Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Cocktail & Conversation - The big ol' DNF

Is it hard for you to put down books you aren't into? Do you have any sort of method to decide to put down a book? Do you often pick back up books you put down?

Jamie says:  I'm HORRIBLE when it comes to putting down books. I wrote a post about having a hard time putting down books and have made it my resolution this year to be a little more ruthless in putting them down. I'm just always SO afraid that I would have loved the book if I gave it a little more time. PLUS if I get really far I feel like I've already invested THAT much time so I should finish. But NOT in 2013...I will DNF like a boss if I'm not digging it.

Lori says:  I actually have the opposite problem!  I am really bad about setting aside a book that I really am enjoying because something else caught my eye or played into my mood.  This happens far too often.  I usually have a low finished book count because of this.  If I tracked pages, though, I'd have read a TON.  I want to be better at sticking with my books to the end.  I mean, I paid for the things.  Might as well read them.  There are some books that I have started and realized that I just don't enjoy them because I just cannot relate, so I quickly and easily put those down.  But when it's a classic, I feel guilty.  However, I recently decided that I may never finish Little Women and that is OK with me.  I don't have to like or even finish every classic in the world.

Jana says: I'm a combination of my two girls above! I used to be horrible at DNFing, to the point of extreme misery and loathing of my bookish hobby. Back then, I read fewer books each year because it took me weeks sometimes to finish a book. I have since taught myself to be ok with quitting a book I'm just not feeling. I give a book at least 50 pages, but if I'm not a fan by then I quit it. And you know what? It's liberating. I control all the books! They don't control me. :) 

Bridget says: I'm pretty bad at reading outside of my comfort zone, so I tend to start those books, say "meh," and then go read something by Stephen King, or read a book that I'd had my eye on for a while. For example, I started Hiding In Sunshine a few days ago, which I got from NetGalley, but then I decided Rebecca was calling my name, and then it was Gone Girl, and now I don't know if I'll go back to Hiding in Sunshine since it didn't capture my attention enough to keep me away from other things in the first place. But if there's a book that I REALLY want to try, even though I know it might take me a while (i.e. I just started The Eye of the World, even though it sounds like it'll totally go straight over my head), I feel a lot more guilty putting it down and picking something else up.

What about you all?? Are you able to put down books if you don't like them or must you press on even if it is worse than going to the dentist?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Bridget's Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters EVER

For more info on Top Ten Tuesday & the future schedule go here!

1. Mrs. Norris - Mansfield Park, Jane Austen. Mrs. Norris must be one of the most flat-out evil characters in all of literature--but not in a Count Dracula or Pennywise kind of evil. The petty, mean, horrible-person-but-totally-human kind of evil that Jane Austen so excels at writing. Every time she opens her mouth I want to punch her in the face, and the reason she’s so frustrating is because I CAN’T PUNCH HER IN THE FACE BECAUSE SHE’S A FICTIONAL CHARACTER.

2. Fanny Price - Mansfield Park, Jane Austen. Fanny is almost as frustrating as Mrs. Norris because of her refusal to stand up to her! Ugh, I just want to shake her sometimes. But of course I can’t because, you know, she’s fictional.

3. Katniss Everdeen - The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins. Katniss gets on my nerves for a lot of reasons. First, she’s resistant to be the symbol that all the districts need to unite against the capital, which I understand, but come on, girl, your people need you. Second, she then spends her time agonizing over which boy she wants--which, again, understandable since they’re constantly competing for her affections (and, of course, there’s the whole keeping-up-the-image thing with Peeta), but she really should have sat them both down and been like, “Guys, lay off, we’re like sixteen and we’ve got saving of the world to do. SO CHILL WITH THE HORMONES.” Cause yeah it’s nice to be adored and all but COME ON. And third because (SPOILER ALERT!!!) she winds up with Peeta in the end. Not that I wanted her to be with Gale, either, though. I wanted her to just be badass and awesome for the rest of her life, and maybe find someone who matches her in badassery and awesomeness. Peeta’s too wimpy and Gale is too underhanded. Sigh.

4. Stanley Uris - It, Stephen King. Okay, before I say anything else, I’ll just have you know that I LOVE everything about this book, even the characters that drive me a little crazy. Stan definitely does that...if not because (AGAIN, SPOILER ALERT) he commits suicide at the beginning of the book, but because while they’re kids, it takes him so much longer to get his ultra-rational, future-accountant’s mind around what’s happening right in front of his eyes. Compared to the other kids, he just seems weaker. But I do love his sense of humor so I guess he’s not SO frustrating.

5. Ma - Room, Emma Donoghue. As far as Room goes, I believe it deserves all the praise it gets, but one thing that really irritated me was how (again...SPOILER ALERT) when they actually escape, the mother just seems to completely give up on life rather than trying to help her poor son assimilate into a world that he has never known and doesn’t understand. Obviously she went through a hell of a lot of trauma, but it struck me as really selfish that she should retreat into herself and ignore what’s going on around her.

