Friday, November 30, 2012

Jen Reviews What Happened to Goodbye

Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: May 2011, Penguin
How I Got It: Library
Rating: 4 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
Since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move- four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother's new family, Mclean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, Mclean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Jen's Thoughts:

It only took a year and a half but I finally read the most recent Sarah Dessen book!  Seriously though, why do I procrastinate with things so much?

But this was another Dessen book that sucked me in right away.  I was intrigued with Mclean's different "identities" in each new town she was in.  She got to start over four different times in a two year period.  Sometimes I would love to have a fresh start all over again.  While college was a new beginning, I was still painfully shy.  But Mclean puts herself out there, usually always getting involved in school activities.  She makes new friends but always keep them at a distance, never getting too close so there are never any goodbyes.

I usually LOVE the "love-interest boys" in Dessen's books.  But Dave was just kind of meh.  He was boring and didn't stand out to me in any way.  There was no swoon factor!

One of the secondary characters, Deb, is probably one of my favorite minor characters ever.  She is one of those characters who remind you that you "shouldn't judge a book by it's cover".  When she is first introduced in the book she is over-the-top peppy and outgoing.  She seems like the type of girl who is friends with everybody.  Sadly, Mclean sees her eating lunch all alone everyday because the kids at school think she's too pushy.  But once we get to know Deb there is a lot more beneath the surface. 

I am SO mad at myself that I didn't realize it until after I returned the book to the library but Jason from The Truth About Forever makes an appearance.  Actually, if I remember correctly he is mentioned a few different times.

As a whole I did enjoy What Happened to Goodbye.  Was it my favorite Sarah Dessen book?  No.  But I don't think any of her books will live up to The Truth About Forever or This Lullaby for me.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Cocktail & Conversation - 11/29



 Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is  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: NaNoWrMo is coming to an end! If you could write a book, what genre do you think you would write in? Are any of you actually writing?



 Jamie says: I've always said I was just a reader but lately I keep having two stories swirl in my head. I don't know what I'll do with them -- if anything  -- but this has never happened before. I don't REALLY think I have what it takes to write a book but I can't deny how strongly these  stories are.  One is a contemporary YA book and the other is more a YA science fiction-y type of book. Who knows if I'll write them but those are what I'd write!




Paula says: I think if I ever wrote a story it would be in the same genres I read. So probably something involving science fiction. It would probably be something really campy and over the top. I used to write all kinds of stories when I was really young. My mom has old notebooks of mine from elementary and middle school where I went crazy with world inventing. But somewhere around high school I got really self conscious about it all and stopped. Which is a shame really. But what can you do. 







Lori says:
 I think if I ever wrote a novel, I would want it to be classified as literary fiction.  I typically read the classics, which you don't just write.  Books eventually become classics after people decide they're the classics.  So, my best chance would be to write literary fiction that has a debt to the classics I've read and favorite authors of mine.  Hopefully my second novel would be a bit more original and would eventually make it to classics status.  I dream.  :-(


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Books Daisy's Pining for in 2013!


2013 is almost upon us and this particular Top Ten Tuesday is about all those books you are anticipating being released in 2013 that you just can't wait to get your hands on! I just keep adding them to my TBR list and am already trying to budgetize some into my spending plan (or who am I kidding, there is no spending plan, just spending).
So without further ado: the Top Ten books I'm most pining for to be released in 2013!

The Debuts


Taken by Erin Bowman: because a world wherein men dissapear when they turn 18 sounds endlessly fascinating! Also, I love the cover!

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley: it sounds SO CREEPY!

Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson: Bluebeard retold! I was SO scared of this particular fairytale when I was a kid, I didn't sleep for DAYS after my mom read it to me...

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans: because it sounds fabulous and Lenore is an awesome person and I've heard REALLY good things about it already! Afterlife struggles, YES!

The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell: because I love both Tamora Pierce and George R.R. Martin and it's pitched as a combination of these two amazing writers! Also, I'm down for any epic fantasy.

Dualed by Elsie Chapman: because I can think of nothing scarier and twisted than having a genetic alternate and having to kill said alternate to stay alive yourself.

The Daisy Needs Her Romance Fix


Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins: EEE! It finally has a release date!! I LOVED Anna and the French Kiss and I'm betting this one will be on a lot of lists ;)

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean: because I LOVE Sarah MacLean's historical romances!! And because I already know the main character, Pippa, is going to be awesome!

The Cute Contemporary


Going Vintage by Lindsay Leavitt: because I absolutely LOVED her Princess for Hire series and this one sounds really cute as well and the cover is something I need on my shelves!

The EEE! New Series!


Mind Games by Kiersten White: because it's a psychological thriller and it sounds creepy and it has two sisters in it! And the cover is gorgeous!

The Archived by Victoria Schwab: because I loved The Near Witch and "Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books." YES!

And because you didn't really think I could actually manage to keep it to 20, I'm having a shadow list with all the sequels I'm pining for on my personal blog Between the Pages.

