Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Daisy Asks Your Recommendations for Book Club Books!

Credit for picture goes to

So I'm in a book club with Debby @ Snuggly Oranges, Daph @ Loving Books and Mel @ The Daily Prophecy and it's awesome! We get together once a month and we take turns nominated the books and then vote on which one we want to read. And we always try to all have read the book before we get together to have dinner and talk about the book and other books and life in general and blogging.

What we've read so far:
More Than This by Patrick Ness (my mini-review)
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (WARDEN!!)
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (which we didn't love. AT ALL)
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Eon by Alison Goodman (LOVE!)
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Emma by Jane Austen (favourite re-read)

What I wanted to ask you guys: what are some books you'd recommend for a book club? We read a lot of YA and all love fantasy. What are books that really spark a discussion? We usually go off topic pretty quickly, so if you have recommendations, please let me know!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Top Ten Books To Read If You Like These TV shows, movies, plays etc.

To learn more about Top Ten Tuesday or see a list of future topics click here! (they are updated btw!)



Jamie's picks:

If you like the movie Captain Phillips,  read: Hostage Three by Nick Lake: PIRATES!

If you like the show Roswell, read: Alienated by Melissa Landers: Hot alien boys on earth! As soon as I read the summary for this one I was like ROSWELL?!

If you like the movie Sliding Doors
, read: Pivot Point by Kasie West: Granted there is more of a paranormal element to Pivot Point (thought it really feels mostly contemporary), there's the playing out of two paths depending on the choice the main character makes + romance element!

If you like tv show Supernatural, read: Unbreakable by Kami Garcia: I haven't read this one but my teen niece LOVED it when I gave it to her for Christmas and she couldn't stop talking about it/spoiling the whole thing for me. She kept saying it had all the same kind of elements that made her love the show (which I JUST started!).

If you like the tv show Hart of Dixie, read: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley: I bought this one on my Kindle a while ago and was just going through my Kindle today and I was like OH MY GOSH PERFECT FOR THIS TOPIC. City girls moving to the country -- albeit different age and for different reasons!

Julia's Picks:

If you like Game of Thrones, read: The Kingskiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss
I feel like this is sort of cheating since Game of Thrones is a book, too. But whatever. Sunday's episode rocked my world and it's all I've been able to obsess over. Anyhoo, taking about another unfinished but rocking fantasy series, The Kingskiller Chronicles are great. It starts with The Name of the Wind and moves on to A Wise Man's Fear. Both are really good and in the vein of A Song of Ice and Fire.

If you like Downton Abby, read: The Abandoned at the Altar series by Laura Lee Guhrke
While not without it's flaws, the Abandoned at the Altar series is historical romance set smack dab in the Edwardian Era, so right around the beginning of Downton Abby. It features the new fangled invention of cars and turn of the certury awesomeness with some good romance thrown in. The first book, Wedding of the Season, did not impress me overmuch, but the second, Scandal of the Year, was great and the third, Trouble at the Wedding, was fine.

If you like The Big Bang Theory, read: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
I have yet to read this puppy, but it is ready and waiting on my Nook. Since I haven't read it I am not sure if this is a romance novel or a novel with romantic elements, but it centers around a scientist who decides to do an experiement to scientifically find a wife for him. It would be like if Sheldon decided to embark on a quest to find the perfect woman for him. But in the process the doctor meets Rosie, a woman who decidedly does not meet his criteria. I bet you can guess what happens. Lots of good buzz around this one!

If you like Sherlock Holmes (the one with RDJ), read: The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Another romance book here, but this one is super awesome and steampunky too. The heroine is the investigator and she get's saddled with the Duke after a series of unfortunate events. It's a series and I can't wait to read more. I should get on that.

If you like the Travel Channel + Food Network, read: Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper by Fuchsia Dunlap
This book is a cookbook plus travel memoir. I really enjoyed reading about her experiences with ex-pat life in China, which included the struggle to become trained as a Sichuan chef. I have a soft spot in my heart for Sichuan province and the food, since it was my home for a year, but this was truly a good book. Recipes are included and I think I've done a variation or two of the ones in there.

