Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Lady of Ashes" by Christine Trent + giveaway

Lady of Ashes by Christine Trent
Publication Date: February 26, 2013 | Kensington Publishing | 384p
Twitter Hashtag: #LadyOfAshesVirtualTour
"In 1861 London, Violet Morgan is struggling to establish a good reputation for the undertaking business that her husband has largely abandoned. She provides comfort for the grieving, advises them on funeral fashion and etiquette, and arranges funerals.
Unbeknownst to his wife, Graham, who has nursed a hatred of America since his grandfather soldiered for Great Britain in the War of 1812, becomes involved in a scheme to sell arms to the South. Meanwhile, Violet receives the commission of a lifetime: undertaking the funeral for a friend of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. But her position remains precarious, especially when Graham disappears and she begins investigating a series of deaths among the poor. And the closer she gets to the truth, the greater the danger for them both…"

I've recently become re-obsessed with the Victorian era and was eager to snap up Lady of Ashes. Another plus is the fact that Christine Trent and her books are wonderful! The entire concept of a female undertaker in 1861 was fascinating. Victorians were notably obsessed with death, but a female in this profession would have been quite odd. Our MC is Violet, who has married into the undertaking business but her husband is a bit of a deadbeat which leaves Violet in charge. When she discovers a string of mysterious deaths and sets out to investigate, Violet finds herself in some crazy scenarios (a train crash, overseeing Queen Victoria's husband's funeral, some sort of American gang scheme, and fighting a tiger). Despite all of this, she still is a very believable character (yes, even the tiger). You sympathize with her as a woman struggling against social norms and trying to survive after her husband disappears.

Christine Trent's books seem to all follow the same exact pattern, yet with fresh and lively characters and locations for each book. As Lady of Ashes is set in the time period of the Civil War, it was interesting to get a British perspective of the American war. Every now and then I would get disoriented with the constant jumping around from character to character, but each offered a fresh viewpoint. If you are interested in the Victorian era like me, Lady of Ashes gets us a good glimpse into the life, customs, and people of the time. It was an adventure from beginning to end! This is the first in a mystery series and I am excited to see where the next book begins.

I have a copy of Lady of Ashes to give away to one of you!
To enter, simply leave a way to contact you in a comment below.
You have until March 6th to enter.
USA only, please (I'm a poor college graduate!).
Good luck!

Tahleen reviews: "Speaking From Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel" by Alan Bradley

Title: Speaking From Among the Bones: A Flavia de Luce Novel (#5)
Author: Alan Bradley
Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2013

Rating: 4.5 stars

In this fifth Flavia de Luce mystery, we are treated to another delightfully mixed up mystery in which we learn even more about the residents of Bishop's Lacey, both guilty and not guilty. This time around, the victim is church organist Mr. Collicutt, found in the tomb of the one and only St. Tancred, who is supposed to be exhumed for the 500th anniversary of his death. What follows is Flavia doing her own detective work, as usual, behind the back of the local law enforcement (and to their great annoyance and stress, of course).

During the solving mystery, which is convoluted in the best possible way (and very realistically, in my opinion), we meet new characters, some of whom are connected to Harriett, Flavia's mother. We also delve deeper into the histories of the vicar, his wife, and the de Luces themselves, understanding each a little bit more.

Bradley creates the best characters. Flavia is wonderfully clever, often ingenious, yet still has the curiosity and sulkiness a child of 11 should have. Her family also grows more sympathetic in this book, though of course Flavia and her sisters still tend to go at each other, and their father is still distant—yet they seem to grow closer here, which I loved to see. And the secondary characters continue to be developed, though the eyes of Flavia.

Have I mentioned the humor yet? Despite the fact that this is a murder mystery, Flavia recounts everything with her usual wit and wry observations. I already used this word in this review, but I'm going to use it again: delightful. This series is nothing short of delightful.

Also, if you have been following along with this series from the beginning as I have, the ending is HUGE. This is the first time I am looking for the next book in the series to see how the cliffhanger ending will be followed up with! (Just so you know, the next book in the series, titled The Dead In Their Vaulted Arches, will come out sometime early next year, and I can't wait.)

