Thursday, December 29, 2011

On Reading Patterns

Hi all, Tahleen here. I don't know about any of you, but right now I'm in a kind of pattern with my reading choices. For some reason all I want to read right now are light, fluffy romances that are not hot and heavy. You know what I mean?

I think about all the review books I have, all the young adult titles I should read, all the books that I've had for forever, but all I can seem to do is go to Overdrive and download Love Inspired titles onto my nook (for free of course, since they're library books). Especially if they are Christmas books. I really like reading Christmas books during Christmastime.

Does this happen to anyone else? What books can't you seem to get enough of right now?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Julia reviews Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Title/Author:Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Publisher/Year Published: February 2006 by Random House (first published January 2005)
How I got this book: I picked it up off at Borders' going out of business liquidation stop 2 out of 3.
Why I read this book: This book has been on my Goodreads shelf since December 2007, the month I joined
Rating: 5 stars

Goodreads Summary: In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Thoughts:
I added this book to my to-read list back in December 2007 shortly after joining Goodreads. Now, almost four years later, I finally can say I read it.

I dont really know why it took so long for me to read this. I live relatively close to the library, thus it is really easy to go get a book. I would see it at the top of my to read queue and think "I will get to it." On what would be my second to last trip to Borders (the last to MY Borders), I wasncombing through what was left to see what I could find, when I saw this book. I instantly added it to my pile.

From the first words I was engulfed in the story. This is a tale of Lily and Snow Flower. It's a tale of their lives in rural, ancient China. Foot-binding... Subservient wives... nu shu (the Chinese secret language of women)... Confucian principles... all that jazz.

There is not really much more to say than that, except one thing. I think there was a reason it took me so long to read this book. In 2007, when I added this book, my interest in China was just beginning. I had yet to go over there and experience the country, see nu shu writing for myself, meet people who almost certainly were alive at least before the cultural revolution if not even farther back (seriously this one woman I met had to be in her late 80s early 90s). I was still in college when I added the book. I would not have appreciated it the same way.

Now, I am on the precipice of my life, out of school about to start my life as a grown woman. It may be a different time and place but I felt like I could relate to Lily and Snow Flower on that level. Our worries are the same; our hopes, dreams align. It touched me more, I believe, to read this now then anytime earlier.

Having said that though, one thing that did bug me what that her name was "Snow Flower". In Pinyin, which is the alphabet that westerners use to translate the sounds characters make, her name would be XueHua or HuaXue depending on the order... I understand why Ms. See did not make it XueHua as xue would be hard to read with the english sounds, but it just seemed strange every time I thought about it. I don't go around telling people in foreign languages that my name is "Downy Beard" or "Youthful"... "Princess of Rome" may have a ring to it though...

Overall it was a great book. I heard that there was a movie that got limited release in the US, but apparently it didnt follow the book very much. So if you saw the movie, give the book a try.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daisy's Top Ten Books of 2011


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

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

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


I hope you have all recovered from the food-induced sleepiness that is always sure to hit me at Christmas and have had a wonderful time with your loved ones!

On to the business part of this Top Ten Tuesday, this week's topic:
The Top Ten books you read in 2011

This is gonna be hard for me, cause I want to list so many, but here goes.

1. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss: I have waited SO LONG for this book!! And it was AMAZING! If you haven't read the first book in this series, the Name of the Wind, and you enjoy fantasy, you should read it, cause it's awesome! Also, I need the next book, like yesterday!

2. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab: this book! THIS BOOK! It was so insanely amazing I wrote a gushing review about it! This book made me believe in fairytales again and it was wonderfully beautiful!

3. Witchlanders by Lena Coakley: EPIC FANTASY! I love fantasy, as you can probably guess from my list and this one was fabulous! I wonder how this has not gotten a lot of buzz, cause it's amazing! This is a book I want to shove at everyone and make them read it, and bonus: this book works for boys as well as girls. Virtually no romance, but lots of amazing storytelling.

