Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Luxury of Rereading

Well, better late than never!  It's been one of those really full of family time Easters, so I'm only just now settling down to write my post.  Pardon my tardiness.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about rereading...

It all started when a good Twitter friend wrote a blog post about a favorite book of mine and mentioned a concept that I had not seen during my multiple readings of this particular book.  I, naturally, wanted to respond to her thoughts, but decided I really needed to read the book again myself to see if I pick up on it.  That's not to say that I am reading to prove her wrong or anything; but I want to respond with a close memory of the book.
I recently reread The Great Gatsby for an event and realized how much I love that book.
I recently found out that The Good Earth--a book that I always think fondly of when I remember that I've read it--is actually part of a trilogy.  Of course, I need to start the trilogy from the very beginning!
I recently have been thinking a lot about John Steinbeck because of a project at work and really want to read his magnificent works--East of Eden and The Grapes of Wrath.

It seems that I am surrounded by the impulse to reread books from my past the summer that I'm 25 (rather, the first summer that I'm 25, because I plan on "being" 25 for a few years).  Ooh, and now I'm thinking that maybe age has something to do with it...Ugh.  I'm too young to be that nostalgic.

Anyway!  I know that within the book community there is a pretty good sized debate about rereading books.  Some people are working to read allthebooks and life is too short for rereads.  Other people like to look back on books they remember fondly to see if things have changed as their lives have changed.

A favorite blogger of mine has posted about doing a Summer of Rereading.  I like this idea.  In Oklahoma it's usually this close to being too hot to think during the summer.  You don't want to have to tax yourself with something new, unfamiliar, and challenging!  You want to curl up at the pool and read something familiar.  Or curl up in the AC if you are so inclined.  You aren't as busy because there's no school and summer is a time for fun, not work and blah.  The days are longer so you have more time to read.  I don't know what it is about summer that makes it a good time to reexplore and reevaluate, but I am definitely going to do it this year.

If reading is a luxury, a chance to get away from the blah-ness of daily life, then rereading seems like the ultimate luxurious act of pleasure.  I already know what's going to happen in these books.  I already once felt favorably towards these books.  Yet I am reading them again for the absolute and utter sheer pleasure of reading them.   It sends shivers down my spine.  I have hundreds of unread books on my shelves, but I am going to spend three months reading books I've already read.  I love it.

I have several ideas of what I want to reread, but no definite list.  Summer feels like a good time to do it, but summer seems so far away!  There's that whole thirty days of April and a part of May that I have to live first.  I may go ahead and start summer early.

So, where do you fall on the topic of rereading?  For it?  Against it?  Why?

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 3/17 - 3/30

Kelly's Book Haul

Looking over the books I've gotten in the past few weeks, only four can't be classified as historical fiction. Good thing it's my favorite genre! It's been a good time in my reading life lately.

From the library:
-Sever by Lauren DeStefano: I'm still not sure what to think about the final installment of the trilogy...
-Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
-Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender: so creepy! A bit like YA Stephen King.
-Captive Queen by Alison Weir
-Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
-Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe and The Last Great Dance on Earth by Sandra Gulland: the final two books in an absolutely wonderful trilogy about Josephine Bonaparte

-The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: LOVE. I read this in a few hours. SO GOOD.
-The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick: the pretty cover convinced me to buy it :)
-Blood Royal by Vanora Bennett

ARCs for review:
-Roses HaveThorns by Sandra Byrd: I'm excited for this one, I love Elizabeth I!
-The Queen's Rivals by Brandy Purdy: I've heard nothing but good things about this author so I can't wait to start this!

Daisy's Book Haul

Egalleys for Review:

First off I need to tell you about the book that made me want to drop everything and which I have already read:

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson: I love, love, LOVE this series and The Bitter Kingdom was a perfect ending, but now I'm sad I won't be going on adventures with Elisa anymore... But you should all read it!!

