Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kelly reviews "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green


Title: The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green

The majority of the YA/contemporary book blogging world is afflicted with a condition known as "John Green-itis." Once you've caught it, you feel a variety of symptoms such as breaking out in hysterical laughter, delving into deep thought, over the simplest sentence he's written, and crying until you actually feel as if you are empty inside and will never live again. Until recently, I'd avoided this epidemic. However, when I saw a shiny copy of The Fault in Our Stars staring at me from the library shelves, I gave into temptation.

I've caught a bad case of John Green-itis.

The Fault in Our Stars is Hazel and Gus's story of how they met, fell in love, and lost everything. They are young cancer survivors who meet suddenly at a support group. They aren't your typical teenagers, both physically and mentally, which makes them the perfect fit for each other. This isn't a book on how the character is learning to adjust to cancer or the aftermath; they've already been through that. This is a love story and cancer is just a side-story. I loved each and every character; I felt as if they were all there for a specific purpose and no one was superfluous. Of course, our main characters are the best. Hazel and Gus are so intuitive, quirky, and complex. I saw another reviewer of the book say "We need more Augustus Waters in this world" and nothing could be more accurate.

I realize that this is a pretty terrible review, but honestly, no words could do it justice. This is one of the most quotable books I've ever come across. There are such deeply profound thoughts, as well as sentences that are just plain hilarious. If the copy I'd been reading wasn't from the library, I would've highlighted the hell out of it. In conclusion, if you haven't read this book or anything else by John Green, DO IT, and if you have, what would be another book of his that you would recommend reading next?



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Kimberly's Top Ten Kick-Ass Heroines


Kimberly's Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines


Future TTT Topics can be found here
  1. Yelena Zaltana (Poison Study Trilogy)- This girl... Don't mess with her. She is a powerful magician, lethal with the staff she carries. She is smart and her tongue is as sharp as the rest of her. If she doesn't beat you senseless with magic or her staff, she'll tear you to pieces with words alone.
  2. Katniss Everdeen (Hunger Games)- Anyone who has seen the movie or read the books knows how tough she is. She is deadly with a bow and arrow. Don't ever threaten someone she cares about,she will NOT forget it and neither will you. She started a rebellion and became the symbol of that rebellion to all of the people.
  3. Raisa ana'Marianna- (Seven Realms)- Oh my goodness. I just was introduced to this series a few months back, during the summer. AMAZING series, I'm less than a hundred pages from the end of the last book! Anyway, Raisa. She is tough. She is smart, snarky, sarcastic and could take a full grown man down, despite being built small. I can't say a lot without spoiler a lot of the series so I'll be vague. From the beginning of the series she is strong, but she only grows stronger and more... Well... kick-ass as the series continues.
  4. Cinder (Lunar Chronicles)- She's a cyborg. And totally awesome. She is handy with anything mechanical, smart and strong.
  5. Ismae (Grave Mercy-His Fair Assassin)- When her story starts off, she is already strong willed. She doesn't quite have the physical strength to match. Yet. As the story continues however, she becomes a force to be reckoned with.
  6. Tris (Divergent)- Another character that starts off strong willed, but a little afraid and doesn't really have the physical strength. That soon changes however. She chooses the most difficult faction and instead of letting those that are bigger than her bully her, she fights back.
  7. Vin (Mistborn)- She is small, not all that confident in herself, and doesn't really have much ambition. At least when you first meet her. After she meets a group of rather amazing people, she learns more of who, and what she is and becomes amazing. Strong, fast, with a quick mind
  8. Sabriel/Lirael-(Abhorson)- So I cheated with this one. I can't choose between the two of them, and they're from the same trilogy... Both of them are no nonsense, does whatever she can do to fight and do the right thing. They're both tough, but don't seem to realize how strong they actually are. They're so busy keeping others safe, or doing what they're supposed to do that they don't stop long enough to realize what they are doing is actually pretty incredible.
  9. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)- Can anyone really make a list of heroines and not include Hermione? She is the smartest witch of her age, stands up to the strongest of foes and doesn't even falter when one of the people *cough Ron cough* walks away. She, along with her two best friends, helps to save everyone.
  10. Nita/ Dairine Callahan (Young Wizards)- I cheated again, but they're sisters! Both of them are tough as nails. They're young, 13 and 11 as their story starts out but there are a few things that set them apart. They're smart. Really smart. They're both wizards, with stronger powers than most. They come up against some of the most frighting foes, one in particular, and every time they come out on top.