4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver: I was a bit hesitant to read this at first, but OMG, this was SO GOOD! I didn't want to stop reading this and the ending left me needing cuddles and wishing I already had the next one waiting for me, cause this wait is SLOWLY KILLING ME! I am so pre-ordering Pandemonium...

5. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley: this book took me by surprise, as I hadn't expected to love it so much! It is a pretty clean historical and contemporary romance novel as the main character travels back and forth in time and it is simply wonderful! I felt shocked, I cried, I was yelling for them to KISS ALREADY!! And I didn't care it got me funny looks!

6. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson: another fantasy, this was a good fantasy year it seems ;) I LOVED this book! It has a strong female lead and I'm dying to find out what happens next for Elisa! The Godstone is fascinating!

7. The Demon King, The Exiled Queen and the Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima: I am naming the whole series, because it was fabulous! And another series I would give to a boy (I'm making my boyfriend read them right now). I love the main characters Han and Raisa! They are both so beyond amazing! And I love to hate the 'bad guys' in this one, which is always fun :)

8. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand: so, confession: angel books haven't really been working so well for me, but THIS ONE DID!! Seriously, there's virtually no preaching and Clara is wonderful and I am so Team Tucker with his amazing boy-ness being swoonworthy and all! I have been lucky enough to have already read Hallowed, and it is also amazing!

9. The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin: I have fallen in love with this whole series and I think I can safely say this one is my favourite of the trilogy! It focuses on Sieh and is just wonderful. I read this during the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-Thon and didn't once feel the inclination to sleep. It was THAT good.

10. Die For Me by Amy Plum: REVENANTS! They are SO cool! Seriously, I loved this book! I am also so pre-ordering Until I Die :)

And, cause you really didn't think I could narrow it down to just 10 (you didn't right?:

11. Princess for Hire and The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt: SO EXTREMELY CUTE! These are the first 2 books in a MG series and it is fabulous! I love the whole idea of substituting for princesses! I wish I had a little girl in my life I could give these books to!

12. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George: another MG and ADORABLE! I had a huge grin on my face while I was reading this and I loved every minute of it! As the abovementioned Princess for Hire series, I would love to have a little girl I could give this too!

So, that's my list. How does yours compare? There are lots of books I think I'll see on all of your lists that have not made mine for the simple fact that I have not read them yet (I am thinking Divergent, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Shatter Me, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Night Circus...). Let's hope they're on next years list :)




Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tahleen reviews: "mental_floss: The Book"

Title: mental_floss: The Book
Editors: Ethan Trex, Will Pearson, and Mangesh Hattikudur
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2011

Rating: ★★★★★

Have you ever wondered if Tang was really invented by NASA? How many pounds of bananas the average American eats in a year? Whether Harper Lee, F. Scott Fitzgerald or George Orwell almost named their seminal classics different titles? You will find all that out and WAY WAY more in mental_floss: The Book. This is the perfect book for trivia enthusiasts, coffee tables, and bathrooms alike.

I haven't read through the whole thing yet, as there are many many lists within this pretty thick volume, but this is a book that I could pick up at any random moment in time and open up anywhere. I would enjoy it regardless. I personally enjoy trivia and little-known facts about celebrities, past presidents and politicians, and history. Who knew John Quincy Adams liked skinny dipping so much? Or that Lucille Ball was fired from her job at an ice cream parlor for forgetting bananas in a banana split?

I quite enjoyed the little tidbit about the Smoot; those native to the Boston area will know what I'm talking about. (It's a unit of measurement, sort of. You'll see.)

The lists are organized into subjects like "10 Food Lists That Will Make Your Mouth Water," "10 Lists to Read Before Naming Your Child, Company, or Alter-Ego," and "10 Lists to Lighten the Mood at the E.R." There really is something for everybody in here. You might be interested in every single list, but there is more than enough to compensate for the parts you find a bit boring.

If you're stuck on last-minute presents or just need something to pass the time without getting completely caught up in a plot, this is your answer.