Disclaimer: I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Julia's Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

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

Julia's Top Ten Auto-Buy Authors

A little over a year ago, I wrote my Top Auto-Buy Romance Authors, so I will try not to repeat with this top ten, though all of the other authors still apply!
  1. Courtney Milan - She is one of my favorite new to me romance authors. Her books are always so creative and well researched, and even when I may not completely love them, I still love them (if that makes any sense).
    Books I loved: A Kiss for Midwinter, The Duchess War, The Governess Affair
  2. Beth Revis - It is no secret that I loved the Across the Universe series. I can't wait to see what world Revis builds for us next.
    Books I loved: Across the Universe, A Million Suns, Shades of Earth
  3. Kristen Callihan - I feel like all I do on this blog is gush about how much I love Kristen Callihan and her Darkest London series. It is just so inventive and emersive!
    Books I loved: Firelight, Moonglow, Winterblaze
  4. George R.R. Martin - Anyone who has read any of A Song of Ice and Fire I would ascertain has Martin as an auto-buy. How can you not when the books come out years apart
    Books I loved: Game of Thrones, A Storm of Swords
  5. Marissa Meyer - I absolutely can't wait to get my hands on Scarlet, the next in her steampunk-dystopian Fairy Tales series. It should be in my hands soon.
    Books I loved: Cinder
  6. Jennifer Ashley - I had heard of Ashley's books through a romance novel March madness tourney. I know sounds amazing right? And all the hype was worth it. Her Mackenzie's series is pretty great.
    Books I loved: The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, Lady Isabella's Scandelous Marriage
  7. Meljean Brook - A great steampunk and sexy world. That is what she created. The second and third in her Iron Seas series have been on my to buy list for a while. So I guess its auto-buy... but I haven't bought them quite yet.
    Books I loved:The Iron Duke
  8. Eloisa James - Ever seen I was enraptured by one of her covers at the bookstore, I have not been able to resist her books. I eagerly gobble up every new installment. Books I loved: The Taming of Duke, When Beauty Tamed the Beast, Paris in Love 
  9. Elizabeth Hoyt -  My favorite series romance lies with Ms. Hoyt. Her characters jump off the page and suck me in. I can't resist a new one by her!
    Books I loved: Scandalous Desires, To Taste Temptation, Thief of Shadows 
  10. Julia Quinn - Finally Ms. Quinn. Ever since I read her Bridgerton books in high school, I have been hooked on her humor. Every new one by her is read almost immediately.
    Books I loved: On the Way to the Wedding, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, What Happens in London  
I just couldn't help it toward the end there... I just had to include them. So who are your auto-buy authors? Who are we missing out on here! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lori Writes Three Mini-Reviews

Title: House of Earth
Author: Woody Guthrie with an introduction by Douglas Brinkley and Johnny Depp
Published: Harper Collins, 2013
Where I Got It:  The publisher sent it to me for review

I was SO excited when I received the opportunity to review this book and I became even more excited as I read the extensive introduction and became aware of the personal connection with the book.  So...Woody Guthrie is a well-known Oklahoman who wrote many folk songs, including "This Land Is Your Land."  As a young adult, he moved to Pampa, Texas, an area that was heavily hit by the Dust Bowl during the Depression.  My grandparents actually lived about 30 miles from Pampa, so they were geographically very close to the action of the story.  Guthrie wrote the novel in the 1940s, after the events already took place.  The manuscript was lost in Irving Lerner's papers, recently discovered by the archivists at the University of Tulsa.  But as the content of the story shows, the world probably was not ready to read this novel during the Truman era.  However, as economic turmoil and the environment are becoming more and more central to today's discussion, the world was finally ready to read this book.   The story that Guthrie wrote was very touching and is one I will definitely read again in the future.

Guthrie lived in Pampa during the infamously horrible Black Sunday dust storm that occurred in April 1935.  As he survived the storm, Guthrie realized (as the introduction points out) that humans need three things to live--food, water, and shelter.  He chose to write on the third element.  Guthrie began researching the strength of adobe construction and concluded that that type of home would best suit those remaining in the areas afflicted by the Dust Bowl.  But these people rarely owned their own land, and were unable to build permanent structures.  The novel is a call to arms for people to turn on the evil business owners, the bankers who owned the land, and Big Agriculture that destroyed the land.

While Steinbeck wrote about those who gave up and left Oklahoma, Texas, and other afflicted areas, Guthrie wrote about those who were stubborn and brave enough to stay behind and tough it out.  The novel focuses on Tike and Ella May Hamlin, farmers who want a better life for themselves in the face of the Depression and the Dust Bowl.  Tike gets the idea of building an adobe house, but is unable to do so because he does not own his own land.  Central themes to the novel include undying hope in the wake of endless struggling, the abuse of the grasslands by man, and is a socialist call to arms against oppression--all themes still relevant today.  Guthrie explores these topics with a voice that shows his connection with the place and people he's writing about.