-Hopeless by Colleen Hoover: this sounds REALLY intense and slightly creepy!
-It Happened One Midnight by Julie Anne Long: I love the Pennyroyal Green series and Julie Anne Long's writing in general, these books make me happy!
-An English Bride in Scotland by Lynsay Sands: there is just something about lairds.
-No Angel by Helen Keeble: this will be either REALLY good or really bad, I'm counting on the first.
-Find Me by Romily Bernard: I will be so creeped out by this book and it will be awesome!
-The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas: ALL THE EXCITEMENT! This sounds like such a me-book!
-Twinmaker by Sean Williams: because who hasn't dreamed of an easy way to improve your appearance? I'm curious to see the nasty effects this has!
-The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White: I've heard pretty much nothing but good things about her books and this one has EGYPTIAN GODS in them! Be still my mythology-loving heart!
-Blackout by Robison Wells: a mysterious virus infecting teens with impossible powers, YES I'm all over this!
-Don't Look Now by Michelle Gagnon: described as the teen version of The Girl of the Dragon Tattoo, it sounds really good!
-False Sight by Dan Krokos: I LOVED False Memory and can't wait to continue this series!
-The Taming of Ryder Cavanagh by Stephanie Laurens: I want so bad to LOVE one of her books again, I do always enjoy them though :)
-Beauty and the Blacksmith by Tessa Dare: a Spindle Cove novella, I've fallen in love with Tessa Dare's writing.
-Hideous Love by Stephanie Hemphill: it's about Mary Shelley and sounds just fascinating!
-Prophecy Girl by Cecily White: this sounds like a fun paranormal romance series!

-Crossed by Ally Condie: I haven't read Matched yet, but I will soon! And then this one!
-The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I gave into peer pressure and bought it, even though this book scares me ;)
-Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: I still need to start this series but it bugged me that I didn't have the final book.
-A Beginner's Guide to Rakes by Suzanne Enoch: I've been eyeing this author's books for a while and figured this would be as good a book to start with as any :)
-Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson: a retelling of Bluebeard, the fairytale that gave me nightmares, I really want to love this, I've heard mixed things about it though..
-Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs: I really enjoyed Sweet Venom and am looking forward to continuing this series!

-Once Every Never by Lesley Livingston: I won this in a giveaway by my lovely blogging buddy Karin from My Life..., thank you so much! I'm really excited to read this!

Oh, and if you're looking to add to your haul, I'm having a giveaway for a boxed set of The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare over my personal blog Between the Pages, open to US, Canada and UK residents!

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, March 30, 2013

Bookish Deals (16)

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! This weekend is hella hectic so I only had time to throw in two. If you have any other good book deals, throw them into the comments!

The Edge of Never by J.A. Redmerski - $.99
Twenty-year-old Camryn Bennett thought she knew exactly where her life was going. But after a wild night at the hottest club in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, she shocks everyone-including herself-when she decides to leave the only life she's ever known and set out on her own. Grabbing her purse and her cell phone, Camryn boards a Greyhound bus ready to find herself. Instead, she finds Andrew Parrish.

Sexy and exciting, Andrew lives life like there is no tomorrow. He persuades Camryn to do things she never thought she would and shows her how to give in to her deepest, most forbidden desires. Soon he becomes the center of her daring new life, pulling love and lust and emotion out of her in ways she never imagined possible. But there is more to Andrew than Camryn realizes. Will his secret push them inseparably together-or destroy them forever?

The Host by Stephanie Meyer - $1.99
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.

Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy that takes over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. But Wanderer, the invading "soul" who occupies Melanie's body, finds its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Soon Wanderer and Melanie-reluctant allies-set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Daisy Talks About Series Ending

A while ago, Jamie talked about her fear or reading the next book in a series on her blog. And I realized I don't so much share this fear as that I have a fear of reading the last book in a series. Because then it will end and pretty much it leaves me like this:

Only more like: but WHY did this series have to end? Now what will I do with my time if I can't wonder what'll happen next for the characters I've come to know and love?? How will I survive not living in this world and not going on new adventures anymore?? After reading the last book in a series I always feel a bit sad, like I've had to say goodbye to friends who are moving halfway across the world or something. They're still there, just not in the same way they used to be.

And I know, I know, I can re-read the books and get lost in the world again, but it's just not the same! And what if one of my favourites dies? How do I cope with this knowledge? What if the main character ends up with the wrong guy FOREVER? (See, this is why I don't like love triangles)

So 2013 is going to be a hard year for me as I'm going to have to say goodbye to a lot of my beloved series, or maybe I'll just put it off, after all, I still haven't read Inheritance by Christopher Paolini yet either..