I almost feel like I don't do these incredible characters justice. It's just so hard to describe them without any spoilers! Who are your favorite heroines? Are any of yours on my list? Is there a character that isn't on this list that I need to know about so I can read the book? Let me know!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Jen Reviews The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke


Book/Author: The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman
Publisher/Year:  Riverhead Books, 2005
How I Recieved It: It was a gift

Summary:

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke is financial expert Suze Orman's answer to a generation's cry for help. They're called "Generation Debt" and "Generation Broke" by the media - people in their twenties and thirties who graduate college with a mountain of student loan debt and are stuck with one of the weakest job markets in recent history. The goals of their parents' generation - buy a house, support a family, send kids to college, retire in style - seem absurdly, depressingly out of reach. They live off their credit cards, may or may not have health insurance, and come up so far short at the end of the month that the idea of saving money is a joke. This generation has it tough, without a doubt, but they're also painfully aware of the urgent need to take matters into their own hands (from bn.com).

Review:

I'm young, fabulous (well, I like to think so anyway!) and definitely broke.  I've flipped through many different personal financial books while browsing at the bookstore and noticed most of them are definitley not for me.  They just don't currently fit my needs/lifestyle.  Things like investing in stocks and saving for my children's college education aren't relevant to me right now (the stock market is confusing and I don't have kids). 

I really enjoyed this book because it was tailored towards my age group.  The chapters on student loans and credit cards are the ones I've read multiple times.  There's no big, scary financial words (but there is a helpful glossary at the end of the book).  The tone of the book is laid back, like your favorite teacher from high school giving you advice.  While some of the information Orman presents may seem like common sense it's always nice to have a refresher!

I must say that the chapter explaining a Roth IRA vs. a 401(k) was extremely helpful.  I was clueless to the differences.  Honestly, talking about retirement scares me because it seems like I am way too young to be even thinking about it.

The book also comes with an online Action Planner (each book has a unique login code).  I'll admit, I've owned my copy of this book for over a year and still haven't logged onto the website yet.  But I do love the idea of having a the website supplementing the book!

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke was originally published in 2005 so it is a little dated but overall still provides great financial tips.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Broke & Bookish Book Haul for 10/14 - 10/27

 

Daisy's Book Haul


Bought
-Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver
-Grimm Tales by Philip Pullman, because who can resist such a pretty book filled with fairytales??? I sure can't.
-Mystic City by Theo Lawrence
-The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

For Review
-Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver, Yes I KNOW! I was just so excited when I saw it on NetGalley I forgot I'd pre-ordered it...
-Undeadly by Michele Vail
-There's Something About Lady Mary by Sophie Barnes
-The Secret Life of Lady Lucinda by Sophie Barnes
-One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean, ALL THE EXCITEMENT! I LOVE Sarah MacLean's books!!

Kelly's Book Haul


From the library: As I think I've said before, I'm always a year or two behind on my YA reading, so most of these are oldies, but they are new and exciting to me!

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia
Bossypants by Tina Fey - I ADORE Tina Fey and 30 Rock is basically my 4th favorite television show in existence. I can't wait for this one (even though the cover slightly freaks me out).


Given to me: Daisy was nice enough to send me two books for my birthday earlier this month, for which I was so grateful and excited! I am just waiting to return the favor for her! Bookish altruism is the best sort of giving.
Matched by Ally Condie
Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame - I feel like this book is basically Downton Abbey in book form. Yes please!

In other bookish news, I got a Kindle Fire last week! It was supposed to be a present from my mom when I graduated in May, but we procrastinated a bit. I'm still figuring out how everything works, but I love it so far!


Our Broke & Bookish book haul is inspired by memes like IMM & Stacking the Shelves& Mailbox Monday. This is just our very simple way of doing it collaboratively so we can participate in all of them and not have to choose one.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bookish Deals (7)


Happy Saturday, everyone! Welcome to today's biweekly edition of Bookish Deals where I (Julia) try to scour the internet to find you guys an array of deals to fit in with any budget! I thought I would try to get some Halloweenish deals today since it is the season. Enjoy!




Intervamption by Kristen Miller  - $.99
AZ | BN
Congratulations!

Either one or both of your parents has vampire blood. Welcome to the vampire race!

Please keep a few things in mind as you ease into the most difficult phase of your life:

1. Light sensitivity, humming teeth, and stomach pains are completely normal. You’ll also be faster, stronger, and sexy as hell (if you’re lucky).

2. You’ll bloodlust and go crazy if you deny your body’s urge for blood. Why fight it?

3. Do not pierce the skin of a mundane involuntarily. We’re not animals and will not behave as such.

4. Therians, our shapeshifting brethren, cannot be trusted. Their loyalties shift as often as their identities.
And finally,

5. Lighten up—you’re not dead.

Contact Dylan, owner of ReVamp, in Crimson Bay, California, for more information.