6. Rachel Creed - Pet Sematary, Stephen King. Due to some early trauma concerning a very sick sister, Rachel is ultra-resistant to any talk of death and insists there is “nothing natural about death,” despite her doctor husband striving to make her see that death, like everything else, is a part of life. As a pretty rational person myself with little patience for such irrationality, Rachel really annoyed me. I personally felt that the trauma she experienced only excuses her own fear of talking about death; it does NOT excuse her insistence that their young daughter be shielded completely from ever learning about or experiencing death, because that can be just as crippling as a traumatic early experience like Rachel’s.

7. Harry Potter - The Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling. I’m really only referring to the angsty teenage Harry we see from about Order of the Phoenix on, where he’s all “OMG, nobody tells me anything! I’m going to go sulk in a corner!” I mean, most of the time I understand where he’s coming from (especially when I was first reading these, since I was an angsty teenager myself), but it got pretty frustrating at times. (For those of you who haven’t seen it, you need to check out Wizarding Angst by the Potter Puppet Pals people. It’s amazing. But my favorite will always be The Mysterious Ticking Noise.)

8. Maxim de Winter - Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier. I just finished Rebecca the other day and WOW, it was amazing. I loved every word, but Maxim de Winter definitely frustrated me a bit, especially with his general refusal to explain his moodiness to Mrs. de Winter, until the truth about what’s bugging him has the very real potential to destroy them. (On a side note: it was also really frustrating that you never learn Mrs. de Winter’s name!!)

9. Almost everyone - Mile 81, Stephen King. For those of you who haven’t read it, Mile 81 is a short story/novella by Stephen King about an evil car that basically (sorry...SPOILER ALERT) eats people. It’s part of King’s charm but also super frustrating that every damn person from every damn car that stops to see if the muddied up car sitting at the Mile 81 rest stop needs help gets eaten by said muddied up car, until (of course) a kid figures out how to vanquish it.

10. Scarlett O’Hara - Gone With The Wind, Margaret Mitchell. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but most of my dislike of this book is due to my dislike of Scarlett. I didn’t find her to be a sympathetic character at all: I found her to be a whiny rich girl who pouts when she doesn’t get her way and who doesn’t deserve the love she desires from Ashleigh OR the love she gets from Rhett, or from anyone else, for that matter.

Phew. Who do you guys think are the most frustrating characters ever?? Add your links below!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Kelly's review of The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan + giveaway!

The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan 
Publication Date: January 29, 2013 | Kensington Publishing | 384p

"From her earliest days, Margaret Tudor knows she will not have the luxury of choosing a husband. Her duty is to gain alliances for England. Barely out of girlhood, Margaret is married by proxy to James IV and travels to Edinburgh to become Queen of Scotland. Despite her doubts, Margaret falls under the spell of her adopted home. But while Jamie is an affectionate husband, he is not a faithful one. And nothing can guarantee Margaret’s safety when Jamie leads an army against her own brother, Henry VIII. In the wake of loss she falls prey to an ambitious earl and brings Scotland to the brink of anarchy. Beset by betrayal and secret alliances, Margaret has one aim—to preserve the crown of Scotland for her son, no matter what the cost…"

I was so excited to receive a book about Margaret Tudor! As the title suggests, she is often a forgotten historical character (she doesn't even exist on the TV show The Tudors!). There are plenty of books about her sister Mary and in books about her brother, Henry VIII, she may appear early on but quickly disappears, never to be mentioned again. It was wonderful to find a complete and lengthy book about her life....even if Margaret herself wasn't the most likable character. She is portrayed as very naive, selfish, and troubled. When Margaret is young and sent to Scotland to be married, she imagines herself as the savior that will unite Scotland and England through her power and sons. Even when none of that happens (at least in her lifetime) she is still under the impression that she is a great and mighty queen, all while the nobles of Scotland want nothing more than to see her gone. She also has the irritating quality of falling in love with every man she meets, or expecting that he is falling in love with her. This tendency leads to many problems (and many husbands). A lot of parallels were drawn to her granddaughter Mary, Queen of Scots (the husband troubles, alienation from her child, ineffective rule, her entire country upset with her, etc). Funnily enough, these two mostly disliked women, who never met, were the ones that would actually bring Scotland and England together.

Slightly unlikeable queen aside, the story overall was very engaging, well-written, and informative (that last word sounds a bit boring, but it's true. I learned a lot and sometimes that's the best thing you can take from a book). Some of the side characters were the most interesting to read about. I especially liked Margaret's father and mother (Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, a couple who don't have nearly enough fiction written about them) and her African maid Ellen. We all know that Scots, especially historically speaking, are a crazy, eccentric bunch, and The Forgotten Queen is a wonderful little glimpse into that world!


One of you has a chance to win a copy of this exciting new historical fiction release! This giveaway is open internationally and you have until February 3rd to enter. Simply leave a way to for me to contact you (email, Twitter, etc) in a comment below. Good luck!