So how about you guys? Do you share my (maybe irrational) fear of reading the last book in a series because there just won't be any books after that EVER? Have series hangover like me? Any series you're particularly dreading the end of?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On a Rereading of Divergent and Insurgent

I know we have a lot of YA fans who read this blog, so I imagine the vast majority of you have read the first two novels of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Divergent and Insurgent. I’m not an overly huge fan of YA in general, but I love me some dystopia, so these novels were right up my alley, especially since I heard about them right after I read The Hunger Games.

There were a couple of things that I thought upon first reading Divergent and, later, Insurgent: first, that I liked Divergent better than The Hunger Games; second, that although the insistence upon romance in YA novels tends to annoy me, Four is hot enough that I’m okay with it; third, that I enjoyed Veronica Roth’s writing style; and finally, that the plot was incredibly well-thought out and well-told. A year later, here are my thoughts on those four things.

First, I liked Divergent better than The Hunger Games. This remains true. The world of Divergent is much more self-contained but no less colorful, and I liked that we get details about all of the factions whereas in The Hunger Games, we only get specific details about a few of the districts. I think I also like Tris more than Katniss. Even though Tris has annoying martyr-ish tendencies, those are better than Katniss’ outright abrasiveness/obvious blindness to the fact that two boys she’s known practically since birth have been in love with her...practically since birth.

Second, Four is hot enough that I’m okay with sappy YA romance. Yup, definitely still true. While I’m not into tattoos at all, and can’t honestly see myself being attracted to someone throwing daggers at my face regardless of how brooding and strong and silent they are, something about Four just makes me SWOON. Although he annoys me when he gets all secretive and annoying in Insurgent, I think I could find it in me to take him back.

Third, I enjoyed Veronica Roth’s writing style. This one is where I don’t agree with myself as much. I still think Roth writes better than Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, but I found the style much more “meh” than when I first read it. The present tense annoyed me slightly more than it did initially, but I guess I can live with that. That’s not to say she can’t tell a kickass story, because she can, and I’m looking forward to seeing how her writing develops as she grows into an established author. But I do definitely think she has a lot of room to grow in that department. (Not that I can talk, really, but...)

Finally, the plot was incredibly well-thought out and well-told. Still agree with myself here. The idea of factions fascinates me and you can tell it fascinates Roth as well. She explores all of the different viewpoints of her characters, and they are all believable. Especially when they talk about the Divergent, and some express concern about their “loyalties,” because they could belong in any number of factions, whereas most people in the society are cut out--and therefore loyal to--exactly ONE faction. And while you, the reader, is like, “Duh, of course Tris can be trusted,” you can also see from that other character’s point of view. And that’s where things get twisty and complicated and AWESOME.

The bottom line here is that if you haven’t read Divergent and Insurgent yet, make sure you do it before this fall when the third and final book comes out. There’s no title yet, but there is a release date: October 22, 2013! I was going to wait until a bit later in the year to reread Divergent and Insurgent, but I decided I didn’t want to, especially since I hadn’t read them back to back yet. That’s definitely making a huge difference in me remembering important plot points and who people are. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, you should read Divergent and Insurgent and then the third when it comes out in October, because they are awesome.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jen's Top Ten Books She Recommends The Most

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Book recommendations. They can be a scary, scary thing. I always feel stressed when someone asks to to recommend a book they might like. So. Much. Pressure. What if they HATE a book that I LOVE?! These are the books I find myself recommending over and over again.

Top Ten Books I Recommend The Most

(and the brief commentary I usually add with it): 

  1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: AMAZING. Warning, don't read this book in public. There is a good chance you'll cry.
  2. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson: A story about a cross-country road trip and the pages of the book are filled like a scrapbook.
  3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I usually recommend this book when I find out someone has never read it. I'm always shocked by people who have never read this book.
  4. The Fault in our Stars by John Green: Another AMAZING book you shouldn't read in public because you're going to cry.
  5. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: I actually read this book because Jamie used to rave about it all the time. It's been a few years since I read it but I still find myself recommending it to other people.
  6. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler: Because you should always read banned books/challenged books.
  7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher: A great book that makes you think how you treat others and the potential consequences of those actions.
  8. The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen: *Sa-woon* This was the first Sarah Dessen book I read and it began my love for her books!
  9. If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Forman: Just read these two books. You'll love them, I promise!
  10. Trafficked by Kim Purcell: It's scary and sad that things like this still happen.