Now tell me what's on your list and what I should add to my TBR list besides these ones!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 11/11 - 11/24

 

Jen's Book Haul


from the library:

Paid off my overdue book fee (a whopping $1.40 fine).  I can borrow books from the library again!

Before the library closed for Thanksgiving weekend I picked up:

- What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
- Bossypants by Tina Fey
- The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
- The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

 

Daisy's Book Haul


Bought
-Winterling by Sarah Prineas
-Black City by Elizabeth Richards: I've heard really good and slightly less good things about this and am excited to try it myself :)
-Torn by Cat Clarke
-Everneath by Brodi Ashton: I LOVED this book when I read it last year!! I just needed my own shiny copy. Can't wait for Everbound!

For Review
-The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter: YAYYYY!! You better believe I squealed when I saw this on NetGalley! The cliffhanger ending of Goddess Interrupted nearly killed me!
-The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella
-Moonset by Scott Tracey
-Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep: I really liked the first three books in this series! Yay mythology!
-Unremembered by Jessica Brody: sounds CREEPY! :)
-The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne by Jayne Fresina
-Lady Eve's Indiscretion by Grace Burrowes: Where would I be without my lovely historical romances? :)
-Thorn Abbey by Nancy Ohlin
-Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt: I love Lauren Barnholdt's books! This one sounds SO good!
-The Cadet of Tildor by Alex Lidell: Described as Tamora Pierce meets George R.R. Martin, COUNT ME IN!!!
-The Obsidian Mirror by Catherine Fisher
-Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell: an overlooked period of history?? YES PLEASE!

Kelly's Book Haul

From the library:
Beastly by Alex Flinn
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen
Girl, Stolen by April Henry

Also, I get to pick up Going Bovine by Libba Bray,  Looking for Alaska by John Green, and Where She Went by Gayle Forman tomorrow! It's going to be one big YA party! 

Bridget's Book Haul


From my Birthday Wishlist

-The Long Walk by Stephen King.
-Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
-The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
-Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
-Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence


-A Dance with Jane Austen by Susannah Fullerton. My boyfriend's parents sent me this one since I love Jane Austen and I love to dance. They love sending us non-fiction Jane Austen stuff...I'm actually curious how many more books of this stripe they'll be able to find.
-Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I bought this for myself on my birthday because I forgot to put it on my list. I finished it the other day and it was magnificent.


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, November 24, 2012

Bookish Deals (9)


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 hope everyone in the US had a wonderful Thanksgiving and survived any Black Friday shopping. Since this weekend is still the peak of early holiday sales, I've decided to switch this post up a bit and instead of highlighting specific books, I am going to gather the sales going on today from all the bookstores I can think of. I will probably miss some, so if you know of a sale that is too good to pass up, let us know in the comments!

Barnes and Noble has a Black Friday promotion that was extended to today only. 50% off select Kids & Teen and select Adult books. PLUS they have a coupon good in store and online for 30% off one item. Sadly digital content is excluded from the coupon. They have other non-book related sales that are all listed on their front page.

Amazon's book related Black Friday weeks sales are 40% off the 'Best Books of the Year'. That link is to the massive list by on the main book page they classify them out into genres. Nothing that I can see indicates how long this sale will continue.

Books-a-Million has a link to one sale online that is 50% off selected items. Nothing about how long the sale lasts.

Half Price Books, the store which does me in, has their Black Friday coupon extended through Sunday.  15% off your entire purchase or $15 off your $50 purchase. Check out store locations near you.

Sony Reader Store has 35% off select titles this weekend only using code NOVEMBER35.


Good luck this holiday season buying all the gifts you might need! Stay safe as the snow starts to fall :)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book tour: "The Gilded Lily" by Deborah Swift + giveaway

"England, 1660. Ella Appleby believes she  is destined for better things than slaving as a housemaid and dodging the blows of  her drunken father. When her employer dies suddenly, she seizes her chance--taking his valuables and fleeing the countryside with her sister for the golden prospects of London. But London may not be the promised land she expects.  Work is hard to find, until Ella takes up with a dashing and dubious gentleman with ties to the London underworld. Meanwhile, her old employer's twin brother is in hot pursuit of the sisters.
Set in a London of atmospheric coffee houses, gilded mansions, and shady pawnshops hidden from rich men’s view, Deborah Swift's The Gilded Lily is a dazzling novel of historical adventure." (from goodreads)



Hosted by Historical Fiction Book Tours
Twitter hashtag: #GildedLilyVirtualTour
Publication date: November 27, 2012

It's always a little awkward reviewing a book which you don't completely trust your feelings about. A part of me loved The Gilded Lily. Another part of me hated it. The parts I loved were Sadie and Dennis, two very  kind, and misunderstood kids fighting to survive. These two are literally the only two likable characters that you will root for, maybe excepting one girl that Sadie works with, the only girl who shows her kindness. I loved the time period. England in the mid-1600s was a pretty odd place. The government and its people were unstable from civil war and an odd mix of the filthy rich and dirt poor - we see both extremes in this book. It was interesting reading about the harsh working conditions/options for girls in this time period.