Julia Reviews Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Title/Author: Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
Publisher/Year Published: January 15th 2013 by Razorbill
How I got this book: The Library
Why I read this book: The third and final book in an awesomely unique trilogy. I reviewed Across the Universe and A Million Suns if you are interested.
Rating: 5 stars

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They're ready to start life afresh--to build a home--on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.

But this new Earth isn't the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed's former passengers aren't alone on this planet. And if they're going to stay, they'll have to fight.

Amy and Elder must race to discover who--or what--else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed--friends, family, life on Earth--will have been for nothing.

I just have to get this out of the way. The cover disappointed me. I miss the beautiful ones from the first two books. It messes up the visual awesomeness on my bookshelf.

But who judges a book by it's cover? What matters is what is on the inside, and what is on the inside is nothing short of the end of the greatest YA dystopian sci-fi series I've read. Hands down.

The beginning picks up right where A Million Suns left off, which for me left me a bit confused as I read that book a year ago. I had to confer with my sister to remind myself of all of the events that led to that point. So if you are like me and don't remember details that well, it would behoove you to brush up on the last few chapters of book two.

The ships lands, with a flutter of problems, and they get out to explore Centauri-Earth, their new home. In the midst of all of this, Amy unfreezes the frozen scientists. The two factions (the Frozens and the Shipborns) distrust each other greatly. Amy's father has been thrust into role of commander and is a bit put out that the leader of the shipborns is a kid.

Thus a story of distrust begins.

Worse than that though, is the fact that they are not alone on this Earth. There are these horrible monsters that are like dinosaur hybrids. In my mind it kind of looks like the deranged and dangerous version of Kevin, the giant bird from Up.

I am trying to be super vague here because the twists of this book are pretty awesome. But let me say this for Revis. She is not afraid to kill off people just because this is a book targeted at young adults. In fact, this book has a lot of maturity in it that I love. It's at it's heart a science fiction book that happens to have two teenagers as its protagonists.

Speaking of the teenagers, Amy started to piss me off in the beginning. Not thinking about any of the consequences of her unfreezing actions. Being all flirty with this one solider, Chris. I didn't need a love triangle in this book. In fact the whole things with Chris and flirting feel shoehorned in. I wonder if it was a "You need a love triangle in this" sort of thing. Revis redeemed herself to me a bit though with Chris and Amy toward the end. And that's all I'll say.

Speaking of the end, holy frex, could I not put this down! I have a lot of respect for the ending and the very, very end didn't seem too unplausable. (More vaguery here) I probably would have been okay (a bit) with the opposite of what happened at the end happening.

The twists and the actual plot of the story are as usually what hooks me and makes me not want to stop reading. The whole series is just so inventive. Since I read Across the Universe in 2011, I have not read another YA series that is as awesomely unique and imaginative as this. I highly recommend this and all of Revis' books. She is one of my favorite authors and for good reason. She sucks you into a story and you are transported to a world where you are trying to resettle a planet, when at the same time that planet is trying to kill you.

I tried to keep this review spoiler free, but I can't promise the same of the comments. Ye be warned.

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Julia Is Currently Reading

So in 2013, thus far as it has been, I have been having a problem
That's right folks. I somehow started reading five books at one time. I don't know how it happened. Well, I kind of know how it happened.

A Feast for Crows started to bore me slightly, and I was approved for two awesome ARCs from NetGalley. So I started reading Lord of Darkness. Then I wanted to do View from Page Thirty, but I was already halfway through Lord of Darkness, so I couldn't use that. Plus it's a series. So I started What Alice Knew. Then I received a notice from the library that Shades of Earth was in, the final in the Across the Universe trilogy. I was going to wait to start it, but I was traveling on an airplane this week. What's wrong with that? Lord of Darkness and What Alice Knew are eBooks. There is an at least 20 minute period between take off and 10,000 feet where you cannot use your eReaders. Without anything paper to read, you are reduced to Skymall. Why didn't I then just bring A Feast for Crows? It is in fact a paper book, but carrying that thing AND my eReader is a death sentence for my back (don't forget I have a laptop and an assortment of random work supplies in there too). The fifth may or may not count. I've been reading Grimm's Fairy Tales for at least a year now... so I guess that counts too.

How can I do it? I have no idea. Normally I read one book (plus Grimms) at a time. It's too much work jumping out of one story and into the next. Plus I am attached and invested in the characters. I did try to strategically separate them into reading only one from a certain genre at a time, and thus being able to differentiate in my head from the characters who were settling a new planet and the ones who are saving girls from workhouses. It has worked out pretty well.

So discussion time! Do you all read more than one book at a time or is the practice something that you generally eschew?

PS. I actually finished Shades of Earth on the bazillion hours I was deicing on the runway today, so I guess I am only reading four now. PROGRESS! What didn't progress, however, was my bag to Cleveland...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Top Ten Settings Jana Would Like To See More Of (Or At All)

For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here!

This week's topic is all about the settings we would like to see in books, or see more of in books. Oftentimes I buy books because of where they take place. I'm a lover of all things travel, and I love reading about places I've been or am planning to go to in the future! It's always nice to escape the cold winter, or the hard work day with a book that sends us to an amazing place! So here we go! 

