book, but one that I didn't know was a sequel. This reminds me, I should go out and look to see if/when that is out... - Julia

7. My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - The ending is traumatizing/shocking enough, but turn to the last page and I guarantee you you will be blown our of your socks. I vividly remember sitting dumbfounded with my mouth open staring at the book for at least five minutes. - Kelly

8. Firelight by Sophie Jordan had me flipping out when it ended. I thought for sure I had a faulty copy, and that I was missing a few more pages. Several important characters are in total limbo at the end, and readers are left with no clue as to what's going to happen next. I wanted to throw the book across the room when I realized I had to wait almost a year to find out what happened. I remember warning readers of this in my own review of Firelight, posted in March of this year. As I write this, the sequel is sitting next to me waiting to be read, so... Bye!! - Jana

9. A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True by Brigid Pasulka - The ending of this book came out of nowhere. I was happily reading along and then BAM heartbreak. Although it was sad it definitely stayed with me for a long time. Grab a box of tissues before you get to the end of this book! - Paula

10.Changeless by Gail Carriger - I was super surprised by the cliffhanger after this second book in the parasol protectorate. It left me running to the bookstore to get the next book! Luckily it was in stores! - Julia


So those are our top 10... what are yours?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Daisy's Review of The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima



Title/Author: The Demon King (Seven Realms #1) by Cinda Williams Chima
Publisher/Date published: Disney Book Group, October 6th 2009
How I got this book: own it

Goodreads summary: "Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for himself, his mother, and his sister Mari. Ironically, the only thing of value he has is something he can't sell. For as long as Han can remember, he's worn thick silver cuffs engraved with runes. They're clearly magicked - as he grows, they grow, and he's never been able to get them off. While out hunting one day, Han and his Clan friend, Dancer catch three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. After a confrontation, Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won't use it against them. Han soon learns that the amulet has an evil history - it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.
Meanwhile, Raisa ana'Helena, Princess Heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She's just returned to court after three years of relative freedom with her father's family at Demonai camp - riding, hunting, and working the famous Clan markets. Although Raisa will become eligible for marriage after her sixteenth name-day, she isn't looking forward to trading in her common sense and new skills for etiquette tutors and stuffy parties. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea - the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But it seems like her mother has other plans for her - plans that include a suitor who goes against everything the Queendom stands for."

Recently I have been loving all the YA books I read and this is another one belonging to that category! I’ve been remembering why I love fantasy so much and it’s wonderful :)

The POV switches between Raisa and Han, our two main characters. And they are both wonderful! I LOVED how Raisa is not a spoiled little princess, but maybe slightly naïve about everything going on outside the palace. But you would be too if the only time you’d been in the city was when there was a parade in your honor! I loved that she’s intelligent and really wants to make a difference. She does have the whole superficial crush thing down, but well, she’s only 15 and she doesn’t think insta-soulmate, so I was good with this.
Han is a little on the dangerous side. And mysterious! He has had cuffs on his wrists ever since he was a baby and they grow along with him (MAGIC CUFFS). He doesn’t know why and up until the very end of this first book in the series, we don’t either. I LOVED it!

I LOVED the world building and all the different characters! And I loved to hate the ‘bad guys’ which is also nice :). Oh, and I was secretly gleeful when their evil plans failed! *enter evil laugh of my own*

And you know what’s one of the best parts? There are TWO more books in this series that are already out (at least one more yet unpublished)! YAY! I'll be reading them ASAP.

My rating: 5 stars

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Paula fawns over "How to Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe"



How to Live Safely In A Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu
Published: 2010 by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
How I got it: On my nook
Rating: 4 Stars

From the moment I saw this book I knew I wanted to read it. I never actually read the synopsis, I just loved the title and hoped that whatever it offered would be wonderful. I expected a fun science fiction adventure novel that would be an easy read, what I got was a super meta-fiction mindwarp but it was awesome. It took effort to read, but it was still a very fun read.

The protagonist of the story is Charles Yu (note: also the author) who lives in his time machine (which is approximately the size of a phone booth, and unlike Doctor Who’s TARDIS, it is not bigger than it looks). He is in love with the computer in his ship and his boss is a computer program who doesn’t realize he’s not actually alive. His job is to go fix other time machines, which people have bought and broke in their attempt to change their past, which he states over and over is impossible to do. He has been in his time machine for years, but he is only gone for a day every time he goes to the station. So he has had an apartment for a week total - and the landlord thinks he's just rapidly aging.

The first half of the story consists of Charles’ stories and thoughts. He shares stories about his father, who was the inventor of the time machine. Thoughts about things like “The Girl He Will Not Marry”, who is also the Girl He Has Never Met. He tells how he and the girl he never met would never have a wonderful life together. He muses on how when he brushes his teeth, his reflection looks disappointed in himself. He also shares stories of the people he retrieves from the past. In fact, his entire job exists to save people from themselves. And yet, he doesn't do a very good job of making sure his own life is in order. The first half of the books is full of amusing “such is life” kind of thoughts and is quite enjoyable. But it’s the second half of the story that really gets meta and mind boggling (but no less enjoyable). I wont tell you how, but Charles ends up getting himself stuck in a time loop. He is given the book “How to Live Safely In a Science Fiction Universe” by Charles Yu – but the problem is, he hasn’t written it yet. So he ends up reading it before he’s written it. Ugh just typing this is making my brain go “Huh?” Eventually the story gets resolved (or as resolved as a time-loop can be). It's brilliant, beautiful and funny.

I wont give too much more away. But I highly suggest you go read this book before you get stuck in a time loop.
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