Blood and Bullets by James R. Tuck - $2.99
AZ | BN
He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities help him take out any kind of supernatural threat. But now an immortal evil has this bad-ass bounty hunter dead in its sights. . .

Ever since a monster murdered his family, Deacon Chalk hunts any creature that preys on the innocent. So when a pretty vampire girl "hires" him to eliminate a fellow slayer, Deacon goes to warn him--and barely escapes a vampire ambush. Now he's got a way-inexperienced newbie hunter to protect and everything from bloodsuckers to cursed immortals on his trail. There's also a malevolent force controlling the living and the undead, hellbent on turning Deacon's greatest loss into the one weapon that could destroy him. . .




The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore - $2.99
AZ | BN
Endore’s classic werewolf novel—now back in print for the first time in over forty years—helped define a genre and set a new standard in horror fiction

The werewolf is one of the great iconic figures of horror in folklore, legend, film, and literature. And connoisseurs of horror fiction know that The Werewolf of Paris is a cornerstone work, a masterpiece of the genre that deservedly ranks with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Endore’s classic novel has not only withstood the test of time since it was first published in 1933, but it boldly used and portrayed elements of sexual compulsion in ways that had never been seen before, at least not in horror literature. In this gripping work of historical fiction, Endore’s werewolf, an outcast named Bertrand Caillet, travels across late 19th Century France seeking to calm the beast within. Stunning in its sexual frankness and eerie, fog-enshrouded visions, this novel was decidedly influential for the generations of horror and science fiction authors who came afterward.


Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin - $2.99
AZ | BN
The classic novel of spellbinding suspense, where evil wears the most innocent face of all

Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castevet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary’s reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing her husband takes a special shine to them.Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant, and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castevets’ circle is not what it seems…

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jamie's Review Of Send Me A Sign by Tiffany Schmidt

Book/Author: Send Me A Sign By Tiffany Schmidt
Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury 2012
How I Received It: Was provided by the publisher for review via NetGalley

Summary:
Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death..

Just reading the description alone I felt this was going to be an emotionally tough book I'd have to brace myself for. A girl finds out she has cancer? Devastating! Trying to bottle up that secret and keep it to yourself? So incredibly sad and a possible ticking time bomb waiting to explode! I was prepared. Tissues and all! I will say that I didn't need the tissues and I'll tell you why below!

I truly enjoyed this novel despite some times I just was exasperated by it! I didn't mean to lay in bed all day and read it but it just happened. Whatcha going to do? Laundry & dishes be damned! I just was so absorbed in this story, frustrations and all, -- her journey with accepting her situation, when she was going to tell her friends, how her friends were going to take it if she told them, the whole situation with her & Gyver and ultimately what was going to happen with her life after this diagnosis. It was all written in a way that you found yourself just flipping page after page because you just need to know what happens!

I LOVED Gyver. So much. Talk about a swoonworthy guy! I rooted for Mia and Gyver so hard. It just made me do all sorts of hands to my chest swoony sighs and "Awwws."

I do think, and have chatted about it with others who have read this, that I wished that mayyybe Mia didn't rely on Gyver SO much. I mean, I get their relationship, but this is where I just wanted to jump in the book and talk to Mia about some things. About how she really needs her girl friends. And how she's going through a hard time and relying on ONE single boy could be disastrous. I kind of wanted Mia to stop focusing on the boys so much (though I know it made her feel so normal) and fight for herself and find some strength within. But at the same time, as soon as I put myself in her shoes and how it must feel to go through this -- I tried to cut her some slack. I remember how my mom hated telling people about her cancer because everyone starts treating you differently in their own various ways. Some want to smother you, some don't know what to say and they just act awkward, etc. But not going to lie, it was hard to stomach how she dealt with it.

I'm going to WARN you that you are going to battle with Mia in your mind because sometimes she is just so DARN SELFISH and made her life so much more complicated! You are going to want to yell at her. I did. She's not really that sympathetic. Which I thought that was kind of interesting because you feel so torn because you are supposed to feel bad for her in a way. That little debate in my head was kind of interesting because I know how much my mom just wanted to not be treated all fragile like BECAUSE she had cancer. So the fact I was making excuses for her just made me have a very interesting dialogue in my head.

Send Me A Sign was one of those books that pulled and tugged at your heart but not in the punch-you-in-the-gut-way that some "cancer books" might. It seemed a bit more subtle perhaps because of the way Mia was dealing it and how she seemed more focused on the boys in her life. It seemed almost at a distance in some places because of her approach to dealing with it. But then came those moments where your heart just radiated from the hurt and the heaviness. Just in the right places.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reading Goal Progress with Paula!

Hey everyone! So I made pretty much this exact same post last year. But the facts are this: It's nearing the end of October. Reading Goals are looming. And I'm just as curious about your progress this year as I was last year!