I did NOT like Ella. Or Jay (the "dashing and dubious gentleman" described above). Or any of Jay's friends. Or his father. Or Ella and Sadie's boss. Everyone was sinister, a murderer, two-faced, or just a plain jerk.  I've never really read a book that contained so many characters I disliked. I also spent a majority of the time just waiting on something, ANYTHING, to happen. What you read in the summary is basically what more than three-quarters of the book was actually about. I don't like reading 200 pages of a book and still questioning what the actual plot is. FINALLY, we get some action and a climax at the end of the book....but it's really dark and a little terrifying.

I came away from The Gilded Lily feeling really depressed. You can practically feel the dreariness of London upon you as you read. Ella's horribleness rubs you the wrong way. The rank living conditions make you feel unclean. Reading about Ella and Sadie's close encounters with the law puts you on edge.The smarminess of Jay and his creepy friends makes you uncomfortable. I must say the the ability to produce this many real emotions shows a great writing ability, and I really did like the writing style and 17th century dialect, but leaving a book feeling used and violated isn't ideal.

Giveaway
Never fear! You have the chance to form your own opinion about The Gilded Lily! I have a review copy for one of you. The giveaway is international and open until the 30th. Enter HERE, good luck!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Paula wishes you all a Happy Turkey Day

At the beginning of October I got a new job. And I love it completely. However there has been one downside to it that is killing me. Here I am on week 4 with the same book. Granted it's A Feast For Crows so it's a long book- but still usually I would be long done with it and at least two others. By the time I get home from work all I want to do is crawl into bed without even glancing at a book. As a result I am now falling behind on my reading goal and will probably be finishing the year out with some graphic novels.

So in a quick post (so I can use my rare day of nothing to do to keep reading) I'll be listing my top 5 graphic novels/comic series. Consider it a mini TTT... but you know... on a different day... or something like that

1. Y: The Last Man by Brian K Vaughan - This was my first dive into things that weren't Mainstream comics and I judge everything I read on a scale from 1 to Y. It also introduced me to Vaughan who has written a majority of my favorite series (Runaways, Ex Machina, and his current story Saga)

2. Scott Pilgrim by Brian Lee O'Malley- The time in my life when I was reading this series weirdly paralleled a lot that happens in the series. So it holds a special place in my heart. And it is just so full of pop culture references and sweet moments and bitter sweet moments. I am so excited that he is now putting out a color edition of all the volumes AND that he has a new graphic novel coming out soon. 

<-- That cover is a on my wall in poster form :D

3. Superman: Red Son by Mark Miller- This is a standalone comic. Oh my gosh it rocked my entire world. The whole premise of it was what if Superman's ship landed in Russia instead of Kansas. It re-imagines a lot of DC mythos and characters. As a result you get this awesome dystopian crazy head trip Superman story.


4. Runaways by Brian K Vaughan- Oh no I already mentioned this series above. Am I allowed to put it on the list? It's a series that follows a group of teenagers who discover that their parents are super villains and who decide it's up to them to stop them. Of course things get out of hand and nothing goes quite right. And they have to decide whether they will be heroes or villains. My favorite part of this series? One of the characters has a psychically linked Velociraptor that protects her. It's like my dream come true. Annnd I love this series so much that I used some issues to make a pair of comic book shoes. Oooers time to show off:

5. The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman- I'm sure all of you have heard of this series now that the TV show has blown up. And although I've called it quits on trying to watch the show. I love this comic series. I love the world he has created and how it's less about "AHH LOOK ZOMBIES" and more about trying to retain what's left of humanity in a world that has torn apart. How sometimes humans who have been driven mad by the apocalypse can be a bigger threat than the zombies themselves. I will always look forward to the new trade of this series being released.




And if anyone has tips for reading on a 40+ hour work week. Throw them my way because I'm desperate here.

Also! Here's a turkey!

 Happy Thanksgiving  everyone. Hope your holiday is filled with joy (and tasty food!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Lori Reviews North of Supposed to Be


Title: North of Supposed to Be
Author: Marcia Ferguson
Published: Franklin Hancock Press 2012
Where I Got It: The author contacted me and asked me to review the book and she sent me a copy.