So what about you? Do you have any 'If This Read That' to share? Let us know in the comments and/or link up your own lists!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Jen Reviews Where the Stars Still Shine

Title: Where the Stars Still Shine
Author: Trish Doller
Published: Sept 2013, Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: Library
Rating: 4 stars


I can't imagine growing up and constantly being on the move. Living in one place for a year at the most and changing your name each time you move. Seventeen year old Callie lives that life. Her mom kidnapped her when she was five and they have been on the run, always looking over their shoulder, ever since. Callie has never even been enrolled in school, her education consists of text books she buys at the thrift store and reading whatever novels she can get her hands on.

While Callie desperately wants to get away from her mother and have a normal teenage girl life...when that happens she literally does not know what to do. Has she betrayed her mom by wanting a better life for herself? How is she going to fit in with this family she didn't think wanted her?

This is the second book in a row I'll pretty much read in one sitting (thank you rainy day). I had to know what happens next, how Callie's relationship with her dad was progressing, how she was adjusting to having a friend trying to fix her up on dates. She was thrown into a world she had always hoped for and dreamed about.

Potential minor, minor spoiler: My heart sank when Callie's dad gave her the photo album with her name on the cover and she asked if that was her real name. Her mom didn't even tell her what her name was!! Each time Callie and her mom would move they made up new names.

I do wish Callie would have talked about what one of her mom's disgusting boyfriends did to her when she was younger. It affected her a lot and I was proud of her for telling Alex (I think he was the first person she ever told).

Have you read this book? What were you thoughts?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 4/13 - 4/26

Daisy's Book Haul

-To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han: the title is awesome and it sounds like such a cute read! I'm really looking forward to this! I hope it'll make me forget about the horror of We'll Always Have Summer *shudders*
-Toxic Heart by Theo Lawrence: I haven't actually read Mystic City, but it sounds good and I have no self control and bought the sequel anyway.
-The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale: it's about a boarding school filled with fairytale characters. OBVIOUSLY I needed to own this!

Egalleys for Review:
-Half a King by Joe Abercrombie: EEEE! EXCITEMENT! Joe Abercrombie's YA fantasy sounds AWESOME!
-Dreamwalker by James Oswald: another fantasy, with DRAGONS! I love dragons!
-Just a Kiss by Ally Broadfield: I always love a good story of the matchmaker/helper falling in love with the one he or she is making a match for :)
-Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan: I'm fascinated by a story revolving around Bloody Mary, this sounds SO creepy!
-Bad Girls Don't Marry Marines by Codi Gary: Good Girls Don't Date Rockstars was a really quick read and I enjoyed it, so I hope that'll go for this one as well!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

What Julia Did Instead of a Bookish Deals Post

Hello, Readers! Today was supposed to be Bookish Deals Saturday, but I had a full day of history filled experiences and ran out of time. So I decided to share some of my day with you, and link to some books in the process.

For my job, I travel a lot, and this weekend I happen to be staying in New Orleans. I don't normally have time to explore the surrounding area while I am here, so I decided to do a plantation tour of some of the plantations in the area.

Being born and bred in the north, I've never had the chance to see a plantation or sugar cane or anything like that. In fact, all I remember about plantation life I remember from sixth grade social studies. There was a map with the different houses, and the master's house was called The Big House. We were supposed to memories what house was which for the test or something like that. I think the whole point of it was to get across how a plantation was a ton of work and need a lot of labor, thus slavery... and then the Civil War chapter came next.

Anyway, I digress. I picked out two plantations and drove up there. The first I picked was St. Joseph's Plantation. It is a family own and operated working sugar cane plantation, and on the property were actual historic slave quarters. Those were sobering to experince. I can't imagine all the hard work they had to put in for little if any reward or recognition.

The house itself was really neat. It was just me and one other guy on the tour so it was really easy to ask questions or turn the tour in the ways we would like it to go. I have some great pictures, and I loved how the house was described by the people who live there, not in some generic way.  One other cool thing, was that the sister plantation (like literally a house one of the sister's built on the neighboring property) was where some of  12 Years a Slave was filmed. Solomon Northrup's memoir, which the movie is based off of, is on sale for 99c. (AZ | BN). I don't think the Fil

Next I went next door to Oak Alley Plantation, known for it's 300 year old oak trees planted in two straight little rows that leads right from the Big House to the Mississippi River. Oak Alley is way more touristy than the first plantation. It had a whole exhibit on slavery at the plantation which was informative to read. Though mostly restored and not much of the original, the Big House was gorgeous. In fact, one wedding came to take pictures while I was there (and actually it was a little awkward because they were posing by the rebuilt slave quarters....) and they were setting up for another wedding that evening.