1. Cruises/Ships. I love reading books that take place on ships, because you've got a whole bunch of people stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Romances happen in tropical locations, creepy mysteries unfold, or insane adventures happen. 

2. Underwater. I've read several mermaid books, and even a book that took place on a futuristic submarine. Authors can be so creative with this setting, because the ocean floor is so unknown. There's potential for lots of amazing world building. 

3. Italy, particularly Venice or Bellagio. I love, love, LOVE Italy. And I want to go back so badly! Since I can't, though, I want a sweet romance novel that brings me back there. Anyone know of any? 

4. Secluded cabins/lodges on the lake. I've read a couple books that take place in cabins out in the middle of nowhere. Sometimes there's no electricity either, so people sit around the fire and reflect or get to know one another. And sometimes the blizzard is the reason why they are stuck! Love it! 

5. Paris. Need I say more? Anna and the French Kiss is one of my favorites, and Just One Day just reached the top of my leaderboard. 

6. New York City at Christmas. It's a magical time of year, and New York is one of the most magical places I've been at Christmas! Dash and Lily made me love this idea even more. 

7. A really freezing place. So many books take places on beaches, or during the summer. I read this one book, Frost by Kate Avery Allison, and it took place in the coldest place ever. The snow and the cold winds added so much dynamism to the story. 

8. Airplanes. We learned from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight that SO much can happen in airports and airplanes. 

9. Egypt. I've never read a book that took place in Egypt, but I really want to. I love all the ancient history there. I'm already picturing a contemporary romance with a study abroad, and trips to the Pyramids. 

10. Yosemite National Park. It's such a pretty area, and I think it would be the perfect setting for a fun camping trip with friends... and maybe some romance.

So tell me! What are some of your favorite book settings? Do we have any in common? And honestly. Suggest some books to me if you think I need to read them!

Monday, January 21, 2013

View from Page Thirty: What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen

There are times when a book starts off slow and takes a mad dash for amazing. There are times when a book is awesome right out of the gate but can't quite make the course. Then there is the solid stinkers and the solid gold. Each book is different.

I have a rule with books: If I am not interested by page thirty, I don't have to go on. But every book (except in some rare cases) gets that thirty page treatment.

With View From Page Thirty, I'll give you a point of view that you don't often get with reviews, and that's from the 'Getting to know you' phase. Here's my first date with...

The Book:
 What Alice Knew: A Most Curious Tale of Henry James & Jack the Ripper by Paula Marantz Cohen
Release Date: September 2010 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genres: Mystery, historical fiction

The View from Page Thirty:
Warning. There will be spoilers from the first two chapters. I doubt this is much different from what one may get in a description, but ye' be warned.

I literally found this book at an airport by a most gripping cover. I added it to my Goodread's shelf and boarded my plane. In December, it was on sale at B&N for 99c. I remembered it immediately both for the cover and how much I have been intrigued I was to read it. When I thought about a book to do for this series, this jumped at me. Let's begin.

So we meet Henry James, and infer that he is drunk. Well, he tells us so in the first sentence. He's eating dinner with Oscar Wilde and other people who I think I am suppose to know, but may not be cultured enough to. In a way I am fitting in with drunk James, who can't reliably tell me anyone's name at the table until it comes up in dialog. Literally. So we have a lot of "the female to his left"; "the elderly gentleman"; "the American women"; and let's not forget "the pretty, impressionable woman". I have no idea who anyone is and I am starting to think James may be an unreliable narrator.

Anyway, I do know what they are talking about. After getting in a few jibes at Jekyll and Hyde and Stevenson, the table conversation turns to Jack the Ripper. So this whole chapter we learn 1)Jack the Ripper is killing poor women 2)what Henry James has for dinner.

Okay then.

Wow, we literally went from falling asleep at a table over food, to stumbling about and worrying about puking or pooing himself. I am not kidding. Did Henry James suffer from IBS or is this artistic license? I don't even know what to think. He gets lost in the slums, heaves the contents of his stomach on a prostitute, falls to the ground puking while someone tries to rob him and then is mysteriously saved by someone. End chapter two.

What the hell is going on here?

Chapter three is two pages. It's a letter from the police in London asking William James, Henry and Alice's brother, to come over to England from America to help solve the mystery of Jack the Ripper. William James is a professor, whom according to the letter, "engaged in important research in the new science of the mind." Apparently this qualifies him to help with the case.

In chapter 4 (page 26 if you all are wondering), we finally meat our titular character, Alice. Apparently Alice is a "professional invalid." She has a whole list of maladies that she decides makes more sense to stay in bed rather then be walking around when one strikes. All three siblings are together here chatting. First topic of conversation is Alice's invalid-ness. William thinks he can cure her, and Alice wants none of it. Same with marriage apparently.