And one more thing! HarperCollins is going to give away a copy of mental_floss: The Book to one of you! Please fill out the form below by 11:59 p.m. EST on December 30 if you'd like a chance to win (sorry, I know, it's too late to get it for the holidays, but you'll probably want to keep it anyway).

Some rules:

You must be 13 or older to enter.
Only one entry per person.
You must be a resident of the U.S. or Canada.



Disclosure: The publisher sent me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Daisy's Review of the Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory



Title/Author: The Lady of the Rivers (The Cousins' War #3) by Philippa Gregory
Publisher/Date published: Simon & Schuster, October 18th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of nineteen she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her house-hold for love, and then carved out a life for herself as Queen Margaret of Anjou's close friend and a Lancaster supporter - until the day that her daughter Elizabeth Woodville fell in love and married the rival king Edward IV. Of all the little-known but important women of the period, her dramatic story is the most neglected. With her links to Melusina, and to the founder of the house of Luxembourg, together with her reputation for making magic, she is the most haunting of heroines."

I had completely forgotten how much I love Philippa Gregory's books! I've read The Other Boleyn Girl and The Queen's Fool and I loved them, I don't know why I waited this long to read another of this author's books!

I'm such an anglophile and every time I pick up one of the books about a part of english history, I can't believe I didn't know more about that time period already. Seriously, I think we skipped the interesting parts of history in high school.

I loved Jacquetta as a character! She was such a sweet young girl, who just wanted to be loved and was disappointed when she found out her first husband didn't marry her for love at all. I loved that she had visions and that they were both beautiful and tragic. And Richard! OMG, Richard! If there ever was a swoonworthy historical character, it's him! Wouldn't you want your man to say 'I always come home to you'?? I know I do! But then again, mine doesn't go off to fight wars, only soccer matches ;)

I never knew Henry VI was so messed up! And OMG, the foreshadowing for what is to become of Elizabeth Woodville, Jacquetta's daughter! Sure, I've heard of the princes in the Tower that nobody is really sure about what happened to them, but that she was their mother... I can't wait to read the previous two books in the series, I'm dying to find out EVERYTHING!

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings


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

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



Jen's Top Ten Books She Hopes Santa Brings

  1. Anything Goes: A Biography of the Roaring Twenties by Lucy Moore: I wish I could have been in my twenties in the 1920's.  
  2. A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly:  Ever since I read Revolution last year I've been itching to read this book!  Yet for some reason I still haven't purchased it myself.
  3. The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, Amanda Pressner:  I pretty much want their life and I know I will be insanely jealous when I read this book but I haven't read a good travel book in far too long.
  4. Rebel Angles by Libba Bay:  I read A Great and Terrible Beauty a couple years ago and still haven't finished the trilogy.  It's one of those books that I never think to look for when I'm in the bookstore.
  5. A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass:  This book has been on my Goodreads TBR list since I first joined the site!
  6. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain:  A couple weeks ago I downloaded a sample chapter and wanted so badly to keep reading!  But I must resist the urge to shop for myself so close to the holidays.
  7. The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum:  I really want to read this book but tornadoes freak me out so much.
  8. Everlasting by Angie Frazier:  This book sounds really good.  Unfortunately, it's too overpriced for me (both the hardcover and e-book were both pretty expensive last time I looked).
  9. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen:  Dessen's most recent book that I've been wanting to read.  I'm impatiently waiting for the paperback edition though...a hardcover wouldn't match with the rest of her books I own!
  10. Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson:  Okay, so I know this book isn't even out yet BUT Santa's elves must have connections to the book publishing world, right?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Paula reviews I Am The Messenger

Book: I Am The Messenger by Marcus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books, 2002
How I got it: Used book store in town
Rating: 4 stars


So I've been sick these past few days, and the only good thing about being bedridden was getting to plow through some books and catch up on my 2011 goal (I'm so close - I might be able to make it!) One of the books I had the pleasure of reading was I Am the Messenger. Many of you may recognize the Zusak's name from his highly popular book The Book Thief from a few years ago. (If for some reason you haven't read that beautiful book go read it now). Well this book was written before The Book Thief and is just as well written/thought out/ Gorgey McGorgeouson as his most popular novel.

