Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book tour: "The Secret Keeper" by Sandra Byrd



The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd
Reviewed as a part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Author website: www.sandrabyrd.com
Twitter event hashtag: #SecretKeeperVirtualTour


It's hard to find a historical fiction book that I don't like, but, truthfully, my initial thought going into this book was "Oh God, ANOTHER book about one of Henry VIII's wives." The Secret Keeper needs to be a wonderful standout in the mass seas of Tudor books that are out there...and boy, it is.

The book focuses on Juliana St. John who serves in the household of Katherine Parr (her name is spelled Kateryn in the book, but somehow I can't bring myself to write it that way). Juliana is a 'seer' who foresees climatic events in Katherine's life, making Juliana that much more protective of and devoted to her. We follow Katherine through her years as queen, the time after Henry VIII's death, and beyond. 

This book follows a lot of common stereotypes found in historical fiction: a fictional character (often who has some spiritual/mythical power) finds herself in the service of a queen (or future queen), quickly becomes a favorite, then steers her lady (who has absolutely no flaws) through the storm, all the while juggling advances from her own dashing suitors. The Secret Keeper is no different in this form, yet manages to still be unique, fund, and fresh. While I liked reading about Juliana, Katherine, and the other ladies-in-waiting, who were all wonderfully written, the 'villain' Anne Stanhope, and Thomas Seymour, who is a bit of a scumbag, were much more interesting to reading about. Sandra Byrd has a great way of writing both sympathetic and detestable characters, which is respectable. Everyone was strong and memorable in their own way.

I also liked the theory that was offered up on what happened to Katherine's daughter. Historically, a toddler Mary just simply disappeared from record books, strange for the daughter of a former queen. There has always been questions as to whether she died, went abroad, or married a low-born. Here, were are given a speculation that actually makes sense given the circumstances that you would read about.

As said before, The Secret Keeper has the ability to really have it's own presence in the historical fiction world. I'm excited to get my hands on Sandra Byrd's other novel about Anne Boleyn!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life



Top Ten Characters Who Remind Me Of Myself Or Someone I Know In Real Life

This week, we at The Boke and Bookish decided to do a collaboration The collection is below.

Bridget chose Elinor from Sense & Sensibility
Elinor reminds me of me first of all because of her reserved personality and her love of a reserved guy--and also because Marianne is much like my own younger sister, who has difficulty understanding my relationship with my boyfriend. (Just because she wouldn't be happy with him means she can't understand how or why I am.) I don't know if Elinor would necessarily remind me of myself as much if she didn't have Marianne as a comparison, but together it's like reading about my exact relationship with my younger sister.

Daisy chose Juniper and Wise Child from Juniper and Wise Child by Monica Furlong
I love, love, LOVE these books and have read them so many times as a kid and I think it's because Juniper reminds me of my mom and Wise Child reminded me of me as a kid. I can't explain it, but I think it's why I connected to this story in this way. Juniper is such a warm, caring, strong woman and just makes me think of my mom.

Paula chose Hermione from Harry Potter
I hope it's not presumptuous to say that... but when I was growing up I was that geeky over achiever that did extra reports just for the fun of it, who constantly had her hand raised, and thought you were crazy for not wanting to be in class. It was awesome to see a character like that who played such an important role in the series. I really connected with her - and it was fantastic that she grew into this super strong person that was an essential part of the team. AND I had a crush on Ron- soooo... there's that

Jen chose Amy from Amy & Roger's Epic Detour
Like Amy I tend to be somewhat reserved and guarded. I don't open up to people quickly, and usually give them limited information about myself. I've never understood why when you first meet some people they tell you their entire life story.

Daisy chose Trevor from Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett
Trevor reminds me of my boyfriend. Trevor's smart, a really good guy, wonderful brother and loyal friend. Also, he's a totally supportive boyfriend. And he totally reminds me of my boyfriend who I love very much!

Julia chose Lucy from On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn
Lucy didn't remind me much of myself until the second time I read it. What she is going through mimicked what I was thinking at the time. This is the first, and to my knowledge, only review where what an author wrote became myself.

I wracked my brains trying to think of more, but I see myself reflected in every character. If I think of the rest or get more from the fellow bloggers, I'll add it in.



Monday, June 25, 2012

Julia Reviews I Suck At Girls by Justin Halpern

Title/Author:I Suck at Girls by Justin Halpern
Publisher/Year Published:May 2012 by HarperCollins
How I got this book: The publisher provided the book freely for a honest review
Why I read this book: Sh*t My Dad Says was a hilarious book.
Rating: 5 stars


The one thing that I have to say about Justin Halpern is that he can write a memoir. His first book, Sh*t My Dad Says, was based on growing up with a dad that speaks his mind regardless of how it comes off to the rest of the world. The result is a few hours of fun and barking laughter and getting a glimpse into their father son relationship.