They move on to why William came to London and he shows them the letter. Alice decides that this is finally a step in the right direction because between the three of them they can solve it.
"It occurred to me, as I read William's letter, that the solution to these horrific crimes requires the three of us. 'Tri-ocular vision,' I would call it." She paused, as if working out an equation. "Henry, to observe the social world where I sense the murderer lurks and to plumb his friends and acquaintances for gossip. William, to study the physical evidence through his contact with the police and to supply psychological analysis where needed."
"And you?" William asked in amused wonder. "What will you do?"
"Me?" She leveled her intelligent gaze at her brothers. "I will review what you gather... and solve the case"

What I am Loving:
I am not going to lie. This wasn't what I expected. Maybe it's the disjointed narration thus far, and the unlikability of Henry those first two chapters. However, I am still really intrigued on where this is going. Maybe now that all three characters have been established and a goal set, the narrative will smooth out a bit and catch some steam.

What I am Unsure Of:
In chapter one, I felt rather like I am suppose to know these people. I don't know if they are important to the story yet, but getting them to grab and pull me in did not work. Maybe they are meant as nods to people who know the era. I know Oscar Wilde, but who are these people? Should I know them like Wilde? Lady Dalrymple? Mrs. Drummond? Edmund Gosse? George Du Maurier? Whistler? Shaw? (he's alive now?!)

I feel like I'm in a dream with people I may have vaguely heard once mentioned in English class and expected to produce wit. Oh no! Maybe I am "American Woman"!!

I think the first two chapters, instead of enrapturing me into the world, just made me raise my eyebrow. The scene with the siblings, however, gives me some hope that this is where the story would be going and not staying with Henry, drunk at a table, unable to identify people and throwing up on prostitutes.

Final Verdict:
Like I said I am still rather intrigued. I will keep going and hopefully get caught up in the mystery that is Jack the Ripper and the interactions between these rather non-traditional siblings.

PS: After I started this book, I made a quick jump to the ever resourceful Wikipedia to read up on the James clan and all those people who I thought may be famous literary people. Some of them are, apparently. And yes, Shaw was alive at this time (I thought he was more of an early 1990s guy. But I guess the late 1800s isnt too far away from early 1900s). I did find out more about the siblings, but I think I would have been happier not knowing, so then I can live in ignorance of any artistic license. Will this hinder my enjoyment? Probably not. I guess it's good to know, though.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 1/6 - 1/19

Lori's Book Haul

My book haul from the past week consisted of books I sneaked into my textbook order.  So, in addition to boring textbooks no one but my professors really care about, I received:

Camille by Alexandre Dumas, fils.  I am going to go see the ballet based off of this book in a couple of weeks, so I definitely want to read the book.  But then I found out that it's the book that Moulin Rouge is based off of, so I HAD to have it, right? Right!  I've started reading it and am thoroughly enjoying it so far, though I am just in the setting the stage part of the book.  I can't wait to get to the meat.

I also bought a copy of Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak.  I had heard of the movie for quite some time.  Then I became familiar with the book.  It appeared on the classics reading list I chose for myself at my personal blog.  Then I found out it was considered to be a love story.  As a result, it's been higher up on my list for a while, so when I was sneaking books, I tossed it in.  I think I'll take this with me when my papa has surgery in a few days.

Lastly, I sneaked in a copy of Americans in Paris:  A Literary Anthology, edited by Adam Gopnik.  I am one of the few francophiles I know.  Most everyone is an anglophile.  I dare to be different.  I have nothing against anglos and anglophiles, but I just relate more to the French way of life.  Anyway, this is a really interesting book, in my opinion.  It looks at various Americans writing about France.  We start with letters from the Founding Fathers, like Franklin, Jefferson, and Adams and go through the years with excerpts from works by Twain, Heminway, Fitzgerald, and Kerouac, as well as continuing to have non-fiction writings by the likes of Faulkner and Charles Lindbergh.  I think this will be a nice companion to David McCullough's The Greater Journey:  Americans in Paris, which only covers the years 1830-1900, but still, I like pairings.

 Jamie's Haul

For review:

 Taken by Erin Bowman: ZOMG so excited! This was on my most anticipated debuts of 2013 list!
Dead Silence by Kimberly Derting: I LOVE THIS SERIES! Simultaneously so excited and so frightened to read this last book!
Fragments by Dan Wells:  I have yet to read Partials but have it on my shelf so I'm very curious!
Arclight by Josin L. McQuien: Never had heard of this one honestly but you know I'm a sucker for a dystopian/science fiction novel!
The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer: This sounds super cool and creepy!

 Timekeeper by Alexandra Monir: I haven't read Timeless! Is this something I'd enjoy, friends?
The Rogue's Princess by Eve Edwards: I have all of these books because I love historical fiction but I've yet to read them!
Siege & Storm by Leigh Bardugo: I have Shadow & Bone waiting for me so good thing this came as a surprise!
Crash & Clash by Nicole Williams: Hmmmm. New Adult. Hmmmm. I was really excited about the genre but most of what I'm hearing is stuff I wouldn't like.  But I guess it's time for me to make my own opinion. These sound interesting enough to me!

From the library:
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Because everyone and their mother told me to. And for book club. Reading it now and it took a bit to get into but definitely picking up!
The Longest Way Home by Andrew McCarthy: You know I love the travelogues.