Synopsis! Ed is an underage cab-driver who lives in the suburbs of Sydney. His life isn't going anywhere special. The girl he loves refuses to fall in love with anyone and has put him in the "Best Friend" position. His mom hates him. He wants more. One day he becomes a hero when he finds himself in a bank-robbery and has had enough and he chases the robber down. After that an Ace of Diamonds shows up in his mailbox with 3 addresses on it. And Ed has to figure out what to do.

Why I really loved this book: Ed is a really nice guy and he doesn't realize it. The entire book is about him realizing it. The Aces he's sent are cryptic and kind of creepy, but he goes along with the plan because he knows that they are the key to helping him figure out his life. Before they were in his life he was content with doing nothing. After they started showing up he started noticing the people around him and started helping them. I think that's what I really enjoyed about this book, is that Ed helped the people in his community and asked for nothing back.

Honestly, even though this is not a Christmas story - it was a perfect book to read around Christmas. It filled me with joy and hope and all those things that Christmas is supposed to be about. It is an incredibly enjoyable book and a quick read (even if you aren't bed-bound it would probably only take a day to read). I highly recommend it to everybody. And The Book Thief. Stop reading this review. Go read these books instead.

The only thing that kept me from giving it a 5: It kept mentioning meat pies and I started craving them really badly. Seriously, I wish they were available in the States. sigh.
But actually - I don't know what kept me from giving it a 5, maybe the fact that I'm really stingy with my ratings and I only give out 5s to a very select few books.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Quick Bookish Survey

Let's take a break from a formal book review, shall we? I don't know about you, but back in high school, I loved taking those stupid little survey/questionnaires on MySpace. Since those days are long gone, I found this fun little book survey and thought it would be interesting to post!


1. The book I’m currently reading: A Room with a View by EM Forster - I've been reading this book for over three months now and am only on page 112. I would've tossed it long ago, but I'm reading it for my English Lit class...the test is next week, so I'd better hurry. I usually like classics, but this one has not grabbed me AT ALL. Perhaps I'll just watch the movie on Netflix...Helena Bonham Carter is in it!

2. The last book I finished: People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks - This one sat on my shelf for a VERY long time until I finally picked it up a few weeks ago. I needed a nice, short book to read. I really enjoyed this one because even though the majority of the plot took place in the present, there were a lot of flashback scenes from the 1940s, 1890s, 1600s, and 1480s, among others. Being a history lover, this was really a plus!

3. The next book I want to read: A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin - This is the third book in the epic series that the HBO television series Game of Thrones is based upon. It's one of the best series I've ever read in my life and am anxiously awaiting to start it. I've heard some really intense things happen in this one so I'm very nervous!

4. The last book I bought: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Yeah, I know. It took me a really long time to jump on this bandwagon. I finished it just before the movie trailer came out and am now super excited! I need to pick up the other two as soon as possible.

5. The last book I was given: Dreamland by Sarah Dessen - Even though my family and friends all know I love reading, I don't get books as presents very often. My mom gave me this book as a 'well done' for getting As in all of my classes this past summer. It was a nice gesture for a nice accomplishment, but boy, this book was so depressing. It was good, Sarah Dessen is always good, but quite a bleak topic.






So there you go. That was like a flashback to 2006! If you want to join in, leave your own  list in a comment or provide a link to your blog!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Ten Books I Want To Give As Gifts





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 Want To Give As Gifts 
(and to who...even if you won't actually give them!)


Jen's Picks


1.  For All the Tea in China by Sarah Rose: I actually ordered this book for my brother (he likes history/non-fiction books and tea) and will be giving it to him with a box of tea.

2.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: Gave this one as an early Christmas present to one of my teenage cousins who I recently found out loves to read.  I really hope she enjoys the book!

3.  The New York Times: The Complete Civil War 1861-1865 by Harold Holzer: Okay, so I'm technically cheating since this was my Dad's Christmas present last year...BUT this book is amazing if you are interested in the Civil War and want to read the articles from The New York Times during the war.