A wonderful read for anyone interested in the Great Depression, literature with a social conscience, or fans of Woody Guthrie.

Title: The Real Jane Austen:  A Life in Small Things
Author: Paula Byrne
Published: Harper Collins, 2013
Where I Got It:  The publisher sent it to me for review

This was a very interesting biography for fans of Jane Austen to read.  I'm not going to discuss the actual content of the biography because that could get out of hand.  Instead, I will comment on the approach to the biography.  Byrne takes a unique approach by exploring Austen's life and writing through various themes or moments, which range from her father's religious views to her life in Bath to her struggle to become published.  Each theme is tied to a particular object, such as vellum notebooks and a royalty check.  Byrne ties together Austen's life and her work throughout the biography, including many quotations from Austen's novels.

I am not sure how this biography compares to others on Jane Austen, but I think that this is a fantastic approach to writing a biography and should really set it apart.  It's really the approach that makes the work stand out--Jane's life wasn't exactly action-packed, after all.  

The main issue that I have with the biography is one that many of Austen's biographers have had--there was not a whole lot of documented primary evidence on which to base some of the claims about the author. This, of course, is not indicative of a weakness on Byrne's part.

I think that a good basis of knowledge on Austen is necessary to most fully appreciate the biography, but I think it would be a pleasurable read for anyone who was interested.

Title: Frances and Bernard
Author: Carlene Bauer
Published:  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 
Where I Got It:  I bought this myself after a Twitter acquaintance recommended it.

I love, love, loved this book!  I read it in two sittings.  I devoured this book like I haven't devoured something in quite a while.

What's it about?  It's about two author--Frances, a novelist, and Bernard, a poet--who met at a writers' colony and started up a correspondence.  It's an epistolary novel, primarily comprised of the letters between Frances and Bernard, but with letters to their friends to flesh out the story.  What begins as a few letters between people who barely know each other quickly becomes a correspondence that can change the lives of the participants.  The story is based on Flannery O'Connor and Robert Lowell.

I loved the voices that Bauer created in this novel.  Frances and Bernard both spoke with such depth and individuality, which is difficult to do when creating characters of the opposite sex and when switching between speakers.  She does not let the voices of the two characters become confused or mixed up--they remain distinct.  Though a story about relationships on the surface, the story is more about human growth and the process of truly finding oneself.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves books about books.  So good!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Julia Reviews Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt

Title/Author: Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher/Year Published: February 26th 2013 by Forever Romance
How I got this book: NetGalley in exchange for a fair review
Why I read this book: The fifth book in a historical romance series set in 1730s London.
Rating: 4.5 stars

Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane Series is the first series that I can remember reading that really made me think that I could read books set in historical London not mainly set in the ton. This series is one of my favorites out there right now. I eagerly lap up every installment. In fact, I started this series because of The Broke and the Bookish with my first provided by the publisher review of Wicked Intentions. Oh, memories.

That said, Lord of Darkness didn’t win me over as some of the prior four books have. Let’s take a look at Lord of Darkness.

The Story
Lord of Darkness is the fifth book in the continuing Maiden Lane series, set in 1730s St. Giles where gin and poverty rule the streets. Two years have passed since the end of the last book, Thief of Shadows.

With that, our book starts off with Margaret, sister to the hero of book two, at a standoff with her husband, Godric. She doesn’t know it’s her husband of course since he is dressed in his Ghost of St. Giles costume, so she thinks she is facing down her lover’s murderer. Yes. That is just the first scene.

Megs is on her way back to live with Godric and make their marriage a true one. Well, really she just wants a baby. Godric has been celibate since his very much loved wife died some years prior, and the two have lived apart since their wedding two years prior.

Anyway, Megs moves into Godric’s sad looking house with his sister and her aunt (and her aunt’s pregnant dog). He kind of just goes with it though is quite put out. They quickly get to the point of her visit and come to a deal regarding the process. Once she is with child she goes back to the country and leaves him alone again.

There is a side story that continues from Thief of Shadows with sweatshops and lace making. Also, they are looking for the murderer of Roger, Megs lover that died. 