Sadly, I didn't purchase any books this weeks because I've been ill with the plague. But next week I'll be buying ALL OF THE GAYLE FORMAN NOVELS because she is coming to town and that makes me want to keysmash and hula hoop and do the robot.

Daisy's Haul

Egalleys for review:
-The Marrying Season by Candace Camp: I LOVE historical romances where they believe their marriage to be of convenience and have a passionate love instead!
-My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling: YES GREEK MYTHOLOGY!
-Surprising Lord Jack by Sally MacKenzie
-Linked by Imogen Howson: ALL THE EXCITEMENT! Isn't the cover gorgeous?
-The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler: I've been meaning to read one of Sarah Ockler's books, cause I've heard amazing things about them!
-The Earl in my Bed by Sophie Jordan: I LOVE Sophie Jordan's historical romance, so of course I need to read this novella!
-Black Swan Rising by Lee Carroll: sounds creepy!
-A Curse of Kings by Alex Barclay: it sounds like the beginning of an epic new fantasy series, of course I'm IN!
-The Geek Girl and the Scandalous Earl by Gina Lamm: ok, so this has the potential to be either AMAZING or the cheesiest of chees, I'm hoping for the first.
-The Iron King by Maurice Druon: first published in 1955 and full of court intrigue, yay!
-Lord of Wicked Intentions by Lorraine Heath: I really enjoyed the second book in this series and the novella!
-One More Kiss by Mary Blayney
-Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd: I'm slightly obsessed with Tudor England, so this is bound to be my kind of book :)

-Vortex by Julie Cross: I really enjoyed Tempest and am really excited to find out what happens next!
-Illuminate by Aimee Agresti
-A Kiss At Midnight by Eloisa James
-Splintered by A.G. Howard: SO EXCITED! The cover is stunning!
-Incarnate by Jodi Meadows: LOVED this when I read it last year and needed my own shiny copy :)

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, January 19, 2013

A Cocktail & Conversation With TBTB Gang - Goals & THINGS

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

This week: We did a Top Ten Tuesday about our Bookish Resolutions but care to share a few of the things you are resolving to do/not do or goals you might have?

Daisy: My goal this year is to get into the program for the medical specialty of my choice. Also: gain back the 8 pounds I lost since I started my job. And spend more time with the boyfriend, sometimes we both get so caught up in all the stuff we do it's hard to find time for each other. I also need to actually fold the laundry instead of throwing it over the back of a chair once it's dry and just pulling stuff from that pile to wear before it ever makes it to the closet. The pile is pretty bad.

Kimberly: My goal this year is to graduate. It still feels like it won't really happen. Maybe this fall when I'm actually at graduation it'll sink in. I also want to work on being better about paying bills. Not that I don't pay them, or that I make late payments, but that what usually happens is I realize two days before a bill is due that I have no money left. When I get a paycheck, I tend to want to make a payment on one bill or the another right then and there, because, hey, I have money right then! But then I forget that in a week or so (usually just a couple days shy of a paycheck) that I had a different bill due. Panic ensues and I start looking at my banking account and my schedule to see if I can grab some extra cash by selling plasma (yes, I am one of those people. Shh!) Also. I am going to try (key word being try) to finish books before moving onto the next. No matter how exciting it is. Dropping my current read  this week for the arc
 of Dark Triumph doesn't count. ;)

Lori:  I have a lot of stuff I want to get on top of this year.  I want to finally get rid of the grad school weight that I gained from way too many fast food runs and not enough exercise.  I want to do more reading for pleasure--a goal I've already done quite admirably on.  I want to stay active and involved with all of the writing projects, ventures, and opportunities that I have going on.  I want to start saving money so that I am not getting to the end of the month and realizing that I have no more in my checking account and haven't even put money into savings.  I want to stay up with my school readings.  I have a tendency to not do them as thoroughly as I should because they're boring.  I also want to have more fun and to be more willing to say yes to plans that put me outside of my comfort zone.  Really, it's the year of me taking charge, doing the things I love, and of having fun.

What about you all? What are some of your goals or resolutions for 2013?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jamie's Latest 5 Star Reads

At this blog and my other blog, The Perpetual Page-Turner, I don't really use star ratings on my reviews anymore because it just got too complicated for me personally because I couldn't justify giving 4 stars to a book I REALLY enjoyed that was maybe more "fluff" than a 4 star book that was maybe more profound. ANYWHO. I do still give star ratings most of the time on Goodreads (come be friends with me if you feel like we have stuff in common!) so I figured I'd share my latest 5 star reads!

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney: Ok, so this book isn't out until June but I had the opportunity to borrow it. AMAZING. Please pre-order this book now if you like YA contemps. Danny, the protag, has just graduated high school two weeks after his mother has passed away from cancer and sets off to Japan, where his family had a second home, for answers to questions about his mom during her last months and how to keep living himself. There's some romance, great meanderings through Japanese streets and soul shaking self discovery. I ugly cried like no other for obvious reasons and for some not so obvious reasons. Don't dismiss this as "just another grief book" because there's so much to this one! Read my initial thoughts on When You Were Here!