4.  Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler:  I have a friend who it seems like unfortunate things are always happening to her.  I'd give her this book to make her laugh.

5.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot: I would give this book to the cute pharmacy intern I used to work with.  He'd read it, we'd go out for drinks, we'd discuss the book, then find other things we have in common, fall in love and live happily ever after.  Maybe?

Jamie's Picks

1. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - This totally seems like the kind of book my stepmom would LOVE! I actually am probably going to end up getting it for her!

2. Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez -- I think my 17 year old sister will LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. She reads both YA and Adult and seems to gravitate more towards contemporary with teenagers who seem a little bit more mature. She will love this one!

3. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready -- My 23 year old sister loves paranormal and anything with a good love story but she prefers love stories that aren't of the hand holding, cutesy variety. I think she'd like this one because it's got an interesting love story and paranormal twist.

4. Anything by Anthony Bourdain - I really want my stepdad to start reading and watching Anthony Bourdain. I think he'd enjoy his sense of humor and appreciate his travel style. And FOOD. My stepdad loves food.

5. I Love Everybody And Other Atrocious Lies by Laurie Notaro -- I want to give this to one of my co-workers because I think she'd really appreciate the humor. I know I did with this one! It's always a gamble because sometimes people don't find books as funny as I do. 


Monday, December 12, 2011

Paula reviews My New American Life by Francine Prose


Title: My New American Life
Author: Francine Prose
Publisher: HarperCollins 2011
How I got it: My first win from GoodReads Giveaways.

Hmm what to say about this book. I won it back in April and finally got around to picking it up in September. I have been dragging my feet about writing the review because I just don't have much to say about the book....

Quick Synopsis: Lula is an Albanian woman living in New York and trying to get her green card. She manages to land a job as a nanny for the teenage son of Mister Stanley, a disillusioned Wall Street Executive. Life is going fine until one day a black SUV pulls up to her house and some Albanian "brothers" ask her to stash a gun for her.

Okay. My thoughts. Lula dear, when four guys arrive at your house looking sinister and you worry about who they are... DON'T LET THEM IN. When they ask you to stash a gun for you TELL THE COPS AFTER. When you feel like one of these guys is stalking you DON'T ENCOURAGE IT. Seriously half this book is her going "Oh no someone left me a creepy gift in my room... maybe he'll come back because he's oh so cute and dangerous" Excuse me, what?

My overall thoughts about this book are pretty lackluster. That's probably why it has taken me two months to come up with any sort of review. I felt like a lot of the story could have been avoided if Lula weren't stupid enough to let these guys in her house in the first place. Also, if she's in the process of applying for a green card there were so many things that she did in this book that she shouldn't have.

For the most part the characters were stereotypical shells. Alvo (the guy who may or may not be stalking her) is a dangerous Albanian gangster with a gold tooth. Really? Don is a slightly sleazy lawyer who hits on his clients (aka Lula). The one person I did like in the book was Zeke the teenage son of Mister Stanley. He was an endearing character. His relationship with Lula was one of the only ones that made sense. They clearly cared about each other in their own way. The few scenes that had Zeke in them (or in a rare case a whole chapter with him) were the most enjoyable parts of the book.

There is also a twist at the end. But again...lackluster - it didn't seem all that believable.
Overall 3 stars. And slight disappointment in my first Goodreads Giveaway.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Jana Reviews "Forbidden" by Syrie James and Ryan James

Title and Author: Forbidden, by Syrie James & Ryan James
Publishing Info: January 24th, 2012 by HarperTeen
How I got this book: From Syrie James, the author.
Why I read this book: I love Syrie James, and I love YA. So when I found out she was co-writing a paranormal romance YA novel with her son, I was incredibly excited!
Stars: 4

**This review was originally posted at my solo blog, That Artsy Reader Girl.**


"She should not exist.

He should not love her.

Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger.

Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans. . . 

Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her?"