It's really difficult to summarize this action-packed book without going into too much detail.  This is because of all of the twists and turns the novel takes and all of the colorful and unique characters that Ferguson creates.  The basic premise is that Bronwyn McCall--an orphan with a good, trusting, and generous heart--inherits a vast tract of land, a lot of money, and a retired MI6 agent named Ernest Rose, whom she calls Jeeves.  She sets about creating an impressive compound in Maine, which she populates with a cast of characters in need of a second chance or a bit of luck.  Yet not everything is as idyllic as it seems.  Throughout the novel--which takes readers from the East Coast to the West Coast and across the Atlantic--themes of second chances, loss, loneliness, betrayal, and friendship are explored in a very fast-paced plot.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  Admittedly, I got off to a rough start because there was so much going on, but once I discovered the typical format of a Jeeves novel--that is, the "layers pile up thickly . . . with a character getting into multiple dangerous situations by mid-story" (taken from Wikipedia's article on P.G. Wodehouse)--I was a lot clearer, understood that it was supposed to be so complex, and had smooth sailing.  The plot and the overall narrative pull in several interests of mine and the author's, which include Hollywood, food, and fashion.  Plus a bit of intrigue.  

The best part of the story are the characters Ferguson creates.  Starting with Bronwyn, who seemed at times like she could be a friend of mine and even drifting into me feeling like I could be her, on down to the minor characters, of which there are many.  Jeeves is not your typical Jeeves of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster series.  Rather, this Jeeves has a rich past and is full of mystery.  

Ferguson also has interesting ways to move the plot, which is very important given how many twists and turns the plot takes throughout the novel.  Overall, this novel keeps the reader engaged as they move from one setting and situation to another.  I cannot wait to see what Ferguson comes up with next...

My other thoughts and questions about the book are addressed in the follow interview, which I was able to conduct with the author.  I am so grateful that she was so cooperative.  My questions are in italics.

This is such a unique story with a very action-filled plot, which is a characteristic found in P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves stories (in an early email between us, you mentioned that this was a re-imagined Jeeves, so I figured that Wodehouse's writing played a role in your inspiration; my apologies if I'm wrong).  There were so many times that I wondered what could possibly happen next and then you threw in another twist, which I really enjoyed.  What was your inspiration for this novel?

I have to admit – my inspiration was simply my imagination.  I’m blessed with a vivid one.  One of my first mental images was seeing Bronwyn walk through the door to her home on the estate.  And I’d mentally polish the story before I ever began writing it, like polishing a stone in your pocket.  It was always there, and I’d trot it out and see where it took me, just in my imagination.  Some people have a mantra – something that relaxes them – for me, it was setting my foot into Bronwyn’s home and everything else sprung from that.  As far as Wodehouse is concerned, I always adored Jeeves, and of course this Jeeves is unlike the original.  But there’s still something endearing about him.

The plot of the novel takes the reader to so many places--England,California, and Maine for starters.  Did/do any of the places you mention have a special meaning or how did you settle on them for the setting of your novel?

I loved Maine from the first moment I crossed the border from New Hampshire.  There’s something very unique and resonating about it. I’ve been to California a few times, but it’s my love of movies that launched the California locations.  Pittsburgh is easy – I’m from Pittsburgh and live nearby … a terrific place.  People here enjoy reading about the real places in the city, and in Sewickley and Beaver.  Unfortunately, the UK locations are a result of research.  I hope to get across the pond one day.

Bronwyn is such a friendly character that I feel like I know her and at times like I could be her and you create such a colorful and rich cast of characters.  Were there any that were favorites for you?  Were many of them drawn from people you know in real life?

None of the characters were based on real people, but I can’t say the same for the dogs or Snowball the cat.  Those are definitely based on real animals.  I’m delighted you related to Bronwyn.   I liked her interaction with Clive and Jamie.  I always felt their friendly camaraderie, and it reminded me of Harry, Hermione, and Ron … and Tom Sawyer, Becky, and Huck Finn.  I think they had a great time on the estate and it’s a bright spot in the story for me.  And I was very fond of the fox.

Second chances play a major role in this novel.  Why was that such an important theme for you?

I began the idea of the story with Bronwyn’s own second chance, and as I got to know her more, I realized how generous she was.  Despite her lonely life, she had a big heart, and I think she always would have exhibited generosity even without her enormous fortune.  One of my favorite second chances was the one for Laura – in “Irony”, Bronwyn was stunned by what she perceived to be Laura’s disloyalty, but two chapters later, in “An Umbrella for Laura”, Bronwyn not only offered her reinstatement, she did it with understated kindness.  As far as a theme, I think it’s something we sometimes overlook in ourselves – our willingness to believe again, to rescue something or someone, to trust again.

Fashion, food, and design seem to be an important part of your descriptions.  I know from your author blurb that you were involved in fashion before becoming a writer.  Was there a reason these came up so much?  (Hobbies for you, etc)  Similarly, movies and Hollywood play a big part in the novel.  Why was this?

Fashion, food, and design all interest me and always have, so incorporating them in the story was a must for me.  I guess I can say, I wrote the book I’d like to read.  And I’m a huge movie fan, so bringing movies and actors into the story was easy to do.  The food aspect was such a blast to write – almost all of the restaurants are real places, as well as the food, with the exception of Nuit.