Oak Alley has had a ton of stuff filmed there, most notable to me being Interview with a Vampire. This is of course the first in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles series. As far as I can tell none of these are on sale though... but here is a link to them anyway (AZ | BN)!

Anyway, it was a really interesting day that took me away from the computer and into the pages of history, so I hope you can forgive the lack of bookish deals. Here is some young Brad Pitt to make up for it :)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Julia Reviews City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn

Title/Author: City of Jasmine by Deanna Raybourn
Publisher/Year Published:  March 2014 by Harlequin MIRA
How I got this book: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Why I read this book: I read the back and it sounded interesting. I've not read many novels set in the 1920s nor in the Middle East.
Rating: 3.5 stars

Set against the lush, exotic European colonial outposts of the 1920s, New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn delivers the captivating tale of one woman who embarks upon a journey to see the world—and ends up finding intrigue, danger and a love beyond all reason.  
Famed aviatrix Evangeline Starke never expected to see her husband, adventurer Gabriel Starke, ever again. They had been a golden couple, enjoying a whirlwind courtship amid the backdrop of a glittering social set in prewar London until his sudden death with the sinking of the Lusitania. Five years later, beginning to embrace life again, Evie embarks upon a flight around the world, collecting fame and admirers along the way. In the midst of her triumphant tour, she is shocked to receive a mysterious—and recent—photograph of Gabriel, which brings her ambitious stunt to a screeching halt. 
With her eccentric Aunt Dove in tow, Evie tracks the source of the photo to the ancient City of Jasmine, Damascus. There she discovers that nothing is as it seems. Danger lurks at every turn, and at stake is a priceless relic, an artifact once lost to time and so valuable that criminals will stop at nothing to acquire it—even murder. Leaving the jewelled city behind, Evie sets off across the punishing sands of the desert to unearth the truth of Gabriel's disappearance and retrieve a relic straight from the pages of history. 
Along the way, Evie must come to terms with the deception that parted her from Gabriel and the passion that will change her destiny forever...

City of Jasmine is an interesting read. I can't say that I have read many post WWII historical fiction books, but I guess now I can say I've at least read one. The book starts off with our lead character, Evie, getting ready to fly the last leg of her tour is interrupted by some pretty solid evidence that her husband is still alive. She delays her last leg and heads to Demascus with her aunt in tow. They spend some time in Demascus before the real story starts, and that is when we get out into the dessert to see the dig site where Gabriel is. 

That was the first hundred pages, and honestly I almost gave up the book because of that. Everything was so slow and it could have all started at a different point and been tighter and easier to read. But once we got past all that, the most interesting part of which was the setting, things started to get better. I loved the parts in the desert and once Gabriel and Evie had more interaction together, it was fun to read. 

I really enjoyed the setting and it makes me think I should branch out into different areas of history more often! The setting is probably my favorite part of the story, but how does everything else stack up? The plot is shaky at best. It is plodding in the beginning and all over the place in the middle and then sort of gets vary vague at the end. The middle, while overwhelmed with characters and subplots, was entertaining though (or else I would have stopped reading). The book is teaming with twsts. By the last character who wasn't who they said they were I was rolling my eyes.

Evie and Gabriel are the main characters, but really it's Evie's story. She is really independent and sometimes that makes her make the stupidest decisions ever. But she wasn't annoying and actually a pretty decent narrator. Sometimes I was surprised at what she didn't pick up on, though, like one of those pretty obvious twists. 

This is primarily historical fiction, with a little dash of romance (it is harlequin). If you worried about sex, it's not there. The relationship between Gabriel and Evie is important though and pretty interesting. I liked seeing how they changed from the way they were described as being in the past. 

Overall the book was interesting, the setting really so, and the plot engaging enough. I would recommend it for people who like to read historical fiction in exotic locales. This is the first Raybourn I read and I am not amiss to reading another.

Let me know if you have a recommendation for another Raybourn book or another historical fiction book set in a not common location/period of time in the comments!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday With Jamie: Ten Characters Who Are Super Talented


To learn more about Top Ten Tuesday or see a list of future topics click here! (they are updated btw!)