I was SO excited when Syrie wrote to me and told me that I was the first ever recipient of a Forbidden ARC! I read this book back in August, and was very happy when I was asked to post this review now, rather than wait for the month of the release. Put this on your Christmas lists, guys! I think you'll enjoy it. :) 

First off, I really loved the story. The premise was interesting, and I like how I had to keep guessing and trying to figure out what was going on. I liked the tactic the authors used--to not tell us what Claire or Alec are for quite a while. All these crazy things start happening, and people are not who they say they are. I felt like I was just as lost as Claire was, which was exciting. I wish the back of the book did not mention angels. It would have been more fun to not have had any clue at all. 

Alec is an amazing character, and I'm not going to tell you what he is. It's fun to discover that on your own. He's a mix of bad boy and sweetheart, which I love. He is so sweet with Claire. He's also mysterious and dangerous, yet soft and romantic. He's at Emerson Academy to escape his old life and create a new one... if that's even possible. He enjoys his isolation. As soon as Claire pops up on the radar as someone the Elders should be investigating, his hiding place is discovered and he ends up having to take drastic measures to protect her from those who wish to destroy her.

I'm not going to tell you exactly what Claire is either, but she's something forbidden. Haha. Her entire life should not even exist. She starts noticing changes and has to learn as she goes, because not many have ever been in her position. There's no manuals on how to be herself. Man, this is painful to explain without spoilers, so I'm moving on! She's sweet and wishes to be noticed by this one guy she's had a crush on for years. Of course, he barely notices she's alive. When Alec comes along, though, she begins to gravitate towards him right as this crush starts to gravitate towards her. She's torn. She doesn't embrace the love triangle, like so many YA girls end up doing in books. (Like... did Bella have to act so upset to be marrying Edward, but fling herself into Jacob's arms when he showed up late at her reception? Sorry... I just saw Breaking Dawn yesterday.). She does a lot of thinking, and follows her heart. She seems smart. She also uses her talents to help people, like a classmate who needed a push in the right direction. Those are two main reasons why I like her. She didn't bug me, which often happens to me with YA heroines. I feel like I'm saying this a lot lately. Maybe authors are starting to write better heroines in general? 

I liked Claire's friends a lot. They looked out for each other, and spent a lot of time sitting and chatting about all kinds of things. Friends usually end up bugging me too. They can so often be petty, catty, etc. I wish I had good friends like them when I was in high school.

There were several plot twists that made me go, "Whoa! I definitely wasn't thinking THAT would happen!" I've noticed that as I read more and more of one genre, books begin to become pretty predictable. I mean, how many love triangles do we see? How many evil villains do we see? How many cliche plot twists do we see. A lot, a lot, a lot. These twists were not something I foresaw. I enjoyed being outsmarted by a genre that I've pretty much figured out.

Of course, the sweet kissing descriptions were just as good as the ones I've read in Syrie's other novels. I love romance!

My only possible constructive criticism… I'm not sure if it's because the book is part of the YA genre (which I've never read from Syrie), or if it was because she co-wrote it with her son, but there were parts of the novel that were totally Syrie, and other parts that did not sound like her. I could tell that two people wrote it. I'm not sure if it's because her writing style and Ryan's were not blended seamlessly, or if it was just that I'm used to reading adult fiction from Syrie instead of YA. In either case, it's not a huge deal… just an observation. If I had not read other works of hers, I doubt I would have noticed anything at all. I've just come to recognize Syrie's literary voice because I like it so much!

I asked Syrie if she and her son were planning to write a sequel, and she said that in their minds, it's a trilogy. However, HarperTeen only committed to one book. They have great ideas for the next two, though, so hopefully Forbidden is well-received, and they can continue the story. I'd love to know more about what's in store for Alec and Clair. Actually, I'd love a prequel, too. Throughout the story, we hear little bits about Claire's parents. I'd love to read about their story as well. It has the potential to be a pretty beautiful story.