So there is quite a lot going on. The best parts of the story I thought centered on the characters growing and moving on from the past in their relationship with each other. The saving girls from lace making seemed a little old hat to me as it was the plot of the last book. I sometimes felt the same way with the Ghost having to give up his life for his wife… and from what it looks like the next book may be something similar. I am a bit sick of that story line. But I wasn’t sick of these super original characters and their conflict.

The Characters
Godric and Margaret are very complex characters. Godric married for love and then watched his love died from a drawn out disease vowing to never love again and throwing himself into his life as the Ghost. Margaret went from being the cute capricious younger sister of Griffin in book two to the distraught woman whose love died before their life had a chance to start. She is the one ready for a change, even if it is just having a baby of her own.

Watching the internal struggles of these two as they try to come to grips with their new life together and the feeling of betraying their previous loves is fascinating. Rarely do we get to see romantic leads having to deal with such heavy stuff. Godric has the additional complexity of trying to fit in with his step-mother and half-sisters, who also end up descending on his home. At the end of the book I liked where they ended up as characters.

The Romance
The romance was definitely interesting as it started off so uncomfortably as they were in bed with two ghosts of former loves. Watching it develop was painful at times, but still. Where they ended up was believable. The problem for me was I couldn’t connect to these two as strongly as I have as some of the others in this series. I am not sure why that was. I’ve never had a former lover to the extent that these have lost, so maybe my empathy meter was broken. I could appreciate them and their growing love, but I just couldn’t be overwhelmed by them and throw myself into their story. Maybe I didn’t want to feel what they were feeling so I separated myself, who knows. However, I also think this is more of a user error then the author not being able to write relatable characters, which is hardly the case.

The Execution
Elizabeth Hoyt is one of my favorite historical romance authors out there right now. She writes brilliant characters with scenes that live so well in my imagination that I could just step right in. My only negative in that I feel slightly as if this story with the Ghost has been done before in just her last book. Is it more of a continuation of the plot, maybe? I don’t know. It seemed more of the same to me. I am worried the next book may feel that way too, but I won’t make that judgment until I read it.

The Overview 
Overall I really liked the characters in this book, even though I couldn’t connect to them as well as some previous ones. Though I thought the St. Giles plot may be repetitive, the story is still captivating and enthralling. I would definitely recommend it to fans of the series and Hoyt. I think it could potentially be read on its own, but would do better to be read in the series.

The Maiden Lane Series consists of the following: Wicked IntentionsNotorious PleasuresScandalous DesiresThief of Shadows and Lord of Darkness.

This book was provided for me free for an honest review from NetGalley.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Cocktail & Conversation with TBTB crew -- Reading Spots!

 Every other week 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. **We are changing it up and each of us will take a turn asking the others a question. Feel free to leave a comment or email us if YOU have a question you want us to answer!

Jamie Asks:

Where is your favorite place to read? Does it change seasonally?

(My answer: I will read anywhere but I'll tell you..there is nothing like reading outside in the warm weather for me -- at a park, beach, pool..ANYWHERE. I just love being outside in general but I love  the sounds of summer in the background where I read. I also really LOVE reading in the tub. Also I miss my fireplace at my parent's house. Best winter reading spot ever.)

Julia says: I think my favorite place to read that crosses all season is in bed. I cuddle up near the light and fly through the pages. My second favorite place is a seasonal, or more appropriately, weather permitting location. I love reading on beaches, decks, outside under a tree, anywhere in the open where I can have the sun in my face and the wind in my hair. It helps if I am getting a tan at the same time, too.

Kelly says: I adore reading outside. I live in Florida so the weather permits that 85% of the time. I always bring a book with me to the beach - what's better than the sound of waves and birds for a backdrop while reading? I'll be anxious to see how readable my new Kindle will be at the beach this summer. My back porch is also a favorite. There's a comfy padded swing and my kitty is usually there to keep me company!


What about you guys? Where do you like to read the best? Does it change seasonally?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Paula Reviews: Animals by Don LePan

Book: Animals by Don LePan
Published: 2009 
How I got it: Bought it used
 Rating: 3 stars

I know you all have been waiting anxiously for another rambling video review by me. So here it is with all it's ummsss and awkward pauses. Sorry for the choppy editing- I make no claims to be a video genius.

You can pretend I'm sticking my tongue out in that tumbnail :D

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Lori's Top Ten Favorite Characters in the Classics Genre

This week's Top Ten Tuesday is looking at our favorite characters in whatever genre you choose.