What are the top ten books that you recommend the most? I'm looking forward to finding new books to add to my to-read list!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Kelly reviews The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Format: Kindle ebook

Hadley is on her way to London to attend her father's wedding and everything is going wrong. She's late, ends up missing her flight, and is stuck wandering around JFK until the next flight. The only good thing is Oliver, the wonderful British boy she meets in the waiting area and who ends up being her seatmate for the seven hour flight. They talk and bond all night yet end up losing each other at the airport in London with no ways of contact. Hadley then makes her way to her father's wedding, fighting conflicting feelings of facing her new stepmother and hurt towards her father for his new life. All the while, Hadley wonders where Oliver is and if she can ever find him again.

In the past six months, I've been in a lot of different airports. They've been humongous ones (Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles) as well as foreign ones (extra scary not knowing the language). All I remember about them is A LOT of people, A LOT of madness, and feeling like I was going to lose myself in the huge crowds. Jennifer Smith accurately portrayed the crazyness of airports as well as rush and nervousness of being late and/or missing a flight. Unfortunately, I can't much relate to her her "fated flight romance" scenes, as that has yet to happen to me. I always end up next to old ladies or babies!

It's hard to get a grip on the fact that this book takes place in less than 24 hours yet so much happens and so many miles are covered. It's a pretty basic and predictable story overall, but it was extremely cute and made me smile and tear up plenty of times. Highly recommended for all YA lovers or those who want a quick read while traveling! 4 stars.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Julia Reviews The Archived by Victoria Schwab

Title/Author: The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Publisher/Year Published: 2013 by Hyperion
How I got this book:The library
Why I read this book: The summary sounded really interesting to me. 
Rating: 3 stars

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books 

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive. 

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive. 

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.
In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.
The Archived is a book that I wanted to like more than I think I actually did. Doesn't that summary sound super interesting? Well, it was and it wasn't. The Archive is told in flashbacks of memories had with Da, our heroines grandfather (which is not explained and I thought it was her father for a while until I realized) teaching her to be a Keeper, and the present day where her family has just moved across town to an old hotel converted to apartments to escape the memory of her suddenly departed younger brother. 

There is a lot going on in this story. The flashback, the grief of her parents (both who are handling it differently), her job as a Keeper and that whole world of the Archive, the move to the hotel, the opening of the coffee shop, you get the gist. At first this is a bit overwhelming, but once the plot kicks in a bit more (later than I would have hoped) it get's its sea legs. The plot is a mix of mystery and suspense. 

Mac is a Keeper so she gets to go to The Archive and the Narrows (the world between the worlds). The Narrows are what she is suppose to keep clean from woken Histories. Her job is to guide them back to sleep. Because she has just moved she is assigned to a new territory and there is where things get strange.

The characters are just as much of a jumble as the plot. The characters never really connected with me and it felt like we had only scratched the surface with them. Mac herself acts erratic at times, and I am not sure if it is her reaction to grief or just story telling that I didn't connect to. Wes, our requisite friend, however is awesome. He is a character that pops up, and I just want to hang out with him. 

That was my problem with this. There are a lot of things that are pretty cool concepts, but the execution left me feeling like an outsider looking in. Ben's (Mac's brother) death is a whole lot more core to the story then the summary makes it sound. The plot is pretty predictable once that shows up. I think my favorite character was Wes. This story needing more time with him.

I think the world building was just okay. It goes back to my "This is a great concept, but poor execution" thing. Will this book work for some people? Sure. It's not unreadable by any means. It is also one of those sneaky series books I didn't know was a series. But the one good thing it has going for it is that is can be read as a stand alone. I am perfectly content. I see where she can keep going, but I dont need to follow. 

Overall, the book was okay. If the summary interests you maybe check it out from the library or read the sample. I think you would be able to tell pretty quickly if it was worth your time.  

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tahleen's latest series obsession: Virgin River by Robyn Carr

So by now you all know I mostly read YA and middle grade books. I'm a teen librarian, it's my job. But every now and then I feel the urge to check out something more adult, though not necessarily "better." My latest discovery is the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr.

I got a nice gift card for Christmas to B&N, and since I own a nook I like to use gift cards for e-books. I saw that the first four books in this series were on sale for $10 and took a chance on them. I'm really glad I did.