I definitely think that the book will appeal to more than just YA readers, and I think a lot of that is due to the fact that the characters are not annoying and certainly don't fit into the stereotypical high school student formula. I think it also helped that Alec had a certain maturity that seemed to influence the other characters, and that brought on more mature conflicts and issues. I'm 24, and a lot of YA novels I read make me feel pretty old. Haha. I know I'm not old, but in a totally different place than most YA characters. I didn't feel like this while reading Forbidden, and I forgot they were all highschoolers. It was refreshing.

In short, it was a wonderful book. I quite enjoyed it, and only took about 2 days to read it. Hopefully this team gets to continue the story! While it can totally stand on its own, there are plenty of ends that are just a tad loose, that could use some tying up!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Heather reviews The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad #2) by Tana French


Book/Author: The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad #2) by Tana French
Publishing Info: Viking Adult, 2008
How I got this book: bought it at Borders
Why I read this book: I read the first book and loved it.
Rating: 4 stars

Summary (from Goodreads): Six months after the events of In the Woods, Detective Cassie Maddox is still trying to recover. She's transferred out of the murder squad and started a relationship with Detective Sam O'Neill, but she's too badly shaken to make a commitment to him or to her career. Then Sam calls her to the scene of his new case: a young woman found stabbed to death in a small town outside Dublin. The dead girl's ID says her name is Lexie Madison (the identity Cassie used years ago as an undercover detective, and she looks exactly like Cassie.

With no leads, no suspects, and no clue to Lexie's real identity, Cassie's old undercover boss, Frank Mackey, spots the opportunity of a lifetime. They can say that the stab wound wasn't fatal and send Cassie undercover in her place to find out information that the police never would and to tempt the killer out of hiding. At first Cassie thinks the idea is crazy, but she is seduced by the prospect of working on a murder investigation again and by the idea of assuming the victim's identity as a graduate student with a cozy group of friends.


My thoughts: I read Tana French's In The Woods a few years ago and I absolutely loved it. I final got the chance to pick up the sequel this October and was not let down. French has a gift for creating suspenseful situations. I'm not usually too interested in murder mystery novels but this series has me hooked. I will definitely be putting the third book, Faithful Place on my wishlist for this holiday season. The Likeness starts out with a bang as detective Cassie Maddox is called to the scene of a murder where the victim is shockingly identical to her. Thus begins the undercover operation to discover who killed this mysterious doppelganger.

This book took me longer to read than I would have liked but it was not for lack of interest. I was itching to pick it up at any free moment I had. The relationship development between Cassie/Lexie and her roommates was so descriptive and interesting to me. They were SO close, I was holding my breath so many times because I was worried that she would be discovered as an imposter. As the story unfolds, the secrets slowly pour out of the walls of their old house. 

The one thing that really bugged me about this novel is that Lexie had stolen the identity of a false identity made up by Cassie years ago. It was never addressed how exactly Lexie came upon that identity or how it was possible they could look and sound so much alike but not be related at all. Other than that, The Likeness was a great psychological thriller that definitely messed with my mind. Even if you don't typically read mystery novels, I would suggest stepping out of your comfort zone with this. I doubt you will be disappointed!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our Top Ten Childhood Favorites


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

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

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

Welcome everyone to Top Ten Tuesday! Today we are doing a retro week where we went back and revisited the FIRST EVER Top Ten Tuesday. We had a grand total of 8 entries, each of which we were thrilled to have, just like every week we are thrilled with all of you who decide to participate. So now without further ado, a collaboratory post of...

Top Ten Childhood Favorites

 Jamie's picks
1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein:  I was OBSESSED with this book as a child along with Where The Sidewalk ends.


2. Little House In The Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: True story...instead of playing house or school like normal kids..I tried to make my sister play "Little House on the Prairie" with me. I LOVED THIS BOOK and series.

3. Superfudge by Judy Blume: I thought this book was hilarious as a child! After reading this I read EVERYTHING by Judy Blume. EVERYTHING. She wrote some of the best YA books everrr!