I Suck at Girls has more of a Justin centric focus as he talks about his life with women and sex. His dad features a few times, all times bringing the wit we remember from the first book, but really the focus is Justin’s journey with girls. This book is also told in memoir form with each chapter being a different part of Justin’s life.

It’s hard not to compare this to the last book, and I am not going to try. While Sh*t My Dad Says was more anecdotal with loose connections to each chapter, this book has the feeling of a complete journey. You can see how each chapter in his life builds upon his past experiences sometimes calling back to something he had learned earlier in life and thus the book. While this book still had doses of humor in it, the overall plot is more his journey and less life lessons.

The experiences he has vary from hilarious to poignant (and sometimes both). I think the other book was a little bit more laugh out loud funny, but this one does not lack humor. Justin is a great character in his own life, and he has had interactions with a lot of interesting people. I really want to tell people my favorite part of the story (involving a secret cave… literally. No, that is not a euphemism), but I don’t want to spoil anything. You’ll just have to go out and read it for yourself!

If you are sensitive to swearing and sexual, well everything is pretty much in here, and this may not be for you. But if not and you are looking for a quick, heartwarming and laugh out loud funny read about one man’s journey with sex and women, pick this up. I highly recommend it.

PS: I love the cover design of this book and how they made it so closely designed to the cover of the first book. If I just saw this cover, I would pick it up thinking it had to do with the other book, and I would be right. So A+ marketing/design team.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daisy Reviews Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham


Title/Author: Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Landmark, June 1st 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "As Henry VIII draws his last breath, two very different women, Jane Dudley, Viscountess Lisle, and Frances Grey, Marchioness of Dorset, face the prospect of a boy king, Edward VI.
For Jane Dudley, basking in the affection of her large family, the coming of a new king means another step upward for her ambitious, able husband, John. For Frances Grey, increasingly alienated from her husband and her brilliant but arrogant daughter Lady Jane, it means that she — and the Lady Jane — are one step closer to the throne of England.
Then the young king falls deathly ill. Determined to keep England under Protestant rule, he concocts an audacious scheme that subverts his own father’s will. Suddenly, Jane Dudley and Frances Grey are reluctantly bound together in a common cause — one that will test their loyalties, their strength, and their faith, and that will change their lives beyond measure."

You guys, I'm SUCH an anglophile and will basically read anything that mentions anything about the time period of Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and all the troubles of the times between his death and her actually getting on to the throne. I LOVE all the court intrigue and the drama that goes along with it. Though I'm exceedingly thankful not to actually be living in the time it all went down. So when I saw this one being about Jane Grey, the Queen of England for all of 9 days, I knew I had to read it.

Jane Grey is in my opinion one of the most tragic figures in the history of England's monarchy and though I never really liked her when I came across her in the other Tudor novels, I always felt bad for her, cause I don't think she really meant anyone harm in assuming the throne. And to see all the events partly through her mother's eyes was really interesting! I didn't really know a lot about the girl herself or her upbringing or that she had a husband! I could have just missed it, but I haven't seen much mention of said (and sad) husband before.

The POV switches between Jane Dudley, the mother of THE Robert Dudley (who will look like Joseph Fiennes in my mind) and Frances Grey, mother of Jane Grey. I loved that these two ladies were married to two of the most powerful men in England, the Duke of Northumberland and the Duke of Suffolk, and because of that were in the know about all the intrigue and basically everything going on. I liked reading Jane Dudley's chapters better, I felt that in the end she was a better person and I loved that she became such a mama bear fighting for her children and husband in the only way she could: through court politics. I clicked less with Frances Grey, she was a bit distant and sometimes cold and I couldn't fully connect with her character. Also at one time I was SO angry at her, though I can relate to her reasons for doing what she did, but still, it wasn't right what she did.

I enjoyed it all: the drama, the good times, the court intrigue, even the beheadings (though I was REALLY sad at most of the beheadings). From the beginning there's a huge sense of foreboding, and obviously I knew it couldn't end well for most of the characters I was reading about, but still, I was rooting for them and wishing that maybe this time it would be different. But alas, it all happened over 450 years ago and I cannot turn back time.

Susan Higginbotham really managed to bring history to life with Her Highness, the Traitor and I loved seeing the 'villains' of history from another perspective. Experiencing all the things that went down in that time through the eyes of the wives of these powerful man made it become real instead of a summing up of facts and it was just wonderful. The writing was engaging and though sometimes I wished the story would hurry up a bit, I was never once bored. I would absolutely recommend it to historical fiction fans!

My rating: 4 stars

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happy 2 Years To Us + Giveaway FOR YOU!