In Carr's books, Virgin River is a tiny town in Northern California way up in the mountains and woods. Like, I mean tiny--600 ish population. The first book tells Mel's story. She is a young widow whose husband was killed in a violent crime, and in an effort to get away from LA and the emergency room in the city, she decides to take a crack at country medicine. Unfortunately it's not really what she's expecting, mostly because the cabin she was promised is pretty much falling down ("It has a bird nest in the oven!"). But before she can leave, a baby is abandoned at the crotchety old doctor's house where she was originally supposed to be helping out (even though he clearly stated he didn't need her help). So Mel stays, at least for a while. And there the series begins.

I flew through the first three books in this series. I really like the small-town atmosphere, which isn't always exactly neighborly as one might expect. And did I mention that each book is a romance? Yeah, this is a romance series, and it gets pretty hot sometimes to be honest. But it's more than that; it's about family, and what that can mean to different people. Each book sets up future story lines with subplots and perspective shifts (all told in third person), as well as continuing each previous couple's story through the next installments. No one's story really ends after their book ends, which makes me very invested in their lives since I've gotten to know them so well.

It's true, during the third book I could really tell where the next book was going. Every time a single 20- or 30-something shows up on the scene, I know they'll get their own book at some point, and I know if someone is going to die or something. It gets pretty predictable. But I still really like it, especially because it's getting to be familiar. I'm not sure if it will continue this way for me, but I'll enjoy it while it does.

Have you read the Virgin River series? What do you think of it? Do you have any series you read because they're comforting and familiar?

TBTB Crew Dishes About The Best Books We Read This Winter

Winter may have kept most of inside these past few months (minus our resident Floridian Kelly) but we got a lot of books read! Here is a sampling of the best we've read during the Winter months. Here's to more great books in Spring and warmer weather. I (Jamie) say this with a cross look on my face because it is in the 30's here in Philly.

Gone Girl and The Green Mile. Both ripped my heart out but in hugely different ways.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline - A futuristic tale set inside the world of the past and the present narrated by Wil Wheaton. A definite win. (review)

One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean - The easiest way to sum up this book is Pippa searches for answers regarding the marriage bed. Hilarity ensues. (review)

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis - Since I read Across the Universe in 2011, I have not read another YA series that is as awesomely unique and imaginative as this. (review)

Just One Day by Gayle Forman - After spending part of my summer in Paris, I loved going back there through this book. And I loved the romance so much. This book is perfection.

The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman by Louise Plummer - This is an old, hidden, underrated gem of a novel. I love Kate and her quirkiness, and I love how sparkly and Christmassy the book is. I loved every single character, and Louise's writing style is amazing.

Jen's Pick: I'm going to second Just One Day by Gayle Forman.  It really felt like Allyson was in my head sometimes.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: I won't lie...I had to trudge through the first 60-70 pages of this one but OMG SO WORTH IT. If you like historical fiction (whether it be adult or young adult), this is a MUST READ. I've been recommending it to everyone regardless of what they typically read (My review of Code Name Verity)

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller: One of my new favorite YA contemporaries! I can't say enough good things about it and debut author Trish Doller, I feel, is going to be a big name in the YA contemp world. (my review of Something Like Normal)

Looking for Alaska by John Green and If I Stay by Gayle Forman - both of these books, which I read while on Christmas vacation, punched me right in the feels. I cried. A lot.

What are the best books YOU have read this Winter? Have you read any of these books?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

how do you feel about cover re-designs?

Hello, all! It's Jana, here today to talk about something that happens in the book world that almost always drives me nuts. Cover re-designs. I'm sure you all know about the recent unveiling of Stephanie Perkins's new Anna and Lola book covers. I discussed it on my blog, if you missed it. Anyway, this announcement made me start thinking of all the other covers that have been made over throughout the years. It kind of drives me nuts! Here are my main points on this issue:
1. It's confusing to people who do not keep up with bookish news. My mom recently bought a book by her favorite author. Turns out it's the same book she read years ago, but with a new cover.

2. It destroys the brand identity of that book. Yes, Anna and Lola's covers were pushing it a little, and I didn't love them... but they became iconic. Everyone knew exactly what those covers looked like. We readers only have a title, author, and picture to go by when we browse bookstores. Everyone knows that pictures linger longer in our minds than names do. When I went looking for Twilight in my local bookstore years ago, I just remembered it had pale arms and hands, and an apple on the cover. I did not know the name, and I did not know the author. I went in and asked for the book with that cover, and the bookseller knew immediately. We know our books by their covers, just like we know our friends by their faces. If you change that, confusion happens. It's almost deceptive. 