The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: Le swoon! If you like cute contemporary YA romances, this one is sure to fit the bill! It's seriously adorable and I read it mostly in a day. I can't believe it took me this long to actually get to it but LOVE! Definitely reading more from Jennifer E. Smith soon! You can read my full review of The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight!

Just One Day by Gayle Forman: You know I'm a Gayle Forman fangirl if you read my reviews of If I Stay & Where She Went (so amazing!) so I was super excited to get this for review. I was really nervous because she's a FAVE AUTHOR and so she has so much to live up to in my eyes. LUCKILY, for me, Just One Day was incredible and exactly what I needed to read! I love self discovery stories (oh ok and swoony moments and romance) and I really connected to the main character and some of the things she was struggling with. Love when a book speaks to what I'm going through ATM! Sidenote: love that the main character was in college! Read my full review of Just One Day here.

I realized after writing this that all my latest 5 star reads are contemporary YA! OOOPS! My bad! I swear I really do have variety in my reading, you guys!

Have you read any of these? Any on your TBR? I'm curious what were YOUR latest 5 star reads?? I'm always looking for EXCEPTIONAL books to add to the TBR or bump up my list!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Top Ten 2013 Debuts Jamie's DYING To Read!

For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here!

This week's topic is all about those 2013 debut books we are dying to read!

This is awesome because this week I kiiiind of get to cheat because I get to do a post here and also did one on my blog so I get to in fact share with you the TWENTY books I'm most excited about basically. WOO LOOPHOLES. I live for them.

1. The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shephard: Ok, so I've already read this and it's really good, guys. Took me a little bit to get into but then WOW. Totally didn't realize it was a series either.
2. Taken by Erin Bowman: DYING FOR THIS! I'm just so fascinated by the premise!
3. OCD, the Dude & Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn: I hadn't heard about this one until it showed up in my mailbox a few months ago but I'll tell you I'm more and more excited. I have a feeling it's going to be a fave contemp of the year!
4. The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar: Ok, I've been a huge fan of Aladdin since I was a wee one and PLEASE OH PLEASE I want a genie! Plus I'm not sure that I've seen a genie premise in YA fiction recently so yay for something different!
5. Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans: OBVI this was on my list. My dear friend Lenore and fellow blogger! How long have we all been waiting for this one? I'm cheating because I already read this one and it's FANTASTIC!
6. In the After by Demetria Lunetta: Science fiction! I want to know who the heck the "THEM" are. I keep picturing zombies but that's because I'm on a Walking Dead kick haha. This book sounds AWESOME.
7. Transparent by Natalie Whipple: I always say that if I had a superpower I would love to be invisible so NATURALLY I had to add this book!!
8. Reboot by Amy Tintera: I'm getting into science fiction these days and this one sounds pretty cool!
9. Pivot Point by Kasie West: I was going to start this one this month but then got distracted with a few other books that I had to read first. I've heard great things so far!
10. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke: This cover is so awesome and I just think it sounds so creepy and awesome...the devil walking amongst us in the form of a cute guy next door. YEAH that would explain some things :P

Are any of these on your list? Any I should be adding to my list? You can check out the list I did over at my blog for even more 2013 debut goodness!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bookish Deals (11)

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!

Today one of my favorite romance novels is on sale for an awesome price. This is one of my go to recommendations for people who are interested in starting to read the romance novel genre, but don't know where to start. The Duke and I is a great mix of humor and sensuality, with characters that I adore. Please check it out if you are interested even a little in romance. The price is too good to pass up!

The Duke and I
 by Julia Quinn - $1.99
Can there be any greater challenge to London's Ambitious Mamas than an unmarried duke?
--- Lady Whistledown's Society Papers, April 1813

By all accounts, Simon Basset is on the verge of proposing to his best friend's sister, the lovely---and almost-on-the-shelf---Daphney Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth--it's all an elaborate plan to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable.

But as Daphne waltzes across ballroom after ballroom with Simon, it's hard to remember that their courtship is a complete sham. Maybe it's his devilish smile, certainly it's the way his eyes seem to burn every time he looks at her...but somehow Daphne is falling for the dashing duke...for real! And now she must do the impossible and convince the handsome rogue that their clever little scheme deserves a slight alteration, and that nothing makes quite as much sense as falling in love...

Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas - $2.99
Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington. She is stunned and blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal: her fiancé Kevin has left her. His new lover is Lucy’s own sister. Lucy's bitterness over being dumped is multiplied by the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life.

Facing the severe disapproval of Lucy's parents, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on San Juan Island, to "romance" Lucy and hopefully loosen her up and get her over her anger. Complications ensue when Sam and Lucy begin to fall in love, Kevin has second thoughts, and Lucy discovers that the new relationship in her life began under false pretenses. Questions about love, loyalty, old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings are explored as Lucy learns that some things in life—even after being broken—can be made into something new and beautiful.