 Really...it's been TWO YEARS since we started this thing?? I think I can speak for all of us when I say it's been incredible. We love talking books with you. We love Top Ten Tuesdayin' it up with y'all and adding to our already daunting TBR piles. We've loved the FAB twitter conversations. WE LOVE IT ALL. What a community that makes us come back here each and every day for TWO YEARS. Back in the day when I had issues with commitment and would listen to friends talk about how they had been dating each other for TWO or THREE years. I would joke that I can't think of ONE thing I've done consistently for two years -- besides like sleeping or brushing my teeth. But being apart of this community every day for two years seems easy. It's flown by. But really what these two years have been about is not just US and what we put on this blog but what, as a community, we've been able to share with each other for two years. SO YAY you and YAY us and YAY books! Let's keep doing this for many years to come!   - Jamie

To help get everyone into the celebratory mood and to thank you all so much for being following our blog for two years, we have decided to give away a free book of the winners choice! Wondering what book to choose? Maybe you should check out our master list of reviews? Or how about everyone's most anticipated reads of this coming season? I am sure you can find something in a Top Ten Tuesday linkie!

The Rules:
Be celebratory and enter via Rafflecopter below!*

Also check and make sure The Book Depository ships to you so you can get the prize.

The contest ends at 12:01 EDT on June 28th.

The Prize:
An up to $15 book of choice from The Book Depository

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*If for some reason you cannot enter with the Rafflecopter, email Julia (bambbles{at}gmail{dot}com) and I'll enter for you (with your two freebies!) If you chose to leave a comment on this post or tweet us, let me know and I'll enter those options for you as well.

Kelly's review of "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See

Title: Shanghai Girls
Author: Lisa See
Published: Random House, 2009

Shanghai Girls is a short and easy book to read, yet is is so beautiful, cultural, and deeply human. It tells the story of Pearl and May, sisters in 1937 Shanghai (also known as the Paris of Asia). They are young, beautiful, privileged, work as models, and are engaged to wealthy business heirs. In short, their lives are perfect. This abruptly ends with their father's financial demise and the outbreak of WWII. Their homes and lives are completely destroyed. They endure the worst sorts of heartbreak as they make a dangerous escape to America and try to find their fiancees.

Once in California, they are held on Angel Island for months where they wan and are on the brink of starvation and mental breakdowns. When they are finally released, they make their way into their new lives. The rest of the book follows them for the next 25 years. We meet their fiancees and new families, learn about their adjustments to living in America (in a time with much prejudice towards Asians) and watch as they face their new identity struggles.

I loved the sisters' relationship. Even though they were complete opposites and often did not get along, they were very devoted and protective of each other. Well into their 40s and 50s they wouldn't leave each other's sides. They clung to each other because they were all they had left of China, their parents, and their old lives. Pearl and May perfectly complimented each other and it was great to read about the different paths they took in their new lives in America.

I can't wait to read Lisa See's other book, The Snow Flower & the Secret Fan, if I know it'll be half as good as this one! I also discovered that a sequel to this book recently came out, focusing on Pearl's daughter, Joy.  I'll have to pick it up soon!

4.5 stars.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jen Reviews Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson



Title: Second Chance Summer 
Author: Morgan Matson 
Published: Simon & Schuster, May 2012 
How I Got It: Purchased myself 
Rating: 5 stars


From Goodreads: Taylor’s family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then they get news that changes everything: Her father has pancreatic cancer, and it’s stage four – meaning that there is basically nothing to be done. Her parents decide that the family will spend his last months together at their old summerhouse in the Pocono Mountains.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.



Review:


It's a pretty well known fact that I LOVED Morgan Matson's debut novel, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour (you can read my review of Amy & Roger's Epic Detour).  When I heard Matson had another book coming out I immediately starting counting down the days.  Then of course life got in the way and I was busy and I completely forgot that the book was out until a week after it was released. 


So what did I think of Second Chance Summer?  LOVED it.  But in a much, much different way than Amy and Roger.  Side note: Amy makes a quick, blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in Second Chance Summer.


Warning: this book will break your heart.  It will remind you of all the emotions you've gone through when you've lost someone close to you.  That is what made me love this book as strongly as I do.   While those emotions are heartbreaking and reliving them is never fun, I love that Matson was able to convey all of those feelings in her writing.  

A box of Kleenex is necessary to get through this book.  Ladies, no eyeliner.  You'll end up crying it off.  I do want to mention that the entire book is NOT depressing.  Happy things do happen to the characters!  


I know this wasn't much of a review but I honestly cannot get the thoughts in my head to form complete sentences.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Daisy's Top Ten Books On The Summer TBR List!


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, check them out here!

It's time for another of those Top Ten Seasonal Lists, this time we're talking books you have on your Summer TBR lists! As always, it can be either books you're dying to read now it's starting to get warm or anticipated new releases.