Here are my personal challenges of this year and their status report:

-Read 45 books: Currently reading book 38. Which according to Goodreads is 1 book ahead!
-Read 18,000 pages: Currently at 14,800 which is right on target
-Read 5 books from shelf before buying new ones: Completed in February yayy!
-Read more Discworld novels: .... err haven't yet...
-Participate in Goodreads Challenge: Completed this summer!
-Read a Charles Dickens novel: Haven't yet... there's always A Christmas Carol!
-Start A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones): Completed in May. I've currently read up to book 3.

So I think I'm doing pretty okay so far this year. Definitely better than I was last year!
How about you all? What are your personal reading challenges/goals this year? Have you gotten through them or is it crunch time?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Top Ten Books to Get into the Halloween Spirit

Top Ten Books to Get in the Halloween Spirit

Hello, Readers! Today we bring you a collaborative post featuring a few of our more spooky stories to get us all in the mindset for Halloween! I asked the contributors of our blog to give me the stories and books they have read that remind them the most of Halloween. Here are our answers!

(For future Top Ten Tuesday, check out our Top Ten Tuesday page)



Jana's Pick

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

This book was SO spooky! A group of kids stranded on an island all alone in the middle of a torrential downpour, and one of them starts killing everyone else. There were tense moments and suspense and mystery. I had to read this in bright lights, with my sister next to me doing her homework. Scary, but good! This is my kind of scary. I can handle murder, but not the supernatural!




Jen's Pick

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

Growing up I'd read this book with my grandparents during the week of Halloween.  A fun tradition!  It was the perfect book for my younger self because I did not like the super scary things associated with Halloween (I'm a proud scaredy-cat).  Taking a trip through time and seeing how other cultures celebrate Halloween?  Sounds good to me!  I am long overdue for a reread, hopefully I'll be able to find my copy of the book!




Tahleen's Pick

The Diviners by Libba Bray

I'm almost finished with this one, but it's a perfect pick for the Halloween season. It's super creepy, plus for all of you who like to dress up as flappers for Halloween, you'll get some awesome descriptions of '20s dress since it takes place in NYC during the Roaring Twenties. Here's a brief synopsis: Evie is sent to New York City when she puts the reputation of her town's golden boy on the line through a trick she can do—reading secrets from objects. She's thrilled to get out of her hometown in Ohio and into the excitement of the city that never sleeps, but when she finds herself helping to investigate a series of grisly murders, her gift might be the key to saving humanity from an evil too large to comprehend. I am excited to see how this one wraps up—it's certainly been hard to put down!


Jamie's Pick
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Definition of a mindf*ck. One of those books that you'll start feeling crazy reading. Take breaks.









Jamie's Pick



Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
ZOMBIES!!! What says Halloween like a post-apocalyptic zombie story?!









Bridget's Pick

It by Stephen King

What better story to read to get yourself ready for Halloween than a story about a clown-that's-not-a-clown and the kids who are drawn together to defeat the monster? Shoot, this is not only one of my favorite SK books, but one of my favorite books of all time. And he's just been on my mind lately since I just got tickets to go see him in person in December!! :D




Julia's Pick

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

Back in the days of yore I saw a Disney cartoon based on this book and it freaked me the hell out. Years later I read the short story and it freaked me out just as much as the cartoon. Whenever I think of Halloween to this day I think of this book/story as well as some others...






Julia's Pick

Goosebumps by R.L. Stein

In grade school, there were two scary T.V. shows that I watched on a regular basis despite not liking getting scared. One was Are You Afraid of the Dark and the other was Goosebumps. Watching the mask episodes led me to pick up some of the book series. I didn't get very far in them because of the aforementioned not liking being scared, and The Haunted Mask is still terrifying to my mind, and thus Halloween.



Julia's Pick

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This books seriously creeped me out. I remember getting so caught up and actually thinking that I may not be able to finish the book because it was freaking me out so much! You know that it is a good creepy book when they have made multiple movies based on it!






Julia's Pick

The Strange Case Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

I loved this musical and I love the source material that it is based on. The idea of self experimentation and in and of this creating a monster is so trippy. Then the psychological aspects of that complete opposite person living inside us the whole  time also creeps me out.



All right! Hit us up with your spookiest list! And have a Happy Hollow's Eve!



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Daisy Discusses DNF-ing

When you google DNF, you get a lot of pictures of Duke Nukem Forever (which I knew nothing about until about 2 minutes ago), but in the blogopshere it's short for 'did not finish'.

I used to ALWAYS finish a book I started even if I hated it and it was 1000 pages, I would stick with it. And I'd have a horrible time of it usually. Or it would take off after a while and I'd be happy I'd given it another chance.