 On my own blog, The Perpetual Page-Turner, I had a "YA's Got Talent" list full of talented characters in YA. I have a couple on here from that list but more! I am always so jealous of people who are super talented because I just have never been really GOOD at anything unless you count binge eating cookies, world class procrastinating or marathoning shows as a special talent?

1. Mia/Adam // If I Stay & Where She Went by Gayle Forman: Mia is an incredible talented musician as is Adam! These books are favorites and the movie is coming out soon sooo you should probably just get to this if you haven't!

2. Carmen // Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez: Carmen is an incredibly competitive violinist...which a very competitive mother too! Also this is a great + underrated book!

3. Lucy // The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr: A whole family of talented pianists but the MC has completely quit and learns to love music again on her own terms.

4. Hannah // Bunheads by Sophie Flack: The world of competitive ballet! Such a good book and also underrated. Written by an ex professional ballerina.

5. Zoe & Olivia // Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor: Another dancer! Also, very good friendship story!

6. Elise // This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales: I know teenage DJ might sound a little lame but I PROMISE YOU. This was one of my FAVORITE reads of last year!

7. Cath // Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Cath is a really talented writer of fan fiction (and just in general) and she's pretty internet famous!

8. All the characters // Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg: It's set in a performing arts high school and has a couple different POVs who are all talented!

9. Lola // Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins: Fashion designer!

10. Matt Finch & Dee // Open Road Summer by Emery Lord: FAMOUS SINGERS. Matt Finch forever! And Lilah = a Taylor Swift-esque singer but when she was still country.

So..have you read any of these? Also, please tell me more recs of very talented characters so I can live vicariously through them!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rest in Peace Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez died yesterday.  He was 87 years old.  He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.  He is known for pioneering the genre of magical realism in his many novels and stories, which are set in Latin America (a perfect landscape for this kind of story, if you ask me!).

I was in class, at the computer scanning documents for a project when the news flashed across my phone's screen.  I was instantly saddened.  I managed to block out the annoying voice of this other student to privately reflect on this literary giant and how much his literature means to me and to the world at large.

I've only read two novels by this literary giant--Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude, but I was completely transported by his way of weaving together a story.  He created such deep characters in Love in the Time of Cholera and told such an incredible family saga in One Hundred Years of Solitude.  His sense of setting that came alive in his novels was truly magical and transported the reader right into the story.  Cholera taught me about a love that can last half a lifetime of separation and the true beauty and reality of love.  Solitude taught me about the tangled web of family and was thoroughly entertaining (and I need to read it again immediately!).

I've read bits of his biography.  It sounds like he lived quite a life and met some characters that influenced and appeared in his writing.  His fellow countrymen affectionately called him "Gabo."  What a fantastic nickname!

I am so glad that I am going by my parents' house today so I can grab copies of some of his other books and read them soon!

Here is a link to his obituary in the New York Times, in case you are interested.

Have you read anything by Garcia Marquez?  What did you think?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Cocktail & Conversation -- Favorite Quote About Reading or Books

Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is  A Cocktail & Conversation time. One of the TBTB members will pose a question to 2-3 of the other 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.

Lori asks: What is your favorite quote about reading/books and why?

Julia: I don't pay too much attention to quotes, but I do have a few visual favorites that I have collected for you. They make me laugh or smile and that is why I like them :)

Jen: "Books are a uniquely portable magic" - Stephen King

I recently came across this quote and it is so, so true. You can bring a book (or your Kindle) with you almost anywhere, and books have the power to transport you to other worlds and time periods. Books really are magical.

Paula:  "Reading aloud to someone is one of this world's pleasures" John Irving, The Hotel New Hampshire

I grew up reading a chapter if a book every night with my mom. Not only did this help create my love of reading- I think it is the best way to share a story with someone. It's quality time together and interacting in a way that watching a movie can't compare too. When you get so into a story that both of your voices are cracking but you still don't want to take a break - it's magic. One of my best college memories was building a fort in my good friend's living room and spending an entire rainy day reading Peter Pan to each other. So yeah - this quote sums everything up perfectly!