4. The Boxcar Children series: I was obsessed with these books. I SO wanted to be a homeless child in a boxcar with my brothers and sisters. It seemed like the best thing ever....complete freedom. I got older and realized how actually that would be pretty shitastic. BUT hey...these kids were resourceful. And for some reason I always remember them having a broken teacup. Random, right?

5. ANYTHING EVERY BY BEVERLY CLEARY!! -- Seriously, my school librarian couldn't give these to me any faster. I swear I'm going to read these again soon!

Julia's Picks
6. Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger - Louis Sachar
I will never forget the throwing out the window test of gravity, the cows, and the students themselves! Such a fun book for a preteen. I am pretty sure I read this at least four or five times. I got it from the book fair. So much fun. I think this is the one where she has her baby (how do I remember that...)

7. The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
7th grade. Coming of age. Even though it was the 50s for Ponyboy, I could relate to him so much! Two-bit, Sodapop, Darry, Dally and of course, Johnny. All of these characters I look back on fondly as a remembrance to the entrance to my adolescence. The funny thing about this book is I read it again but it didnt have that same glow as the first time. Make me not sure if I want to read my childhood faves again or not...

8. Tuck Everlasting - Natalie Babbitt
Oh, man the tears when I read this book. It was such a cool premise. Living forever. And it really was also an interesting study on the implications therein. I didn't understand her choice. The 12 year old me would have chose eternal love in a heart beat. But I loved the book regardless. Maybe it would have turned out kind of like an Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire Claudia (?) kind of thing...

9. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
I think I read this after I saw the movie, but I loved the book just as much. Who could not love growing up with these girls. Seeing their lives change from year to year while their sisterly dynamic pretty much stayed the same. Plus a young Christian Bale playing Lorrie did not help at all.

10. Aesop's Fables - Aesop
At a time when I wasn't reading too much of anything, I found the mythology club. Then I found these stories. I read them and loved them. I am pretty sure I even acted in some of them. Oh fourth grade and the role of "One who holds the sticks for the grapes to be attached to"


Monday, December 5, 2011

Daisy's Review of The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson



Title/Author: The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, September 20th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.
Elisa is the chosen one.
But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.
Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king — a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.
Most of the chosen do."

I've been PINING for this book for a year before reading this. And guess what: TOTALLY AMAZING! Seriously, I LOVED this book. I would have read it in one sitting if something trivial like sleep and my internship hadn't gotten in the way.

So now that I've gotten my gushing out the way, let me tell you all the ways this book blew my mind.

First, OMG the whole godstone lore! It was so amazing! I'm not a religious person, but I was intrigued by this whole thing. Especially when this system of a chosen one getting a godstone is being turned on its head! I'm so excited to see where the author will take this in the next book!

And Elisa, seriously, if you like strong female characters in your fantasy, this is the girl for you! She has a real backbone, isn't afraid to laugh at herself and is just a NICE person. It was refreshing that she starts out being very much overweight and actually has a personality instead of just being pretty. She shows such character growth throughout the book, it was wonderful.

And then there was THE BOY. Oh Humberto, how you made my romantic little heart flutter with your amazing boyness you!
**MAJOR SPOILER, LIGHT UP TO READ:**
So, seriously, who else was gaping openmouthed when he died??? OMG! I cannot believe that happened! I wanted to go back and unread that so Humberto would still be alive! I am so incredibly sad it happened and I'm not sure it was necessary. Humberto...
**END OF SPOILER**

And the storyline, it was amazing. And I had kind of guessed something that would be important at the end of the book, but I had NO IDEA it would turn out like this. This whole world blew my mind and I'm dying to find out what will happen to Elisa in the next book. Which needs to be here now instead of October 2012! How will I survive in the meantime?? Seriously?

Oh, and can I just say that while I'm not loving this cover so much, after reading the book it makes perfect sense. I'll give you a hint: that blue thing is the godstone. I realised this about halfway through. Yes, I am a genius...

If you couldn't tell already, I loved this book so much I'm not really coherent about it. Which means you should all go read it. If you like fantasy and good books in general, you will enjoy this.
My rating: 5+ stars

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