These days, I just don't have the time to read books I dislike. It sounds kinda harsh, but I have to figure out how to squeeze reading time into my busy schedule and when I'm not enjoying a book, I don't want to waste that precious time on it.
And thus I've learned to DNF.

I don't like it, it goes against all my instincts, but sometimes finishing a book is just not worth it if I'm not into it. I like to think that I always give them a fair chance, and I'll read 50-100 pages of it before I decide whether or not to put it down.

Sometimes the story's just not grabbing me, other times I want to tear the book apart in frustration. But mostly it comes down to this: I'm not enjoying the book and I'd rather read any of the hundreds of other books that I've got on my TBR list.

As a blogger, I read a lot of books for review and I kinda panicked when I first felt the urge to DNF a review book. I mean, what do you do then? Do you still review them? Rate them on Goodreads/Amazon/anywhere else?

I think there is no perfect solution for this, but here's what I do: I don't review them, but I do rate them on Goodreads. I feel that even though I've only read 50-100 pages of the book, if I disliked it enough that I actually wanted to stop reading it, it says something as well.

So what about you? Do you DNF books? Feel this crippling sensation of guilt because you're putting it down before it's finished? Or a sense of unfulfilment because now you won't know how it'll all end? Do you write a review? Tell me!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Julia Reviews Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible


Title/Author: Tim Gunn's Fashion Bible: The Fascinating History of Everything in Your Closet by Tim Gunn
Publisher/Year Published:  September 2012 by Gallery Books
How I got this book: The Library
Why I read this book: I LOVE Tim Gunn's books. I love history and random facts. This book is facinating!
Rating: 4 stars
Summary via Goodreads
In the beginning there was the fig leaf... and the toga. Crinolines and ruffs. Chain mail and corsets. What do these antiquated items have to do with the oh-so-twenty-first-century skinny jeans, graphic tee, and sexy pumps you slipped into this morning? Everything! Fashion begets fashion, and life—from economics to politics, weather to warfare, practicality to the utterly impractical—is reflected in the styles of any given era, evolving into the threads you buy and wear today.

With the candidness, intelligence, and charm that made him a household name on Project Runway, Tim Gunn reveals the fascinating story behind each article of clothing dating back to ancient times, in a book that reads like a walking tour from museum to closet with Tim at your side. From Cleopatra’s crown to Helen of Troy’s sandals, from Queen Victoria’s corset to Madonna’s cone bra, Dynasty’s power suits to Hillary Clinton’s pantsuits, Tim Gunn’s Fashion Bible takes you on a runway-ready journey through the highs and lows of fashion history.

Drawing from his exhaustive knowledge and intensive research to offer cutting-edge insights into modern style, Tim explains how the 1960s ruined American underwear, how Beau Brummell created the look men have worn for more than a century, why cargo capri pants are a plague on our nation, and much more. He will make you see your wardrobe in a whole new way. Prepare to be inspired as you change your thinking about the past, present, and future of fashion!

I seriously love Tim Gunn's voice as a writer... and as a person too I guess. But I digress before I've even started. I've read two of Gunn's books in the past and have enjoyed both immensely  so when I heard that there was another coming out, I immediately was on the waiting list. I was even more excited when it was about the history of clothes. How often does that topic come up? Not very, but I have pondered the history of fashion and how it evolves passingly on occasion. Especially when reading historical novels. I've often found myself thinking "Wow. How have we come from a time when women's skirts couldn't even fit through doors (hence architecture adjusted) to the jegging?" And you know, Tim Gunn has pondered the same.

Each chapter is a different article of clothing, starting with the under wear and going from there. Some are relatively brief (like the underwear chapter... pun intended) and other are quite long (like the chapter on dresses). Gunn goes into detail on how the trend started, if we have that knowledge, and how it has evolved today. The text is never too dry or too fashiony that I don't understand what is going on (trust me. I am no queen of fashion). Gunn has a great way of taking these historical and modern facts and making them endlessly enjoyable. It is easy to get caught up in the genesis of the jean!

If you like facts and historical jaunts down into places that may have never really crossed your mind, I recommend this book. I think it would make a great coffee table book! It is really easy to pick up, put down for a while, and then jump right back into!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bridget Reviews Kiss The Girls by James Patterson


Title/Author: Kiss The Girls by James Patterson
Publisher/Year Published: Little, Brown and Company, 1995
How I got this book: Bought it at the library!
Why I read this book: I’d never read anything by James Patterson before and thought I’d try.
Rating: 2 stars

So I happened to be at a library a few weeks ago—I say “a” library rather than “the” library because I wasn’t in my local library—and I saw a cart of paperbacks with a sign that said “25 cents each.” Of course I couldn’t help but look (who could resist getting a book for a freaking quarter??). Most of the books looked to be trashy romance novels and super-corny chick lit, neither of which I’m into, but Kiss The Girls by James Patterson caught my eye (my dad likes the movie) so I bought it. I didn’t realize at the time that I was jumping into the second book of a long series about a detective/psychologist, but it ended up not being a huge deal.