I'm a huge fan of the classics, so I chose that genre.  I don't think these are necessarily going to be in order--because it would be like choosing a favorite child (actually, I'm not sure that's really that hard; then again, I'm an only child).  And the ten I chose today might not be the ten I'd choose if I were to do this again in a week.  There are just SO MANY good characters in classic literature!  Also, I want to talk a moment about the word "favorite."  Part of the reason that I love reading is the exploration of characters and personalities.  As a result, I have some favorite characters that I don't like, but as far as characters created by an author, they are a favorite because they are so interesting to read about.

Anyway!  Looking forward to seeing who you mention!

1.  Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.  He's a favorite because I think he is a fantastic role model for everyone.  He is a model of integrity.  A model of putting your money where your mouth is.  A font of wisdom.  Super intelligent.  Very well-read.  Yes, he's human and he makes mistakes.  Basically, someone we could all learn from.

2.  Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind.  I don't think I can actually write a post without mentioning Scarlett or Gone With the Wind.  This book and this character in particular just had such an impact on me.  Scarlett is an interesting study.  She is quite the spoiled brat at the beginning of the novel.  But then the War and Reconstruction cause her to become more self-sufficient.  She's still mostly spoiled in that she thinks of herself a lot, but she's willing to do what it takes to make sure she and her family are able to survive, which I think takes a lot of bravery and strength.

3.  The characters from Catch-22.  My love knows no bounds for these characters.  They are all so interesting and amusing and complex.  They are put in this insane setting, filled with so many contradictions, yet they react in heart-breaking and humorous-because-it's-not-you ways.  A Major (name Major Major Major) climbs out the window every time someone comes to his office.  Someone shows up naked for drill.  Someone can't get out of the army on a mental health discharge.  Someone makes chocolate covered cotton.  They have some fantastic one-liners as they struggle with the military bureaucracy.  But, reader beware, you'll either love or hate this book and it all has to do with your type of thinking.

4.  Humbert Humbert from Lolita.  But he's a pedophile!  Yeah, he is.  I said he's a favorite; I didn't say that I liked him, liked him.  Big difference.  As far as characters go, he's a favorite because he's so interesting.  I think he very methodically and scientifically spells out his thought-process as the novel progresses.  And I think it's a very interesting character study to get into the mind of a deviant.

5.  Huck Finn from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  I love Huck.  He has a fantastic voice.  Because of his outcast nature, he is able to comment very frankly on the events going on around him.  His simplicity allows him to cut through the crap and call it like he sees it.  Throughout the novel (save the last ten chapters), he undergoes a major transformation and gains freedom and maturity that he never would have normally had.

6.  Lee from East of Eden.  Lee is a very versatile character.  He fulfills many roles for Adam Trask's family.  His attitude of the humble Chinese servant is really just an act.  He is a very intelligent and strong character, who can see the larger picture due to his outside status.  The thing that makes me love him the most is his profound discussion on the theory of timshel.  Love!  Plus Lee's dream is to own a bookstore.

7.  Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  If I had read this book when I was younger (as opposed to in college), I think Francie would have been one of my heroes.  She is the daughter of Irish immigrants and must struggle to find her place in American society.  She has many hopes and dreams for the future, which include reading and receiving an education, that are dashed by her family's poverty and immigrant status.  The novel overall sends a great message about reading.

8.  Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451.  I really liked the evolution of this character.  At first he was a part of the system that burned books because people had no need for them, which led them to become evil.  Without giving away too much, he becomes conflicted about this idea.  Throughout the novel, he realizes how he needs to be discerning in his information and not just take what he hears at face value.  I think the character really speaks to those of us growing up in a pervasive media age.  We are surrounded by excuses to not read.  It's an issue that won't go away.

9.  Isabel Archer from The Portrait of a Lady.  Isabel faces the struggle between holding up convention and living out her desires for independence.  As a young lady, she comes to Europe and (eventually) inherits a fortune and gets married, then she faces her tremendous struggle.  But the line that endears her to me is:
“I always want to know the things one shouldn't do.""So as to do them?" asked her aunt."So as to choose." said Isabel.
I think that this desire to know both sides so as to choose for oneself is a very important quality in characters and in people.  And though I would not necessarily have done what she did, I think the struggle and development of the plot and characters are just fantastic.