3. If you're going to re-design a cover, PLEASE make it better than the original. At least then we can kind of understand the change. But if it's uglier, please leave it alone! Take Across the Universe by Beth Revis, for example. The book went through three cover design, and got progressively worse. I love the first one! The second was meh. The third? Please. It does not even look like a young adult romance anymore. It looks like an old sci-fi novel. I get that they want to appeal to a wider demographic, but there were other ways that could have been achieved. 

Now yes, I understand that sometimes the new covers are nice. Sarah Dessen's books, for example. I like the new covers, even though they all pretty much look the same now. I can handle that change, and I can appreciate the attempt at giving her a specific look and feel. A brand identity, if you will. 

And sometimes they are a necessary change. My Victoria Holt books have had some major face lifts. But that's to be understood. Some of her books are 50 or 60 years old. That makes sense. But Across the Universe went through two cover changes before book two was even released. Bad planning? Fickle pubs? Who knows? 

So, I'm going to jump off my soapbox now and give you the floor! How do you feel about this new bookish trend of re-designing covers? Are there any cover re-designs you love or hate? I wanna hear all about it. :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Top Ten Books Kelly Just HAD to Buy but Still Hasn't Read

Last week we told you that we were nominated for Best Meme and thanks to you guys -- we made the final run-off vote! You can now vote for Top Ten Tuesday in the finals with one click.

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If any of you try to tell us that you've never pined after/lusted for/impulsively bought a book that you though you absolutely couldn't live without and then never read it - you're LYING! We've all done it in the past and will again in the future. So many of the unread books on my shelves (or worse, packed away in storage) were books I whined about NEEDING but then I either lost interest or forgot about them. It's a bad habit that us bookish folks can't seem to get rid of :) Here's a list of ten books that I've been ignoring for far too long:

  1. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
  2. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier - I've read three or four other books by this author and LOVE them...but I been gracefully ignoring this one for some reason.
  3. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo - I went through a kick a few years ago of devouring the classics, and even with the recent movie, it's still gathering dust on my shelf.
  4. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
  5. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - Blogger friends I trust have heartily recommended this one and I snapped it up at a charity shop. That was maybe two years ago.
  6. The Beatles: The Biography by Bob Spitz - I possibly love the Beatles more than my own life, but I've for some reason just never opened biography even though it's supposedly the best.
  7. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
  8. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  9. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - I rushed out to buy this one since I loved Shanghai Girls by Lisa See. I don't know why I've been ignoring it for so long!
  10. Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky - After a WWII kick, I thought this book sounded perfect and begged my best friend to lend me her copy...she's since moved across the country with no hopes of getting it back soon (I'm not even sure where it is in my room!).

What books are on your list of shame...errrr I mean list of books you HAD to have and still sit unread!?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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

Daisy's Book Haul

-Insatiable by Meg Cabot: I've been meaning to read more of Meg Cabot's books and this one was bargainpriced, so of course I had to order it!
-Slide by Jill Hathaway: I've been feeling really guilty about slacking on reading my review copy of it and bought the paperback to make up for it :)
-Pulse by Patrick Carman: this book was screaming at me to buy it because it just sounds like such a me-book! I'm hoping it'll be awesome!
-Shiver, Linger and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater: I already owned and read the first book in the series, but couldn't resist the sale on this pretty boxed set! I didn't love Shiver, but I do want to know why everybody was raving about the series so I'll read it eventually.
-Requiem by Lauren Oliver: EEE! It's HERE! I will binge-read Pandemonium and this one soon!
-Be My Prince by Julianne MacLean: I wanted to try a new historical romance author and this seemed a good book to start with :)
-Switched by Amanda Hocking: people seem to either LOVE it or hate it, which always makes me curious about a book!
-The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter: I'm both sad the series is ending and excited to see what will happen after that GINORMOUS cliffhanger at the end of Goddess Interrupted!
-The Trouble With Flirting by Claire LaZebnik: Epic Fail was really cute and this looks like a cute contemporary read as well :)
-The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen: so I haven't read The False Prince yet, I obviously needed this book!
-Gilt by Katherine Longshore: LOVED THIS BOOK! Needed my own copy :)