Anyway, the premise is this: Naomi Cross, the niece of Alex Cross (the aforementioned detective/psychologist), has gone missing. It comes to light that she is probably the victim of Casanova, a serial kidnapper/rapist/murderer who has been working the Research Triangle in North Carolina. Simultaneously, another serial kidnapper/rapist/murderer who styles himself “The Gentleman Caller” is working his way through the West Coast—and seems to be in cahoots with Casanova.

So before I rip this book to shreds, let me give credit where credit is due: the basic story was good, and I can see why my dad would like the movie. I will also allow that I was kept guessing up until the very end about who Casanova was, and I still turned out to be ultimately wrong, so good on you, Mr. Patterson, for not giving up the goods too easily.

But oh my GOD, Alex Cross was a whiny bitch.

Okay, whiny bitch might be the wrong words. Maybe angsty bitch would be better. But his voice (this was written in first person from Alex’s point of view) was so freaking annoying. Some of it comes down to James Patterson’s writing style, no doubt, which was also horrible. He sure does love using italics, and not always in the most appropriate situations. The result was that Alex Cross came across as kind of self-righteous and overly earnest. And the good basic storyline was obscured by terrible prose—the kind of terrible prose that really makes me wonder how in the world James Patterson manages to sell millions upon millions of books every year.

Something else that really bothered me was how flat the characters were. No one underwent any significant—or even insignificant—changes throughout the entire book. All Alex could think about the majority of the time was Naomi or his kids, and definitely had something of a savior complex going on. Sampson, Alex’s colleague and friend, is perpetually snarky despite the harrowing situations they find themselves in. Kate McTiernan was probably the least realistic character of the bunch, the impossibly beautiful, incredibly intelligent and talented doctor who overcame her tragic past and blah blah blah. 

Basically, this was a really fluffy book that I only continued to read because I was grudgingly interested in finding out who Casanova was. So James Patterson can create suspense, but definitely not much else.

Rating: 2 stars 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Cocktail & Conversation - Travel Bucket List!

 Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is going to be A Cocktail & Conversation time. We'll pose a question to 2-3 members of TB&TB crew about books, life, music, etc and then they'll answer and we can converse about it. So grab a cocktail & cozy up for some conversation. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, friends. 

Question: Name two places on your travel "bucket list" and why?

Julia says: As a historical romance devourer, it has been on my to do list for years to go to London and the United Kingdom. I have the pictures in my head of how everything is and would love to see what it looks like now. I want to stroll in Hyde Park, tour the Tower of London, go out into the country side. Oh, man could I make itineraries! From there I would hop around Europe and see all the awesome castles scattered about in France and Germany to live up my inner princess.

Second, (because that is all one trip. Give me this one guys...) is Russia. I have not mapped out the exact itinerary or anything but I just felt called to this country for as long as I can remember. I gravitate to Russian literature and books set in Russia. Have you ever felt that way about a place? That is how I feel about Russia. I would think I would want to go to St. Petersburg and/or Moscow. Maybe take the Transiberian Train... definitely a bucket list item!


Lori says:  I want to go on a Hemingway Drinking Tour through Italy, France, and Spain.  This is because I am a huge Hemingway fan and I actually wanted to go to France and Italy before I became a Hemingway fan.  I've about got Zach talked into this (I have him talked into Italy already) for our eventual honeymoon, but I probably can't talk him into following a reading list about the places we'd be going.  But you can bet I'll be reading the correct novels.  Let's see, we'd go see the sights and cities that you'd expect--the Vatican, the Louvre, Tuscany, Provence, Madrid--plus hopefully a few off the beaten path.  My ideal situation would be to buy a ticket over and a return ticket and have no other plans--we'd go where we wanted when we wanted and worry about finding a hotel once we got there.  Plus I plan to eat my weight in pasta in Italy and drink my weight in wine all over.  Paradise in my opinion.

What about the rest of you? What are some places on your travel bucket list??

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tahleen takes a literary trip to Hawaii


Ever since my honeymoon, I've been kind of obsessed with reading books set in the beautiful islands of Hawaii. I've read fiction and nonfiction, adult books and children's literature. Anything that takes me back to that place and its people and culture. I've found a good number of books that are not only set there, but are also great reads. Or movies.

Me, on a catamaran tour of the Napali Coast of Kaua'i
The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings


I watched the movie before reading the book, and I have to say I did enjoy the former better than the latter. Though I must say, never have I seen a movie that lifted so much of the dialogue right out of the book it's based on. Both are good.