Added as an afterthought to elaborate on her answer...To illuminate characters and their lives, I like to add color for readers with descriptions of the things that interest me, like what the characters look like, eat, and their environment.  But if the story is an 'orchestral piece with lots of instruments', there's a point in the story when it's simply 'a mournful cello' (think Phillip Phillips and his Volcano single).  In chapter ten, it's a departure to see the story unfold from Jeeves' perspective and it's a chapter without dialogue.  Bronwyn's circles in the sand, her offering of carrots with green tops, and the lapping ocean have kind of a reverence, seen from a distance ... and it marks the first second chance (for Alex Oz King) and the launching point of new lives for both Bronwyn and Jeeves.  It's a quiet and significant break in a story with tons of descriptive passages.

As I mentioned, you were in fashion, but the author blurb mentioned that you also managed a bookstore, and now you're a writer. What made you decide to transition from one area to the other?  Had you always wanted to be a writer or did the urge suddenly come to you?  Did you have a background in creative writing or literature?

I left department store retailing to manage a college bookstore, and I did that for 27 years.  It was a great career and I was proud to create a unique and successful store. Unfortunately, the college leased the store to Barnes & Noble.  I didn’t plan on retiring, but it did have an upside – I could write the novel I’d been outlining.  I remember when I first said I was going to write a novel … I was so shy to say it out loud.  But I knew the story, and it was just a matter of writing it.  I don’t have an English background, other than having success in English classes and being an avid, observant,  and appreciative reader.

Going off of that, do you have any advice for someone looking to get into the world of writing/publishing?

My advice for budding writers is to be prepared for the slog of getting published and the challenge of marketing your book.  The writing was always a complete and utter joy for me - even editing, which I did over and over and over.  I can’t imagine writing if it’s not the most glorious part of the day.  I would also comment on how important it is to have cold readers (who will be honest) read your early manuscript drafts.  I created a questionnaire and took heed when readers had questions or something in the plot line wasn’t clear to them.  I do think a reader needs to ‘think’ and my approach isn’t to spell everything out.  In fact, I think readers should have different opinions and interpretations of what happened and in the case of North, different views of Ernest Rose.  But I did do some clarifying and rewriting to fix things the cold readers brought to my attention.  If you don’t have a questionnaire, your cold readers might be vague.

What authors or books have influenced you the most?  Who/what are your favorites?  Did any of them influence your writing style?

I’m a wordy writer.  My early drafts were much longer, and much of my editing was all about the word count.  I learned to have more efficient sentences.  Many of the classic writers that I admire are succinct – Hemingway and Fitzgerald.  But I’d say the feel of my writing is similar to John Irving’s.  And what reader/writer doesn’t admire the world JK Rowling created?  I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter books, and although Bronwyn’s world doesn’t have the magical aura of Rowling’s, or the unbelievably creative language, I did try to have lyrical names that would steer the reader’s subconscious … for instance Bronwyn thinks red hair is wonderfully special.  No one else in North has red hair, except for her long-gone family and Snooks.  But Bronwyn’s name should reinforce to readers that her hair is brunette, brown, brun.  Splash Flanagan is a favorite name for me, Grace Cloud imparts the qualities Hughie would long for … Ore is certainly a ‘golden’ actor, beyond handsome, so I used the name Ore to convey his golden nature.  Finding the ‘right’ names for the characters was important, and I hope I was as successful at that, as JK Rowling.

Any thoughts on what's next?

I’m outlining a new novel.  At first I thought I’d write a sequel to North of Supposed to Be, because early readers were anxious to know what happens to Bronwyn and the rest of the characters.  So right before it was published, I rewrote the final chapter and hope it satisfies the readers.  The new novel has fewer characters, but they’re good ones.  I can’t imagine writing about characters you don’t truly love.

I noticed you’ve created Pinterest boards that relate to the novel.  What’s that about?

I hadn’t even heard of Pinterest until this summer, and when I realized I could show readers the real places, objects, food, etc. of the story, it was a terrific way to involve the reader.  I’m surprised more authors aren’t doing it, but I think they will.  Pinterest is so much fun, that I created personal boards as well, but readers can click on the first ten ‘boards’ to see what North of Supposed to Be is about at www.pinterest.com/mfergusonnorth

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Launch Party for "Reached" and the fun that Kimberly had there.


My experience at the launch party for Ally Condie's "Reached"


So a couple weeks ago I told you all about getting to go to the launch party for Ally Condie's Reached, that was a week ago today. I've been to multiple author events, but never a launch party. The King's English Bookstore hosted the event, and they did a fantastic job. They even organized a blogger's conference before the party where me and a few other bloggers got to sit and chat will Ally. It was me, Jessica from Cracking the Cover, Jessica from Books: A True Story, Jenni from Jenni Elyse, and Suey from It's All About Books.We loved talking to Ally who is an absolute delight. She is kind, and witty and a blast to chat with. I was madly scribbling notes the whole time, most of which are illegible. I   was able to decipher some of my horrendous handwriting, thankfully. Here is a brief account of our discussion. These are not all word for word. I can only write so fast. (Sorry)

Question: Was it hard for you to choose between Xander and Ky?