10.  Robert Jordan from For Whom the Bell Tolls.  I love ruggedly individualistic characters who have a strong moral code.  Jordan is the shining example of Hemingway's credo that the important thing is that one does the right thing, even if it happens at the last possible moment; that one makes their life matter, even in a small way.  He is all about bravery and camaraderie and doing the right thing, even if it means death.

There are my ten.  What are yours?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Discovering a Bookish Gem

I've lived in Utah my entire life. Same house even. I've been going to my university for six years. And yet I had no idea the most delightful bookstore/café was just up the street from my school.

I have a class that just started this last week. Friday nights, 5-9 and Saturdays 8:30-5:30. (Horrendous, I know.) However, Saturday we got an hour long break for lunch. I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat so I just drove around a bit. I spotted something out of the corner of my eye and thought I saw something that said book. Immediately I pulled a U-turn and went to see what it was. What I found was the Wisebird Bookery. I had found a hidden gem in good ol' Ogden, Utah. (Not that we are short on stuff like that in Ogden, we have Historic 25th street.) But I had never even heard of this place. And that's really saying something since it's up the street from my school and practically across the street from the place my mother has worked for nearly 30 years.

Wise Bird Bookery is a tiny bookstore, mostly made up of books from local authors, books that are personal favorites of the owner, and a shelf of the trending books, as well as the obligatory religious books (at least one from about half a dozen different religions.) It's also a café, with specialty drinks that make the whole place smell good. And, on Saturdays and Sunday's they have a special. Crepes! Any kind you want.

I was so enamored the second I walked in (I was greeted by a very sweet Golden Retriever when I walked in) that I  knew I wasn't going to be leaving there until I had to go back to class. So I went and ordered myself a crepe, a drink. While they were preparing my food the ladies that own the place asked me questions and chatted, by the time I got my food they practically had my life story. I got my food and found a spot in the window seat and ate while I read. After that I explored the tiny shop for a bit, ended up buying a book (big surprise, right? HA.) and then sat down and chatted with the author that was there with his book. He was an old friend of Howard Hughes and with the help of two other friends had written a book about him."We Knew Howard Huges". I was enjoying myself so much I about choked on my cinnamon steamer when I looked at my watch and realized I had five minutes to get back to the university.

I have fallen head over heels in love with this place. They have a new customer, can't wait to go back!

Any fellow Utahns ever been here? Or what is your favorite bookish place? Leave a comment and tell me!

Oh, and I just started my own blog. (I'm super excited!) Check it out, if you'd like. It'll be live later today. The Bookish Thespian.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 2/3 - 2/16

Daisy's Book Haul

Egalleys for review
-The Boyfriend App by Katie Sise: this sounds SO CUTE!
-How Zoe Made Her Dreams (Mostly) Come True by Sarah Strohmeyer: it sounds like the perfect summer read and I've heard good things about Smart Girls Get What They Want.
-Arclight by Josin L. McQuein: sounds CREEPY and exciting!
-Undercurrent by Paul E. Blackwell: a male protoganist and memory loss, I'm SO IN!
-The Breeders by Katie French: got this for a blog tour, sounds really interesting!
-Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross: this is on my most wanted debut of 2013 list! Many thanks to Elizabeth Ross for the egalley!
-The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway: TIME TRAVEL! YES!
-A Touch of Scarlet by Eve Marie Mont: seriously, who wouldn't want to step into a favourite novel??
-Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead: AAH! NEW SERIES BY RICHELLE MEAD! It sounds EPIC!
-A Touch Menacing by Leah Clifford
-Stormbringers by Philippa Gregory: I LOVE Philippa Gregory, I haven't read the first book in this series yet, but I bought it and I have no doubt I'll love it as well! I am kinda bummed by the cover change though, now my books won't match...
-Afterglow by Karsten Knight: I still need to read Embers and Echoes, but as Wildefire left us with a HUGE cliffhanger, I'll be glad to read these back to back :)
-Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young: I still haven't read anything by either of these authors (though I own their books), but I've heard amazing things and this sounds really good!
-With This Kiss, part one, two and three by Eloisa James: I love Eloisa James, these novellas sounds wonderful!

From one of my best blogging buddies, the wonderful Alex @ A Girl, Books and Other Things I got two books:
-The Giver by Lois Lowry
-Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Thank you so much! I'm really excited to finally own both of them as I've heard many amazing things about these books!

-Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
-Asunder by Jodi Meadows: AAAH! It's so gorgeous and I can't wait to dive back into this world!
-The Archived by Victoria Schwab: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED The Near Witch, so I'm beyond excitement to read this one!
-Everbound by Brodi Ashton: Everneath nearly killed me with that ending, I NEED to know what happens next!
-Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness: already read, but wanted a finished copy :)
-Red Glove by Holly Black: I'm REALLY glad I waited this long to buy these books, cause I would have been heartbroken at the change in covers otherwise... Love this series!
-Prodigy by Marie Lu: still need to read Legend, but already bought this one because of all the excitement over it
-One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean: YES! LOVE SARAH MACLEAN'S BOOKS!
-Slated by Teri Terry: caught my attention because it's been re-published this year, sounds really good!
-Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi: YAY! This seems to be the week of exciting sequels coming in the mail! I hear chapter 62 is especially exciting...

Jen's Book Haul

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
I haven't bought myself a new book in a while so as a Valentine's Day present to myself I ordered these two books from Amazon! I am SO excited to read both of these books! I've heard nothing but wonderful things about them!

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.

Kelly discusses the art of bookshelves

Bookshelves. Where would we be without them?! Personally, without my shelves, I'd be drowning in a sea of books scattered all over the floor. I like to arrange my shelves by genre, though I know some of you are dedicated enough to go by author as well. Bookshelves are not just a place to store and keep track of our books, but they're also a place to possibly let our creativity shine. I've seen a lot of fun ideas on pinterest recently and decided to share some of the most fun bookshelves I've come across. I'm a big fan of any shelf big enough to need a ladder to get to the top of.

As serious readers, most of us will agree that practicality outweighs design/cleverness. A lot of the shelves in the pictures below look cool, but can only fit a few books on them. This is not an ideal situation for book hoarders! So, which shelves are your favorites? Do you have any pinterest-worthy shelves of your own? How do you organize your bookshelf? Are they like mine and about to snap in half from the weight?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bookish Deals (13)

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!

Beautiful Creatures
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - $2.99

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
This whole series looks like it is on sale for $2.99!

The Perils of Pleasure
by Julie Anne Long - $1.99
Scandal has rocked the city of London. Colin Eversea, a handsome, reckless unapologetic rogue is sentenced to hang for murder and, inconveniently for him, the only witness to the crime disappears. Then again, throughout history, the Everseas have always managed to cheat fate in style: Colin is snatched from the gallows by a beautiful, clever mercenary.

Cool-headed, daring Madeleine Greenway is immune to Colin's vaunted charm. Her mission is not to rescue Colin but to kidnap him, and to be paid handsomely for it. But when it becomes clear that whoever wants Colin alive wants Madeline dead, the two become uneasy allies in a deadly race for truth. Together, they'll face great danger—and a passion neither can resist
This is the first in the Pennyroyal Green series, which Daisy and I have reviewed almost all of they come highly recommended. Here is my review of this book.

Game Change
by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin - $2.99
In 2008, the presidential election became blockbuster entertainment. Everyone was watching as the race for the White House unfolded like something from the realm of fiction. The meteoric rise and historic triumph of Barack Obama. The shocking fall of the House of Clinton--and the improbable resurrection of Hillary as Obama's partner and America's face to the world. The mercurial performance of John McCain and the mesmerizing emergence of Sarah Palin. But despite the wall-to-wall media coverage of this spellbinding drama, remarkably little of the real story behind the headlines has yet been told.

In "Game Change," John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, two of the country's leading political reporters, use their unrivaled access to pull back the curtain on the Obama, Clinton, McCain, and Palin campaigns. How did Obama convince himself that, despite the thinness of his resume, he could somehow beat the odds to become the nation's first African American president? How did the tumultuous relationship between the Clintons shape--and warp--Hillary's supposedly unstoppable bid? What was behind her husband's furious outbursts and devastating political miscalculations? Why did McCain make the novice governor of Alaska his running mate? And was Palin merely painfully out of her depth--or troubled in more serious ways?

Based on hundreds of interviews with the people who lived the story, "Game Change" is a reportorial tour de force that reads like a fast-paced novel. Character driven and dialogue rich, replete with extravagantly detailed scenes, this is the occasionally shocking, often hilarious, ultimately definitive account of the campaign of a lifetime.
I believe this is the book that the HBO special that won some Golden Globes.