The Descendants the movie


The movie is much richer visually, for obvious reasons, and thus gives a much stronger sense of place. It also developed the land issue that Matt King must figure out (he is the head of a trust that owns a huge piece of land on the island of Kaua'i and must decide whether to sell or not). I just think the visual medium is a better way to tell this story, and I like the characters better in the way they are portrayed here.

The Calvin Coconut series by Graham Salisbury

 

I love this series, which is aimed at children ages 7-10. It is set on Oahu, and follows the life of 4th-grader Calvin Coconut (yes, it's his real name; his dad is a famous singer who legally changed their name to Coconut before leaving them). I love that the stories are things that aren't about Hawaiian "issues," they are just about Calving getting into trouble or situations and trying to solve them on his own. And yet the Hawaiian culture is such a part of everything regardless, it doesn't need to be explained to readers who might not be familiar with it. And that might be the thing I love the most about this series.

Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport


This rich and poignant novel tells the story of Hawaii's history over the course of the lives of seven generations of women. It's a long book, but well worth it—it taught me about the lives of the people of Hawaii during America's seizure of its lands, its annexation, the leprosy plague, and in the late 20th century. It is eye opening and beautiful.

Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell


This is a fantastic nonfiction book about Hawaii's history and culture. I listened to this on audio, and Vowell was great, though she did take a little getting used to.

And now I'm going to leave you with a few pictures from when I was in Hawaii.

At Waimea Canyon

Tunnels Beach
Waipi'o Valley
Do you have any places you like to visit in books?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kelly's Top Ten Favorite Authors in X Genre





Future TTTs can be found here


Top 10 Favorite Authors In X Genre

This week's Top Ten Tuesday lets you choose your favorite authors in a specific genre, be it sci-fi, romance, nonfiction....anything that strikes your fancy! This should be VERY easy! I have divided my ten picks between my two favorite genres: historical fiction and fantasy. I realize that these two practically opposite genres, but I love reading about worlds I will never know. Also, they have some of the prettiest covers!


Historical fiction:
  1. Margaret George - she's written some mammoth books about some excellent historical figures such as Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Cleopatra, and Helen of Troy. Even if you are not into historical fiction, she's highly recommended (if you can handle the 10 pound books!). 
  2. Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt - Jean Plaidy (also known by a dozen other names) has written literally hundreds of historical fiction books and they are all amazing. Her book about Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard are what really got me into the genre a few years ago.
  3. Susan Holloway Scott - her books are mainly set in 17th century England, but her style is very personal and, well, romantic. She brings the good out in sometimes unsullied historical figures. I am also slightly biased because my first ever signed book came from her!
  4. Alison Weir - one of the BEST writers in the HF genre. She is the author of a book that is probably in my top 5 all-time favorites, Innocent Traitor. Best of all, she is very factually accurate.
  5. Anya Seton - my favorite part of Anya Seton's work is the interesting and untypical worlds she chooses to place her stories, whether it be 10th century Greenland with Leif Erickson or 17th century Massachusetts with the Winthrops.
Fantasy
  1. JRR Tolkien - aka the KING of fantasy, undisputed.
  2. JK Rowling - DUH. This is a given, isn't it?
  3. Cassandra Clare - my favorite part of her books are how wonderfully she brings to life a myriad of mythical creatures. It was her books that really made me appreciate the fantasy genre like I never had before (minus Harry Potter, of course!) 
  4. George RR Martin - sometimes you forget that Martin writes fantasy books...his main theme seem to simply be humanity. But then suddenly a dragon or a fire priestess pops up to remind you of the truth again.
  5. Maggie Stiefvater - because of her books, I've actually come to like werewolves, which I never had before (except, you guessed it, in Harry Potter. Harry is always the exception. Always).



Monday, October 15, 2012

Lori Talks About Her Favorite Book

This is a post that I've altered a bit from my own blog.  After my lack of success with Saturday's Readathon, I don't have a review to write.  So I thought I'd share some thoughts about my favorite book:  Gone With the Wind.  I'm sharing this in the hopes of hearing what other people have to say about their favorite novels, not in the expectation that other people will share my feelings towards this particular novel.


Lately, I've been agonizing about what book to read.  I've started several that seemed promising, but they just didn't stick.  They just didn't grab me in the way I was wanting a book to grab me.  So I was very surprised when the answer to this conundrum attacked me one night in the shower about a week ago.  In a very Field of Dreams kind of moment, it dawned on me--I should return to my roots, I *need* to reread Gone With the Wind.  So simple.  "Duh, Lori. Duh" was my response.