Ally: I didn't really even know who it was going to be. It wasn't until about a third of the way into Reached that I knew who it was going to be.

Question: How do you feel now that it is over?

Ally: It doesn't really feel done yet. I want to hang onto it, savor it for a while.

Question: The first book had a theme of poetry, the second was art... What's the third?

Ally: Music. I hope so at least! That's what I intended!

We talked about several other things, but you don't really want to read the whole thing, do you? Plus, I kinda got distracted by the conversation and forgotten about taking notes. 

We asked her what she was currently reading and she told us she had just finished Michael Phelps' autobiography. She told us she had really enjoyed it, admired and was astonished at the amount of dedication it takes.

She also mentioned one of the highlights of Reached being released was that John Green had read Reached and really enjoyed it, AND tweeted about it!

After that we went to into the main room with everyone else, Ally had drawn in quite the crowd. (Which only made me feel even more spoiled that I'd been lucky enough to go to the bloggers conference.)
(Ally and the life sized version of REACHED)

Ally revealed a few other tidbits during the main event. One audience member asked about the movie. If you didn't already know, the rights to the Matched Trilogy has been purchased by Disney! She told us that she didn't have any input on who would play who but did say that if she had a choice Nathan Fillion would be in there somewhere.

Someone else asked who she liked best, Xander or Ky? She explained that she couldn't possibly pick a favorite because she had taken all of her favorite traits about her husband and given half to Xander and half to
When asked who her favorite character to write about she said that Indie was a surprising favorite.

She was asked if she typed or hand wrote her stories and she said that mostly it was typing, but if she ever gets stuck she pulls out a paper and starts writing it out by hand, once she gets back on a roll she switches back to the computer.

One of the last questions she was asked was what did she consider her greatest accomplishment? (Being published didn't count.) She replied that it was having a family, to her that is the greatest thing she's done.

I had a blast, it was exciting to be there, meet Ally and some more bookish friends. I'm not really sure how to wrap this post up, so here is a picture of me in the bubble of the cover of Reached.  


Monday, November 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday - Books & Authors We Are Thankful For






For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!


Top Ten Books Authors We Are Thankful For


Jamie says:

1. I am thankful for RL Stine simply for writing books that made me want to read and eventually become a lifelong reader. And for scaring me shitless sometimes. 

2. I am thankful for Judy Blume for many reasons -- for writing books that teen girls wanted to read that tackled topics that some people deemed controversial but girls REALLY appreciated being able to talk about, for writing books that I devoured as a tween girl and making me feel a little bit more grown up compared to some of the other books in the YA section at the time (90's). In my opinion she's the pioneer for great contemporary YA lit!




Kimberly says:

3. I am thankful for J.K. Rowling. I know I'm not winning any points for originality here, but it's true. If someone asks me to tell them one or two things that to me mean childhood, I say Harry Potter. I was 10 when I read the first book, and 17 when the last book came out. I found friends in those books and some of the best literary characters to look up to.

4. I am thankful for Maria V. Snyder she was one of the first YA Fantasy authors I read, I was 18 and  had not been properly introduced to good YA, or any good literature at that point. After reading her first book, Poison Study, I dove headlong into the world of fantasy, YA and became even more bookish than I was to begin with.


Julia says:

5. I'm thankful for Eloisa James. Her books are always entertaining and make me think, which a lot of people do not realize happens in the romance world. But hers always have something more that would be hard to pin down. I like that she is a Ivy league professor and also a romance writer. I also love that she was able to take her family for a year in France and write an awesome memoir on it!

6. I'm thankful for The Hunger Games for introducing me to the new and improved young adult genre. I was able to overcome preconceptions to enjoy the heck out of that series and even look to picking up some more. A big feat considering it is written in a POV that I hate! (first person).

Jen says:

7. The Boxcar Children series: I devoured this series in elementary school! I'm thankful for this series because it definitely instilled a love of reading in me! 

 8. Between Shades of Gray: I'm thankful for this book because it made aware of a period in history you never hear about.



9. Audiobooks. Sort of a cop out, but I truly am grateful for these beautiful creations. I get so much reading done on my 40-minute commute to work, and the 40 minutes home! But of course my favorites are still those narrated by Mr. Bill Bryson. Who I think makes it onto every single one of my Top Ten Tuesdays.

10. The Miseducation of Cameron Post by emily m. danforth. I really really hope this one wins some kind of award; I nominated it for a Morris. I think it deserves some kind of recognition because it is so powerful. This is one of the few books I've read that is not only well written, but made me closely examine my own beliefs and stayed with me long after I finished it. It's a beautiful work and if you haven't read it yet, you should.

Bonus! Paula says:
11.  The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster- Alright I think this book is on just about every Top Ten Tuesday I participate in. But I cannot stress enough how much this book means to me. Even though I know I had read lots of books beforehand - this is the first book that I remember cherishing. It opened up my imagination. And even when I re-read it as an adult it is such a well written book. I credit all of my love of reading to it.