A Kiss at Midnight
by Eloisa James - $.99
Miss Kate Daltry doesn't believe in fairy tales . . . or happily ever after.

Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince . . . and decides he's anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.

Gabriel likes his fiancée, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn't love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him.

Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.

Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble . . .

Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune . . .

Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.
I liked this one. It's inspired by Cinderella. I reviewed it back in 2010.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One Space or Two?

Take a second and think about how your typing habits. More specifically when you end a sentence, after you type that period do you hit the space bar once or twice? I'm sure the majority of us would say we all hit the space bar twice. Well, in this case the majority loses.

A few days ago I came across this interesting article, Space Invaders. It's about the number one rule of typography most people break: they put two spaces after a period. Who knew that the correct way was only one space? I sure didn't! All throughout school whenever teachers were talking about how to format papers we were always told "never begin a sentence with 'because' or 'and' and there are always two spaces after a period". Now I am rethinking all those English classes.

Fellow readers,
are you guilty of this heinous grammar crime? Are you a one or two spacer?

I tried my absolute hardest to only have one space after each sentence in this post. But it is SO hard after having two spaces ingrained in my head for all those years, it's almost second nature to hit the space bar twice.

*Edit: I am actually really surprised at the number of people that are one-spacers! Two spaces after a period was ingrained into my head in school (I graduated high school in 2004).

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Triple Threat Blog Tour - Top Ten Things Author Megan Miranda Loves About Hysteria

Welcome to our stop along the Bloomsbury Teens Triple Threat Blog Tour! I've (Jana) already participated in this tour on my own blog for Dance of Shadows, and am super excited to have Megan Miranda here today for a special guest post, Broke and Bookish style. Megan knows how much we love our top ten lists here, and has decided to participate with her own list on the top ten things she loves about her book! I'm petty sure she will inspire you to dash away from your computer and run to the nearest bookstore. Thanks for stopping by, Megan!

Top Ten Things Author Megan Miranda Loves About Hysteria

1. The first line. “My mother hid the knife block” was the prompt I gave myself to set the tone and get started. I had a very vague sense of the premise, but a pretty good idea of characters. Surprisingly, the line made it all the way through to the final draft.

2. The relationship between Mallory & Colleen. Colleen may have been my favorite character ever, and the bond between the two of them is the element I love most about the story.

Hysteria 3. The cover. Both the US and the UK versions. I adore them both. And even though they are very different, they both fit the story so well.

4. Reid. I like him a lot. So does Mallory.

5. The combining of past and present storylines. This wasn’t something I set out to do at the start of the book, but it became obvious that what had started out as a series of flashbacks was becoming a story of its own, and that both storylines would, eventually, intersect. I loved that moment when I realized how it would happen… and what it would mean.

6. Using familiar settings. I grew up in NJ and spent a lot of time at the shore each summer, which is where the story begins. But I also went to a boarding school (though not in NH, like this story, and my school was nothing like Monroe), and spent a lot of family vacations hiking in NH. I combined the two a bit (and upped the creep factor) to make the second setting.

7. There’s a reference to an Edgar Allan Poe story in the first chapter. I loved reading his stories when I was in high school, and there’s definitely an influence from it in here.

8. My favorite line of the book. Sometimes, when I’m writing, I randomly write a line where I stop and think, okay, that pretty much captures the story. Again, I was thrilled when it made it into the final draft. This is the line(s): 
“So I let him whisper in my ear and put his hands on my hips. And I listened to him list all the ways in which I was slowly killing him. None of which turned out to be the actual way that I killed him.”
9. Writing the “unknown” factor: I love elements that are unknown in books—where you’re unsure if something is really happening, in some paranormal way, or if it’s only happening in the character’s mind… and it was really fun to be on the writing-end of it this time.

10. The ending. Without giving anything away, I’m happy with where all the characters end up. And I hope others will be happy about it, too 

Megan MirandaAbout the Author: Megan Miranda

Megan is a scientist - turned - teacher - turned - stay-at-home-mom - turned - writer. She is not nearly as indecisive as she sounds. She lives near Charlotte, North Carolina, where she volunteers as an MIT Educational Counselor, does the mom thing by day, and writes by night.

Her first novel, FRACTURE, was published in January 2012 by Walker/Bloomsbury. HYSTERIA, a YA psychological thriller, will be published in February 2013. VENGEANCE, a companion/sequel to FRACTURE, will follow in 2014.

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