Egalleys for Review
-The Deepest Night by Shana Abe: this series just sounds so exciting!
-The Girl with the Iron Touch by Kady Cross: I really, really like this series, these books are what make me give steampunk a second, third and fourth chance!
-Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle: I don't know why I hadn't heard of this series before, because it sounds like just the thing for my Tudor obsessed heart!
-Ten Reasons to Stay by Sabrina Jeffries: I've been hearing really good things about this author and this novella sounds like it has the potential to be really sweet!
-Lady Vivian Defies a Duke by Samantha Grace: I love those romances in which someone plays matchmaker and ends up falling for the person he's matching up with someone else :)
-One Night With a Rake by Mia Marlowe: a rake who falls in love. Yes I am a sap for these kinds of stories!
-The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry: sometimes I just need to get my creep on and this sounds like just the book for it!
-This is W.A.R. by Lisa & Laura Roecker: a girl is killed and four other girls our out for VENGEANCE, YES!

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, March 16, 2013

Bookish Deals (15)

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!

The Governess Affair by Courntey Milan - FREE
Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she’s demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it’s not the duke she fears. It’s his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke’s dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn’t stand a chance. But she can’t stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.

Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner’s son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it’s just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don’t work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can’t bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He’ll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…

This novella is free at Amazon only, but is 99 cents at other retails (that's the regular price). I loved this book!

The Irish Healer by Nancy Herriman - $2.99

Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. She no longer trusts in her abilities—or God’s mercy. But when a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. James Edmunds, wearied by the deaths of too many patients, has his own doubts about God’s grace. Can they each face their darkest fears? Or is it too late to learn that trust and love just might heal their hearts?

Here's something for your St. Patrick's Day reading. Christian fiction with an Irish woman.

Austentatious by Alyssa Goodnight - $2.99
In this quirky, sexy novel set against the lively, music-filled backdrop of Austin, Texas, a young woman learns that romance can wreak havoc with even the best laid plans. . .
It started innocently enough. While browsing in one of Austin's funky little shops, Nicola James is intrigued by a blank vintage journal she finds hidden among a set of Jane Austen novels. Even though Nic is a straight-laced engineer, she's still a sucker for anything Austen-esque. But her enthusiasm quickly turns to disbelief once she starts writing in the journal--because somehow, it's writing her back. . .

Miss Nicola James will be sensible and indulge in a little romance. Those twelve tiny words hit Nic like a thunderbolt, as if her diary was channeling Austen herself! Itching for a bit of excitement, Nic decides to follow her "Fairy Jane's" advice. The result: a red-hot romance with a sexy Scottish musician who charms his way into Nic's heart in about five seconds flat.

Sean MacInnes is warm, funny, and happens to think Nic is the most desirable woman he's ever met. But a guy like Sean doesn't exactly fit into her Life Plan. With no one but Fairy Jane to guide her, Nic must choose between the life she thought she wanted--and the kind of happy ending she never saw coming. . ..
Finally something for you Austen fans. I've heard things about this book. I can't remember though if they were good or bad. So they are just things.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bridget's Question to Fellow Bloggers

Dearest blogging friends,

It's a struggle to write this post today. Why? Because I am in a blogging slump. A slump for the ages. Anyone who follows my blog knows I haven't posted in a few weeks. Why? Not because I haven't been reading (I have been) and not because I haven't had the time (I have) but because...I don't feel like it. I haven't even been keeping up with the books I've read by marking them in Goodreads, and that takes like three seconds. I haven't even looked at my blog dashboard in weeks.

Which I suppose I'm entitled to, because it's not like I'm getting paid for blogging. But I have followers, and I have a responsibility to them. But for whatever reason, I just can't get myself to sit down and write.

What's really dumb about it is that when I do write, I remember how much I enjoy it. I wrote a review of a website for a tech blog I'm helping get off the ground, and I had FUN doing it! I thought, "Hey, maybe now I'll be out of my slump." Buuuuuuut I'm not.

My question to you is this: What do you do to get out of your writing slumps? Do you just bully yourself into doing it because you know you should? Or do you just wait for it to pass? I've done both in the past and I guess they have an equal amount of effectiveness, but this time I kind of feel like just waiting it out because as you can tell from this post, I don't write well when writing is something that I don't really feel like doing.