12. Not a book persay- But I am thankful for having a parent who instilled a love of reading in me. One of my favorite parts of childhood was climbing into bed with my mom and reading with her for 30 minutes to an hour before we went to sleep. Every night I can remember until middle school. And even if it usually ended up with her falling asleep while reading- I would steal the book and finish the chapter and fill her in on it later. Even now if we are on vacations together we will pick out a book together and read out loud to each other for the week. So Thanks Mommabear ^_^

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reading Harry Potter Beginning to End: Bridget's Experience

Earlier this year, I participated in a Harry Potter (re)read-a-long. I believe it's still going, actually, but I didn't do much with it other than reread the series beginning to end, something I had never actually done before. The closest I had gotten up until this point was before Deathly Hallows came out, at which point I decided it would be a good idea to reread Half Blood Prince. However, I was a little over-enthusiastic and started HBP three weeks before DH was due out, so of course I finished in two days and was left wondering what to do. Naturally, I decided to read Order of the Phoenix...but then that only took me a few days as well. Eventually, I ended up reading all six previous books in reverse order, and then jumped straight into the seventh after finishing Sorcerer's Stone. It was a weird experience.

That fall, I went off to college, of course toting my entire Harry Potter collection with me. As it turns out, this was not the most efficient use of space, as I don't remember picking up any of the books at all that year except for Deathly Hallows. So from then on, that was the only HP book I brought to school with me.

So, now here we are in September and I discover this Harry Potter readalong is happening, and I decide that I have to join. I hadn't read any of them recently enough to have reviewed them on my blog, so I figured it'd be the perfect chance to do just that. Boy, was I wrong.

I blew through them so fast I barely had time to eat, much less review each one as I finished.

Having the next installment immediately at my disposal as soon as I finished was not the best for my productivity outside this project, but boy was it nice while I was reading! I'd say it probably took me only about three weeks to read the entire series again all the way through. For those who have never done this, I would recommend it for a few reasons:

1. You get to watch J.K. Rowling's voice progress from uncertain first time author to the badass we begin to see in Goblet of Fire. It's so interesting to see and wasn't something I really noticed when I was reading them for the first time (partially because I was too young, but also because they came out so far apart from each other). I did notice it a bit when I read them backwards, but obviously it was cooler to see the progression moving forward rather than backward.

2. You don't have to think back too hard to remember what happened in the last book. I remember whenever a new Harry Potter came out, I was always confused for the first chapter or so until I fully remembered the end of the previous book. When you read them all in a row, that doesn't happen and it's awesome! It was a lot easier to pick up on some nuanced things that I might not have noticed, too.

3. You get to see the series as one story rather than a set of stories. This sort of piggybacks on number 2, but I think it deserves its own point because it's important to me separately from my bad memory. The titles of the books sort of lend themselves to the belief that the stories are all separate, except for the fact that they all involve Harry Potter. As we all know, that's obviously not true, but it's a lot easier to see the forest rather than the trees when you put the whole series together and read it as one story.

Has anyone else had this experience? Did you do the readalong or did you just do it on your own?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Julia's Pinterest Board

I've read few books lately. Blame it on Mad Men on Netflix and the rediscovered mystery known as a social life. I am just about to start reading the fourth book in A Song of Ice and Fire. Winter is coming. So in the mean time, enjoy these snippets from my Bookish Things Pintrest Board! Also enjoy the rest of the weekend - Julia





Friday, November 16, 2012

Jen Reviews Death of a Salesman

 
Title: Death of a Salesman
Author: Arthur Miller
Originally Published: 1940
How I Got It: Purchased at a library book sale


GoodReads Summary:
Willy Loman, the protagonist of Death of a Salesman, has spent his life following the American way, living out his belief in salesmanship as a way to reinvent himself. But somehow the riches and respect he covets have eluded him. At age sixty-three, he searches for the moment his life took a wrong turn, the moment of betrayal that undermined his marriage and destroyed his relationship with Biff, the son in whom he invested his faith. Willy lives in a fragile world of elaborate excuses and daydreams, conflating past and present in a desperate attempt to make sense of himself and of a world that once promised so much.


Review:

I'm not much of a play person.  I don't mind watching them but sitting down and reading a play was never my thing.  Over the summer I saw Death of a Salesman at a library book sale for fairly cheap and thought I was overdue for a reread (or I guess technically a first read).  See, when I was in high school I wasn't much of a reader would read SparkNotes instead of reading most of our required reading.  Now I feel like I missed out on a bunch of classics!  But it was nice to be able to just read the play and not worry about having to analyze it or look for symbolism.

I must say I barely remembered anything about the play.  Really the only thing I remembered was that the father was a traveling salesman who wasn't doing so well.  But overall I did enjoy the story!  I almost read the entire thing in one sitting and if my stomach wasn't growling I definitely would have!