The Witch's Daughter by Paula Brackston - $2.99
My name is Elizabeth Anne Hawksmith, and my age is three hundred and eighty-four years. Each new settlement asks for a new journal, and so this Book of Shadows begins…

In the spring of 1628, the Witchfinder of Wessex finds himself a true Witch. As Bess Hawksmith watches her mother swing from the Hanging Tree she knows that only one man can save her from the same fate at the hands of the panicked mob: the Warlock Gideon Masters, and his Book of Shadows. Secluded at his cottage in the woods, Gideon instructs Bess in the Craft, awakening formidable powers she didn’t know she had and making her immortal. She couldn't have foreseen that even now, centuries later, he would be hunting her across time, determined to claim payment for saving her life.

In present-day England, Elizabeth has built a quiet life for herself, tending her garden and selling herbs and oils at the local farmers' market. But her solitude abruptly ends when a teenage girl called Tegan starts hanging around. Against her better judgment, Elizabeth begins teaching Tegan the ways of the Hedge Witch, in the process awakening memories--and demons—long thought forgotten.

Part historical romance, part modern fantasy, The Witch’s Daughter is a fresh, compelling take on the magical, yet dangerous world of Witches.Readers will long remember the fiercely independent heroine who survives plagues, wars, and the heartbreak that comes with immortality to remain true to herself, and protect the protégé she comes to love.

 by Maggie Stiefvater - $2.99

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human--or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Kimberly's Review of 'Nolichuck' by Jackson Keene


A copy of this book was sent to me by the author for an honest review. I have tried and failed many times to write a proper review for this novel. I'm going to simplify this a bit.


TJ’s just an ordinary fourteen year old kid with extraordinary problems at home and school: A broken up family from his parents’ bitter divorce, evil bullies almost every afternoon, failing grades, boring classes, snobby girls, mean teachers, cut from basketball tryouts, few friends. Life is rough for TJ Cockrell.

And then that mysterious little green book had to go and throw him into the past. And not just any past, but into the untamed forbidding forests of 1802 eastern Tennessee along with the savage Indians, wild beasts, bloodthirsty robbers, backwoods ruffians, and log cabin living! Yup, it’s definitely not 2011 Knoxville anymore.

And he thought his present life was bad news! But TJ’s adventures are only beginning. Along the way, he fights off killer beasts and bandits and braves, gains a world of confidence in himself, finds his first real love, and meets a fantastic frontier family who really has it together. When he returns to the present, he’s a brand new person––ready to defeat deadly robbers in his own home, beat the bullies at school, win the girl, gain friends, and make great grades. He even gets his family back together again. Sort of. In the end, the little green book is really cool. And TJ can’t wait to go on another action-packed adventure into the perilous past!

What I didn't like:

I feel like this floats between two genre/age groups. TJ thinks like a character from a MG novel would, yet at the same time the violence and language as well as his relationship with his crush are more YA. A novel that bridges the slight gap between MG and YA would be great, but I feel like Nolichuck fell a bit short.

I'm in my 20's and female, so some of my issue's with TJ may be unfounded, I can't relate to this teenage boy as well. I still felt like TJ was immature for his age. He DID grow as the novel progressed, I still felt frustrated with him.

I'm being nit picky here, but some of the writing felt... odd. Let me see if I can describe it. It's as if someone were describing him, but he is thinking that himself. It felt like parts of the book were written in first person, and some parts in third.

What I liked:

Time travel. I especially liked that it all took place in Tennessee. So many authors feel the need to make the story more exotic by placing it in a far away country. There is SO much history right here in the US, I enjoyed reading that.

The rules. The way he travels in time, and the rules that apply, are unique and I liked them. I've read so many time travel books, and watched Doctor Who far too much, but you never want to mess with the past. Bad things can happen. In Nolichuck however, it works a bit differently.


Overall, I wasn't thrilled with this book. The characters frustrated me, the narration was difficult to read... However, there were a few ideas I did like, and I think that if future books in this series expand on those, they will be interesting.

1.5 Stars 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Paula's Top Ten Reading Goals for 2013

 For the list of past topics and future schedule, click here!

Hello all! I hope the first week of 2013 has treated you well :D As the new year rolled in I got really excited about completing 2012's goals and making a new pretty list of 2013's reading challenges. This year I have significantly lowered my numerical  goals (book count, page count) because - thanks to my job at a fabric company I am surrounded by fabric in my apartment - and I need to spend some time on my other hobby: sewing. (wahh having 2 time consuming hobbies!)

So here are my Top Ten (cough 8) 2013 reading goals:

1. Read at least 40 books
2. Read at least 15,000 pages
3. Read 5 books from my shelf before buying more (always a difficult one >_< )
4. Read 5 books that have been on my "to-read" list for over a year
5. Read The Lord of The Rings trilogy
6. Read further into the Discworld series
7. Read a book over 500 pages long
8. Read a book of short stories

I think (hope) those are manageable goals for this year.
I look forward to seeing what every one is challenging themselves to do this year!

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