I started reading it as soon as I was able.  I turned on the fan so that I'd have to pull up my quilt.  I read the preface written by Pat Conroy.  As soon as I started reading the preface, I felt a compulsion that I hadn't felt before.  I was happier in my reading life than I have been in a long time.  I knew that my new, albeit temporary, motto would become "If I get this (homework, errands, sleep) out of the way, then I *get* to read Gone With the Wind!"  I actually bragged to one of my best friends about it.  Not because I have the time to read for pleasure and she doesn't because I don't really exactly have the time to be reading so much.  But because *I* get to read this amazing novel right now.


My first experience with Gone With the Wind was in the 7th grade.  It was Christmas.  I saw that Gone With the Wind, this movie that I had heard about from somewhere (I honestly don't know where because I hadn't gotten into old movies yet, but somehow I *knew* it was *The* movie to watch), was on TCM.  For whatever reason, I decided to read the screenplay as we watched the movie.  I couldn't really explain why I wanted to read the screenplay as I watched the movie, but it was like I knew how much this story would affect me.  So that's what happened.  We watched the movie, I read the screenplay, and I was hooked.


Maybe that same day, maybe another visit to my grandparents', I found a copy of the novel upstairs.  This amazing movie was also a novel?!  I took it.  I didn't know how famous this book was.  In my 13 year-old mind, it was a lost book that nobody paid much attention to.  I felt like I was discovering something amazing that people had forgotten.  I remember feeling a little bewildered when I realized how many people knew and loved my book because Gone With the Wind had become my book.  It wasn't that I was selfishly trying to hold onto it.  I was willing to share.  But I wanted to share it with people, to turn them onto this amazing little secret that I had.


I read the book.  I inhaled the book.  I absorbed the book.  I probably even displayed poor manners and outright devoured the book.


But I read it again and again.  Ten times total from the 7th grade until I graduated high school.  


It's one of those books that resonates more with some people than others.  I believe that it resonates more with Southerners because it's telling our story.  Your heart swells with pride, hope, and acceptance as you turn the pages.  You nod your head in complete understanding as the plot progresses.  You laugh and cry as the passages dictate.


From the time that I was 13 years-old, I adopted Scarlett as my role model.  She may not have always done the most upright thing.  But she did what she had to do to survive.  She was strong.  She was beautiful.  She was really pretty smart.  She had the personality that I always wanted.  She had Rhett Butler, that symbol of earthy manliness that my exes never really lived up to, but against whom they were always measured.


And for the last 11 years, she has been there.  Sometimes at the back of my mind.  Sometimes at the front.  I've said ever since that first time that this is my favorite novel.  Then why haven't I read it in six years?  I really can't explain that.  Maybe I took all I could take from it as a teenager and had to change enough to be able to take more from it.


I am ready to again devour Gone With the Wind.  I want to will myself into reading it more slowly this time, to let it soak in again, to get lost in the beauty of Mitchell's magic and not just get lost in Scarlett (although, I know that I will do this too).  Some of the lessons I still remember and follow (sometimes you have to be a little bold to get by), others I remember and quietly ignore (not leaning on my elbows because it makes them ugly), and others I've downright forgotten.  But this, this is the book that I want living in me.  Pat Conroy describes in his preface how his mother lived this book.  I used to live it too, but I lost it somewhere along the way.


I'm ready to pick it back up now and carry it with me.



Do any of you have a favorite book that resonates with you so deeply?  Do you reread it often or do you just savor the last time you read it?  Tell me about it.  I'd love to hear.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Broke & Bookish Book Haul for 9/30 - 10/13

Jamie's Book Haul

For Review:


Won

Daisy's Book Haul


Bought
-Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson
-The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling (Yes I caved, it was on sale...)
-Defiance by C.J. Redwine
-Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink

For Review
-Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder (SO EXCITED!! LOVED THE FIRST BOOK!)
-Snow Whyte and the Queen of Mayhem by Melissa Lemon
-The Merlin Prophecy, Book 1: Battle of Kings by M.K. Hume



Lori's Book Haul

I bought a few books this week, which I really ought not have done, but I just couldn't help myself!
I bought another copy of Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  While searching for it, I found an unabridged copy of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and pounced.  This morning I ordered Where's Mom Now That I Need Her by Betty Rae Frandsen (this is the author name that Amazon gives; Goodreads says that the author is Kathryn J. Frandsen).  This afternoon Zach and I are taking a day trip and I'll be buying The Secret History by Donna Tartt and You Can't Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe.  I'm definitely looking forward to reading all of these at some point in my life.




Our Broke & Bookish book haul is inspired by memes like IMM & Stacking the Shelves& Mailbox Monday. This is just our very simple way of doing it collaboratively so we can participate in all of them and not have to choose one.

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