One thing I found slightly confusing was when Willy would slip back into his daydreams or memories from the past.  Sometimes he would be having a conversation with a person in front of him and a different conversation with a person in his head.  Reading that was confusing but I'm sure if I saw the play being performed or even having different people read for each character (just like we use to do in English class!) it would have been fine.

My heart truely went out to Willy.  He spent years working for the same company as a salesman but is getting older and wants to cut back on traveling.  All he wants to do is provide for his family but it seems like he can never catch a break or he's just fighting with his sons. 

I recommend you read this play and not just skim through the SparkNotes!  You really do get so much more of of it!

For someone who is interested in reading more plays do you have a favorite one?  Or a least favorite you'd advise to stay away from?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Cocktail & Conversation -- Thankfulness!


 Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is 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. 

This week: With Thanksgiving coming up next week, what are you thankful for right now?


Jana says: Right now, I'm really thankful for my mom. Lots of crazy stuff has happened over the past year. We both had surgery, and took care of each other when we needed to. We went on a 6 week trip, gallivanting all over Europe having an amazing time eating, shopping, and trekking through art museums. And when I got a new job and started freaking out about having to be a grown-up, she sat there with me while I cried through my quarter-life crisis. I still don't really know where I'm headed, but my mom will always be along for the ride and I'm really thankful for that!


Jamie says: I'll be honest...I've been having a hard time being thankful for ANYTHING this year. Yeah, it's been that kind of a year. BUT I'm super thankful for family right now. Especially my husband! We've been married all but 3 months and we've both lost our jobs within that time frame. It's super stressful and I'm so thankful I have him to navigate this hard time with me. Also super thankful for my sister who has become my best friend and gave me the greatest gift this year -- my niece! I'm also thankful that my family members are healthy right now. Will and I have had great loss in recent years ( my mom, his dad, his grandfather) and I'm just thankful that everyone is in pretty good health.


What are you all thankful for right now??

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Top Ten Books Jamie Would Want On A Deserted Island

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!


This was RIDICULOUSLY HARD. There was so many factors to consider --- like length of time on the island (would this be like Survivor game show length or Gilligan's Island length?) and would I want something familiar that would comfort me or would I want something NEW?

Because I Would Need Some Chunky Books To Pass The Time


1. War & Peace by Leo Tolstoy: This is one of those books I'd love to read but really just doubt I'll get to in my life. I'd have no distractions, no toppling-over-TBR list so this big boy and I would have some quality time together.

2. East of Eden by John Steinbeck: I have had this on my shelf for forever and REALLY want to read it but I'm so darn intimidated by it.

3. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens: In addition to its thickness, I can't die without reading Charles Dickens.

Because I Would Need An Adventure


3. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: It's a big book plus one of the most epic adventures. It took me freaking forever just to watch the movies and they were the longest movies I'd ever seen. BUT AMAZING. On a deserted island, I could read the adventure for myself.

4. Harry Potter by JK Rowling: Ok, firstly. I'm cheating and making this one choice. It's my shipwreck, I CAN DO THAT. ALSO...ummm...I'm trying to hide this under the title of "adventure" when really it should be that I don't think a human being should be stranded on an island and have to think about how they might die never reading one of the most POPULAR series EVER.

Because I'm Going To Need To Remember How Awesome Love Is


5. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen: Nothing can make me swoon & clutch my chest like a little Elizabeth & Darcy. Plus it's a favorite so there's that. Really I'd just want the Complete Works of Jane Austen so that I could finish reading the ones I haven't read!

6. The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks: Yeah. I'm a sap but I love The Notebook and I love their romance and it'd be a guaranteed ugly cry.

Because I'm Going To Need Books That Make Me Happy


7. Either Lola & The Boy Next Door or Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Her books MAKE ME HAPPY. And plus their is swoony romances. Lola was my favorite but I'd also be daydreaming about Paris.

8. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty: This book has made me laugh out loud like NO OTHER. I'd need to laugh...and not like maniacal laughter as a result of going crazy. Just the giggles that Jessica Darling's brain gives me.


Because I'm Going To Die Anyways SO WTF-EVER


9. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James: YEAH, I went there. Why would I bring this as one of ten books I may ever be able to touch again?? WELL. As someone who hasn't read this book, 1) it would be new to me 2) If I'm going to die..I may as well die knowing why the craze is happening 3) I COULD get a good laugh out of it which YAY ENDORPHINS 4) Let's say I fall in love with it like others I know...YAY ROMANCE & SEXYTIMES 5) If all else fails and it really is as god awful as I've heard it is and that I THINK it probably is...I COULD USE IT FOR FIRE! Fire = key to survival. And then if I can survive I can read ALL OF THE BOOKS to get that book out of my mind. It's a win-win really.


Because I Need To TRY To Survive So I Can Come Home & Read ALL OF THE BOOKS


10. How to Survive Anywhere: A Guide for Urban, Suburban, Rural, and Wilderness Environments by







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