I picked the option where I tell you which 10 books have got me most excited that will be released between June 21st and September 20th 2012!

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: I don't know if I've ever talked about this book on The Broke and the Bookish before, but I'm one of those Fictionpress fans and I cannot wait to get my hands on a shiny finished copy! I think I pre-ordered this about six months ago and the wait has been excruciating! I am beyond jealous of everyone who managed to get their hands on an ARC ;) Be on the look out for some gushing when it's finally released!

2. The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson: So I gushed about the first book in this series in my review and it made my Top Ten Books of 2011. You better believe I'm excited about the sequel!! I'm dying to find out what will happen next and if it will leave me as heartbroken The Girl of Fire and Thorns!

3. The Diviners by Libba Bray: I adored Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series and I cannot wait to start this one! It sounds fascinating, but mostly I'd pretty much read anything by this author!

4. Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian: I still need to work on getting my hands on Siobhan Vivian's debut, but I've heard really good things about it and really enjoyed the Summer series by Jenny Han, so this sounds like a VERY promising co-authorship! Also: YES REVENGE AND GIRLS GETTING EVEN!

5. Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier: I'm a really bad fantasy-fan for not having read anything by Juliet Marillier before. I do own at least one of her novels. This is the first book in her new series and it sounds AMAZING! Can't wait to delve in!

6. Origin by Jessica Khoury: I am fascinated by anything that has to do with finding a way to live forever! Also, the cover is beyond gorgeous!

7. Defiance by C.J. Redwine: This one sounds like it will be an EPIC fantasy! And YES to girls wielding swords and basically being kickass! Also, I'm in love with this cover, it'll look so good on my shelve :)

8. Lessons From A Scandalous Bride by Sophie Jordan: For those of you who didn't know: Sophie Jordan writes amazing adult historical romance. I just auto-pre-order whatever she and Sarah MacLean come up with because they haven't disappointed me so far!

9. The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt: I have read 2 books by Lauren Barnholdt and loved both, so I'm expecting this one won't be any different!

10. The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon: I am in love with his writing! I just ate The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game right up and of course I HAVE to read this third installment!

For those of you going: HUH? She usually cheats on these lists! Don't worry, I'm totally cheating, I'll have a whole extra set of Top Ten books up on my personal blog ;)

So what do you have on your TBR list for Summer? Any of the ones I have listed? Maybe you were lucky enough to get an ARC of and have read already? If so, TELL ME what you though of them! Books I definitely need to add? Ones that I need to put on my 'grabby-hands-pre-order' list? :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Tahleen reviews: "The Wednesday Wars" by Gary D. Schmidt

Title: The Wednesday Wars
Author: Gary D. Schmidt
Publisher: Sandpiper, 2007

Rating: 4.5 stars

It's 1967, and Holling Hoodhood has a lot to deal with. He is constantly fielding bullies at school, his sister wants to be a flower child, his dad is completely focused on his job as a highly regarded architect and ignores his family's true needs, and he thinks his teacher, Mrs. Baker, hates his guts. Holling, being the only Presbyterian in his class, is the only student who doesn't have to go to Hebrew school or Catechism on Wednesday afternoons. As a result, Mrs. Baker has to stay in class with him. Though they start off with Holling clapping erasers, eventually they move on to Shakespeare plays. Throughout the year, Holling learns to apply Shakespeare to life, under Mrs. Baker's guidance—all against the backdrop of the Vietnam War.

The Wednesday Wars is everything I want in historical fiction. I'm not into the romance stories or melodramas that seem to be pretty popular. I'm all about how realistic people react to being in a certain  time period, especially if it's done with humor. And for some reason I love reading about the 1960s. What I really loved about Schmidt's writing was how he managed to get very deep and meaningful messages into Holling's often sarcastic and wry musings and observations. It's the voice of a middle schooler with the wisdom of Mrs. Baker, a military wife and teacher.

Characters really developed over the course of the novel. We see hidden sides of most characters, especially Mrs. Baker; Mrs. Bigio, the lunchlady who was recently widowed when her husband died in Vietnam; Holling's sister; and Mai Thi, a Vietnamese girl in Holling's class who was brought out of her war-torn country by a Catholic relief society. I loved watching the relationships develop as well.

Basically, this book gets the message through of what it means to be family, what it means to love, and how you can't judge a person by who you think they are before getting to know them. This Newbery-honor book is a delight, and I very much recommend it. I am looking forward to reading its companion novel, Okay For Now, which also won a Newbery honor.