Anyway, any ideas or tips you have, my lovely fellow bloggers, leave them here! And keep your fingers crossed I get out of this slump soon... :)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kelly's review of "Bitter Greens"

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Publisher: Allison & Busby, 25 February 2013
Twitter Hashtag: #BitterGreensVirtualTour

I received Bitter Greens about a week ago in the mail and was pretty worried that I wouldn't get it finished in time. However, even at almost 500 pages, I finished it in less than 12 hours! It was simply - and I don't EVER use this word lightly - unputdownable and is already a contender for my favorite book of 2013.

Bitter Greens is a retelling of the fairy tale about Rapunzel, but it still so much more than that. It's the story of three women: Selena, a great Venetian beauty in the early 16th century, who in order to preserve her youthful looks, kidnaps Margherita (of course not named Rapunzel, but that still has a part) in order to feed off of her youth, and Charlotte-Rose, a former lady in the court of French king Louis XIV who has been banished to a nunnery and is having the story of Selena and Margherita told to her. Sound confusing? It may be at first - if you need a better explanation, click HERE for the book's goodreads page. The POVs are not sequential and jump around a fair bit, but soon enough you'll get used to this. Kate Forsyth is one of the most wonderful storytellers I've come across - everything from the decadence of Versailles to the stink of Venice was written so vividly.

Charlotte-Rose's story is by far my favorite. Of course I love reading about kings and their courts, but Louis XIV is one of the best and Charlotte-Rose's role in it all was intriguing. She is a person who really existed and is a wonderful person to read about. She wrote books, was sassy to the king, and rescued her lover by dressing up as a bear. It was interesting to see her change from a fancy, liberal court lady to a humble woman in a nunnery. I can't wait to check out some biographies about her! In all three stories, witchcraft plays quite a big role, and as a historical novel, there is always some danger in those stories. Bitter Greens is a great look into the beliefs and laws of the times. God forbid if you were anything but Catholic in either France or Italy during these times! You'll certainly read about these wars and prejudices as well. I love that I received subtle history knowledge while reading an entertaining story.

I was going to offer up my copy for a giveaway but I've just become too attached to it (and the gorgeous cover)! If you guys do want a chance to win a copy, hit up the link under the banner for some blogs that may be having giveaways. I encourage you to do so as I can't recommend this book highly enough! 5+ stars.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Howl's Moving Castle

Book/Author: Howl’s Movie Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
How I got it: Downloaded it from Audible
Genre: Fantasy
In which a witch bewitched the hatter's daughter - and then some....

Sophie lived in the town of Market Chipping, which was in Ingary, a land in which anything could happen, and often did - especially when the Witch of the Waste got her dander up. Which was often.

As her younger sisters set out to seek their fortunes, Sophie stayed in her father's hat shop. Which proved most unadventurous, until the Witch of the Waste came in to buy a bonnet, but was not pleased. Which is why she turned Sophie into an old lady. Which was spiteful witchery.

Now Sophie must seek her own fortune. Which means striking a bargain with the lecherous Wizard Howl. Which means entering his ever-moving castle, taming a blue fire-demon, and meeting the Witch of the Waste head-on. Which was more than Sophie bargained for...
So I’m late the party here… It seems like everyone else has read this book, every time I mentioned it I’d get that look. The “Seriously? You haven’t read it?” look.  I just barely saw the Miyazaki movie based on the book a couple years ago. My audible credits started stacking up again and as I was trying to pick out a book, Howl’s Moving Castle popped up as a suggestion. It had great ratings so I decided to give it a try.
I really enjoyed it. The story has great humor, and the characters are fantastic. The world building is great, so many details. Sophie is delightful. Absolutely stubborn and doesn’t bend to anyone’s will. She constantly doubts her own abilities, only to have her own opinion of herself proved wrong by making a tricky move, outsmarting someone.
If you’ve seen the movie, then you know how the first half of the book goes. They’re almost identical. Halfway through however, they split off into completely different directions. Both are good though. This is one of the rare times when I can say that I like the book just as much as the movie, INCLUDING the changes.
It drags a bit in the middle, but for the most part it clips right along and keeps you pulled into the story with all the adventures Sophie has.
If you’re looking for a traditional fantasy novel, this is definitely a good one. The audio is excellent, I really enjoyed listening to it.
My rating, 4 Stars.
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