Disclosure: I bought this e-book on my nook.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Paula reviews The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

Title: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Publisher: Harper, June 2012
How I got it: Received an ARC from the publisher
Rating: 3 Stars

Imagine you are going about your business one day and as you take your next step you find yourself in a field you've never seen before. When you step back, you find yourself back home. The Long Earth explores the possibility of parallel earths that are just a step away from our own. Once this phenomenon of "stepping" has been discovered- people all around Earth 1 "The Datum Earth" start wondering what is out there on the Long Earth and how it will change civilization as we know it. The main characters, Joshua - a natural stepper, and Lobsang - a super intelligent computer, in particular have a desire to explore the entirety of the Long Earth in an attempt to figure out why it's there.

My thoughts: There were a lot of really cool concepts in this book as well as a lot of things that didn't feel quite developed enough. The idea of The Long Earth and the consequences of its discovery is really awesome. Some immediate consequences were that people were stepping away from their lives to run away from their problems- one day they just stepped away from everything and just kept walking into the unknown. Other people and communities saw it as an attempt to restart civilization on a random Earth and see if they can do any better than what is on the Datum. The idea of an infinite number of Earths was really neat as well- because on each one, things were slightly different than the one before because evolution took a slightly different path.

But some things didn't feel like they were wrapped up completely... (and I cannot find evidence if there will be a second book or not). In fact, I really hope there is a second book because if this is a stand alone then I am pretty disappointed in the ending. If it is the beginning of a series/trilogy/something then I can see how this was just the setup for things to come.

Why I gave it a 3: As I mentioned above, the ending didn't feel resolved. Also, sometimes while I was reading I kept wondering "okay so where is the plot?" I get that Joshua and Lobsang were trying to travel to Earth Million (and beyond) to try and figure out why The Long Earth existed... but really that's all it was- they were traveling with small glimpses of the strangeness of what was below them. I don't know if maybe I was missing some greater point of "No really, what is the point of all of this" or if it really was lacking a bit plot wise. That being said it wasn't a bad book- the characters were enjoyable and so were some of the oddities they stumbled upon. I hope there is a continuation that really explores what has happened to the Datum earth now that the majority of people have fled to restart their lives. All in all, I think it's an interesting beginning to something- I just hope it's actually getting continued.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kimberly's review of Travel to Tomorrow: Fifties Chix + Author Interview


Book: Travel to Tomorrow: A Fifties Chix book
Author: Angela Sage Larsen
How I got it: The publishers sent it to me

This is a bit of a... shameful thing. You see, I was sent this book ages ago. I mean, FOREVER. It's just a few months shy of a year ago that I received this book. I read it, and loved it. (As you will see in my review following.) I even got to interview the author! They gave me a number to call, and a time and I dialed into a conference call (I felt very spoiled, let me tell you that). I got to ask Angela questions about the book, herself and we ended up chatting about various other things, not just the book. It wasn't until after I hung up the phone I remember the other group of people that were listening to the conversation as well...

I had a review, as well as the interview all typed up. And then one of the worst things that can happen to a student and/or blogger happened. My computer died. It took weeks to fix, when I finally got it back I was scrambling to find all of my assignments that were due. It was several more weeks before I realized just how much I'd lost when my computer died. Including the author interview. I finally recovered it, and promptly forgot about it. (I'm sorry Angela, Sara and everyone else!) Then about 3 months ago I remembered (because I got an email from them...) and realized I needed to get it cleaned and ready to post to the blog. Then it happened again. My computer died. This time it took an even harder hit. I lost pretty much everything I had on my computer. It's a fixed and lovely now, working well with one of the best anti-virus systems my computer guy could find. Two weeks ago I was looking for an old paper I'd written that I wanted to reuse for another class, I found it along with (drum roll please) THE AUTHOR INTERVIEW! Unfortunately, it had been corrupted when the virus hit my computer, so I only have bits and pieces. What was an amazing interview, has turned into fragmented notes here and there left for me to interpret, trying to remember what it was I was talking about when I typed it. Kinda like going back and studying notes for an exam.

However, the book and being able to talk to Angela was just too much fun not to share, so here is the interview along with my review. Scrambled as it might be.


Review:

I've always been a sucker for time travel stories (hello Doctor Who). As I am sitting here typing this review I'm looking at my bookshelves and I can spot at least six of them that involve time travel. So when this book was offered to me, I was ecstatic. It was also the first time I'd been offered a book to review as a blogger that wasn't self published (nothing wrong with a self published book, of course). I got the book and my first impression? The cover was beautiful. I later found out why.

Here is the description of the book I stole from the website:
“n 1955 in the heartland of America, mismatched high school classmates Mary, Judy, Maxine, Beverly and Ann are assigned an intriguing social studies project by their eccentric teacher, Miss Boggs: they must predict what life will be like fifty-five years into the future. Little do they know that their grade is more than pass or fail; what they present to their teacher will turn their lives upside down. The day after the assignment, the girls mysteriously wake up in the very era they attempted to predict…and discover just how off-base they were. While venturing to solve the puzzle of their time travel predicament, they learn more about themselves and each other than they bargained for! Each Fifties Chix has a talisman that symbolizes a special talent that each one needs to navigate her new world and help them find the way back “home” to 1955.
Through diary entries and extraordinary story text, this book series unfolds the Fifties Chix, their hopes, dreams, secret crushes, friendships, mysteries, and families as they time travel and explore parallel worlds in time that prove to be both different and similar. The scenes are set and enriched with fascinating historical references, young love, adventure, intrigue, and lots of 1950s slang, facts, and culture.”

The characters are so very likeable. Some of them took me a chapter or two to really love, but all of them stole my heart by the time I was very far into the story. Each of them have unique personalities and traits about them that set them apart and give the reader more reasons to love them.

Then there is the mystery. Why did they travel in time? How? Some things haven't changed... But everything else is so very different from the world they knew. The characters grow and change living in this new world, and it was so fun to watch them adapt, but never abandon their true selves. It is interesting to see their time period compared with our own. It highlights just how much has changed, the good and the bad.

I feel like this is a rather vague review, but one of the delights of reading this book is I had no prior knowledge of the book. I didn't know what to expect.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys time travel, friendship stories, or just a flat out fun read. It's classified as a Middle to YA level, so it's suitable for about any age. Although some of the references to the 50's might be lost on younger readers. There is a lovely section in the back of the book that defines some of the slang and cultural references used.

I give this book 5 well deserved stars

Author Interview:

As if I didn't gush about it enough above, I had a BLAST getting to talk to the author. Angela was a delight to talk to. I loved getting to hear about the writing process, we also had a few things in common and drifted off topic a few times, it was fantastic.

I've been glancing through the notes and realized that some of the stuff could be spoilers, so I leave that stuff out but there is still some fun stuff to talk about.

I first asked when the next book would be out, because I was dying to know what was going to happen next after the BIG SPOILER happened at the end of the book. The next book is supposed to be out this year. (Yay for a sequel I don't have to wait 3+years for!)

I also asked why she had picked the 50's, it's one of my favorite time periods so I was curious what inspired her to write about it.

She said (and I'm having to paraphrase because of the fragmented remains of a document I'm pulling this from) That it was the Golden Era. It was a peaceful time... and yet there were so many things brewing under the surface. Civil Rights, Women's Rights...

Angela did a lot of research for the book, there was so much detail in the story that it was obvious. When I asked she said it took an entire summer just for the research, she wanted it to be as authentic as possible.

I asked if she had any favorite scenes, particular parts that she had enjoyed writing the most. She mentioned a few parts (that I can't say because it would be a spoiler, but they're wonderful moments) The scenes she mentioned are very character defining moments, as well as one rather powerful moment that happens early in the story.

Another question I had was about the cover. Like I said before, I loved it. I would have bought the book just for the cover. She told me that an artist, and forgive me, I can't remember who it is, did the cover for her. He actually found girls that looked like the characters and used them as models for the cover. For the first time I read a book with the characters on the front and they actually looked like they were supposed to.

I've lost most of the rest of the interview, but one last interesting thing. She and I were reading the same book at the same time. Actually, both of us have book ADD, in that we can't read just one book at a time. So while we were both reading multiple books at the time, we were both reading 'Shiver'. I was ridiculously pleased about that.


Okay, here are some fun links for you sent to me by the lovely publishing company.

This one is a fun, intereactive site:

This one has more information of what is to come:




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend As Good Beach Reads

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.

Future topics can be found here.





I. LOVE. THE. BEACH.  
The ocean, the waves, the salty air and cool sea breeze.  Even the annoying seagulls who try to steal your food.  Going to the beach is an entire experience.  I love everything from picking the perfect spot to spread out your towel to frantically trying to brush off all the sand on your legs/feet before getting into the car to go home.  Luckily, there are many beaches near me.  Unfortunately, I have things like work which prevent me from going as much as I'd like!  But while at the beach having a book to read is a necessity, it's just as important as having a bottle of sunscreen!


Jen's Top Ten Books She'd Recommend As Good Beach Reads

  1. Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen:  Really, any of Sarah Dessen's books are perfect beach reading.  Especially since most of them (if not all? I can't remember) take place in a beach town.
  2. Are You There Vodka?  It's Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler:  The beach is not a place to read about a difficult topic or to read a book that will make you cry.  A humorous pick is definitely the way to go!
  3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:  A quick, classic read.  I try to read at least once classic each summer.  It reminds me of those dreaded summer reading lists in high school (which I secretly loved).
  4. Wither by Lauren DeStefano: You'll probably end up with a sunburn if you read this at the beach.  You'll be so wrapped up in the story that you'll forget to reapply sunscreen!
  5. MFW Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search For A New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche: Okay, so I haven't read this book yet (still on the library wait list) but just from reading the summary it seems like a great book for the beach!
  6. The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen:  Just an all around cute, fun read!
  7. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson: The opportunity to go on a road trip without leaving the comfort of your favorite beach towel and view of the ocean.
  8. In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez:  Assigned summer reading one year in high school.  For some reason I distinctly remember bringing this book to the beach with me!
  9. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson:  Who knows, maybe you'll find some sort of treasure on the beach!  You could strike gold just by making a sand castle! 
  10. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins:  Does this book even need a reasoning?  
What are you top ten books you'd recommend as good beach (or poolside) reads?  I'll definitely need some new reading material for the summer!


Friday, June 8, 2012

The Host giveaway winners!



Thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway for The Host! And the 5 lucky winners are....

Mickey at @imabookshark
Michelle at Book Briefs
Holly
Ashley at Crooked Prose
Laceyblossom

I will be contacting the winner via email or Twitter! Thanks for entering!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Daisy Discusses Covers That Have Disappointed Me

So I know how it goes, 'don't judge a book by its cover' and all that. But here's the thing: secretly everyone does it. Cause it's usually the first thing you notice when you see a book. The cover and the title. Both are SO important if you ask me.
But enough on that, what I really wanted to share with you all are some of the covers that have disappointed me throughout my reading life of the past couple of years.

Man, I did not love this book! And the cover is so pretty!! I know, I'm probably a minority for not liking this series, but it just never worked for me and just looking at this cover makes me sad all over again... And seriously, ALL the covers for the books in this series are pretty! I read in a time where I hadn't learned to DNF yet, and I sort of skimmed through to the end, but for some reason the characters and the storyline just didn't grow on me.

Confession: I am still a sucker for a girl in a dress. I stumbled across this one when I had just finished Libba Bray's Gemma Doyle series and couldn't get enough of the time period of late 1800s-early 1900s, so I thought I would just eat this up. Especially after someone described it as Gossip Girl in 1899. And I was just not feeling it and the story was nowhere near as gorgeous as that dress on the cover... I mean, I want to OWN that dress!

Look at that cover!! It's SO intriguing! I mean, I absolutely love it! But after reading 200 confusing pages wherein basically nothing happened, I gave up. I was really sad to DNF it, but I just couldn't do it anymore. And I KNOW, I'm probably a minority with this one as well, but it seems to be either hit or miss and for me it just, well, missed.

So this cover is one that I don't necessarily love. It's just that the cover was misleading (as well as the summary, but we're not talking about that right now). This cover made me expect a cute, fun summer read. And boy, was I DEAD WRONG. It was absolutely not fun or cute or anything remotely resembling either of those adjectives. To be honest, it was a bit depressing. If you're interested in my complete thoughts on it, check out my review on my personal blog.

This is quite possibly the most beautiful cover of 2010 and I was aching to get my hands on a copy and just devour it, cause with such a pretty cover you couldn't possibly go wrong, right? RIGHT??
Ahem. So yeah, basically this was 496 pages of an angel obsessing about her boyfriend and just being naive and too stupid to live. In my humble opinion. But did you know that Xavier was really hot? Cause it's mentioned, like, 500 times... For more opinions on this thing, check out my review on my personal blog and Jana's review on her blog.

So you guys might remember how I had issues with this book? And really, if you look at the cover closely you can see London. IN RUINS! And OMG, I am SUCH an anglophile, any cover that has the Big Ben or the Tower of London or the London Eye or basically, anything that has to do with London, will get my attention. And I love that she's pictured from the back and she's sort of in the shadows being all mysterious and making me say LET ME READ THAT!!! And well, yeah, it just absolutely wasn't my kind of book in the end.










So, there you go, my personal graveyard of the covers that have disappointed me. And I'm sorry if I offended anyone by disliking one of their favourite books (please don't yell at me...), I am very much aware that a lot of people have actually genuinely liked or loved these novels pictured above, but well, it's more interesting when people don't all have the same opinion right?

Now, tell me, what are covers that have disappointed you? Do you agree with me on some of these?


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Julia reviews I Kissed an Earl by Julie Anne Long

Title/Author:I Kissed an Earl by Julie Anne Long
Publisher/Year Published:
How I got this book: I bought the eBook
Why I read this book: I am making my way through the Pennyroyal Green series
Rating: 2 stars

Note: I have reviewed the three first books in the series on my blog(The Perils of Pleasure, Like No Other Lover, and Since the Surrender) if you are curious.

*sigh* I wanted to love this one. I wanted to love it despite this horrid cover. I wanted to love it because it was about chasing pirates,family drama and betrayal.

But I couldn't do it. I fooled myself for, oh, half the book before I couldn't hide my head in the sand anymore.
Violet Redmond's family and fortune might be formidable and her beauty and wit matchless—but her infamous flare for mischief keeps all but the most lionhearted suitors at bay. Only Violet knows what will assuage her restlessness: a man who doesn't bore her to tears, and a clue to the fate of her missing brother. She never dreamed she'd find both with a man whose own pedigree is far from impeccable.


"Savage" is what the women of the ton whisper about the newly styled Earl of Ardmay—albeit with shivers of pleasure. Born an English bastard, raised on the high seas, he's on a mission to capture a notorious pirate for vengeance. But while Violet's belief in her brother's innocence maddens him, her courage awes him . . . and her sensuality finally undoes him. Now the man who once lost everything and the girl who has everything to lose are bound by a passion that could either end in betrayal . . . or become everything they ever dreamed.
The Story:
I guess should start off with something good. The plot was unique. Violet jumps on a ship on a whim to chase after the man who is chasing a notorious pirate captain who could be her missing brother. Okay, when I put it like that it sounds ridiculous, and it is. But it is the ridiculous in a good way sort of thing. If I take my dislike for how the characters were handled (hard to do) and just look at how the plot was executed it would be pretty good. It's only pretty good because there were some sloppy parts, and too much of the plot was hurt by weak characters.

The Characters:
Oh hey, look! It's a MarySue! She does foolish things and gets rewarded (figuratively) for them. Like running into a hurricane! She does everything perfectly though she has never done it before. Seriously, this happens at LEAST twice that stand out in my memory. The first is she throws her FIRST dart, BLINDFOLDED at a map and succeeds in not only hitting the map (which would be believable) but hitting 'Lacao'. I don't know much about Lacao other than a quick Google search tells me it's an island in Chile. I don't care if it is the size of Canada, the odds of someone new at darts hitting it with their eyes closed is slim.

So after that tangent... she's too perfect. I feel like she learned nothing, grew little to none and most importantly frustrates the hell out of me. She didn't start out this way. I didn't mind her in the beginning, but I must not have known better. And her perfectness messes with the plot because she is like the embodiment of a deus ex machina.

Flint, the hero, is one note, and I actually know very little about him despite reading his book. Big surprise. But I could have dealt with him. My rage is all for Violet.

The Romance:
The romance was bland for me, most likely because I hated Violet so much. It was still strange at times. Man, I just keep thinking on how many hopes I had for this and how sad that almost none of them were met. To be quite honest, I wanted to find more out about the plot so I flipped through the love scenes. Meh.

The Execution:
As we can see, it just didn't work for me. I read a decent plot and I want to remember it for what it could have been, which simultaneously makes me frustrated and sad. I did like how it set up for Lyon's book, which to my chagrin is not published yet. I want to read about him. I hope I am not putting myself into the same position by hoping too much.

The Overview:
Overall, it was not my favorite. It's the opposite of book three in the series. I liked those characters well enough, but the plot was boring. This one had an interesting plot but characters that made me wanted to take up shooting.

So I'll reiterate the *sigh* and hope for the best with the next book.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday Rewind With Jamie!

 




 For information about Top Ten Tuesday and how to participate or to see the schedule for the upcoming TTT, go here.


For my rewind topic today, I'm going to pick Top Ten Books I Feel Everyone Has Read But Me

1. 50 Shades of Grey. Whether or not people love it or loathe it, I feel like everyone has at least tried it and given into the curiosity. I just refuse to. I know I won't like it, based on hearing some readings of passages, so why bother?

2. Harry Potter: I know, I'm a sinner. I should not be allowed to blog about books anymore, right?

3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: Even my friends who don't READ have read this book. I own it but  I just haven't gotten to it yet.

4. The Vampire Academy series: I think everyone in the YA community has read this series, yes? At least it feels that way when I'm always around bloggers as they love to rave about this one.

5. Divergent: by Veronica Roth: I had gotten half way through it and had to return it to the library and then just never got around to finishing it due to my crazy busy life right now.

6. Anything Jodi Picoult: I feel like everyone has read at LEAST one Jodi Picoult book in their lifetime. NOT me. I own some of them that I got for 25 cents at a garage sale.

7. Jane Eyre: Seriously, am I the last person alive to read this book? I should have gotten to it already.

8. The Night Circus: YA and Adult bloggers alike have been obsessed with this one since ARCS started rolling out. It sounds super interesting to me but I just haven't had time to pick it up.

9. The Fault In Our Stars by John Green: I love John Green. LOVE LOVE LOVE. It seems like this was everyone's most anticipated book, and I was excited about it too, but it seems like EVERYONE really did run out and buy this and read it the next day. MUST GET TO IT.

10. The Mortal Instruments series: I'm much overdue to start this series. It's such a popular series and I don't know why I've ignored it for so long. I hope the hype doesn't kill it for me.



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