Bridget:  “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” ― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird

I personally have never actually feared that I would lose my ability to read; however, life often gets in the way of sitting down and just relaxing for a few hours with a book, and when it's been several days without doing that, I do feel significantly "off." But an hour or two with a book on the couch or in bed will fix me right up. Reading has always been something that has come naturally to me--much like breathing--and the thought of ever not being able to read, for whatever reason that might be, is almost as scary as not being able to breathe. I don't just mean books, either. Think about it...just about anything you do on the internet involves reading. I could spend days on reddit, but it's because I like to read people's crazy stories. What would we do without reading?

Kimberly:  "Reading one book is like eating one potato chip."--Diane Duane, So You Want To Be A Wizard

Can you think of a better way to describe how wonderfully addictive reading is? The first time I read that quote, about 12 or so years ago, I actually sighed. It was so perfect. My love of reading so perfectly described in a way that I could explain to others. I was at the airport in San Diego last year, dragging my suitcase behind me and stopped so fast my friend ran right into me. I'd completely forgotten to walk because RIGHT THERE, on the WALL, in an AIRPORT, was my quote. It had been painted there. I was so excited I even took a picture of it.

What about you guys?  What are some of your favorite quotes about books or reading?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren't Books) That Lori Would Like To Own

To learn more about Top Ten Tuesday or see a list of future topics click here!

1.  To the Lighthouse Book Cover T-Shirt--I LOVE this shirt!  (And so many other shirts from Out of Print Clothing).  I will totally buy it one day...but I feel like I need to actually read the book before I buy the shirt.

2.  She is too fond of books Necklace--I saw this piece on a book blog I follow.  I absolutely love it!  You can buy it on Etsy.

3.  We do things My Way or the Hemingway shirt--Why would I not want this?  My friend owns it and he let me borrow it for my MA thesis defense.  Unfortunately, I was unable to style the t-shirt with something acceptable for such an occasion.  But I totally dig it.

4.  Book Clutch--I cannot remember which ones, but I know that Kate Spade at one point had several different classic book clutches.  I was able to find a picture of A Tale of Two Cities.  I think it's a fun way to carry some of your essentials.  Definitely a great conversation starter!

5.  Alice in Wonderland Flask--Uh, awesome!  I totally have to get one!  These are available on Etsy.

6.  Bookish Cardigan--I love cardigans!  I wear the all the stinking time.  Even in the summer because my office is freezing!  This is a really fun print, but it's not totally overwhelming, so you could totally wear it a lot of places.

7.  Leo Tolstoy Library Diffuser--So I'm not usually too big on scents, but I think it would be pretty cool to see what scents certain authors might evoke.  Currently, they have Dickens, Tolstoy, Austen, Wilde and a few others.  I hope they expand their collection to include more authors.  I would love an Ernest Hemingway one...but they have to make it first!

8.  Game of Thrones Mug Set--I'm not into Game of Thrones, but my boyfriend is.  I saw these mugs and think that they're super cool.  And I know he'd appreciate them because of the GoT theme.

9.  Harry Potter Title Hoodie--I've seen a few things listing the titles in order, but I really liked this one the best.  Maybe it's that the text is on the back.  I don't know.  Anyway, this is really cool and it's on Etsy.

10.  Clear Book Weight--This would be super handy.  Whenever I try to read, I frequently set my book down because I need to use my hand or hands and this would be a great way to not lose my place and keep reading.  Also good for windy days.

What sorts of bookish things are on your wishlist??

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jen Reviews Leap of Faith by Jaime Blair

Leap of Faith by Jaime Blair

Published: September 2013, Simon & Schuster

Source: Library

Rating: 3 stars


This is the first book in a really, really long time that I read in one sitting (disclosure: I did get up a for a snack and a few times for a bathroom break). I was hooked from the first page.

Faith doesn't have the best family life. Her mom is a drunk, a drug addict, and a sleeps with men for money. Her current scheme is getting paid $10,000 to carry another couple's baby (but they're gross and also drug addicts). Faith doesn't want the baby growing up in the same kind of environment she did, so once the baby is born she kidnaps her.

This was my favorite part of the book, her journey from Ohio to Florida. Faith is sixteen years old and you can tell she has no idea how to take care of a baby (even though she prepared reading books and buying diapers, formula, etc), she has no first hand experience with a newborn. She's petrified every time a police car drives by her, certain she's been caught. Once Faith and baby Addy are in Florida she realizes how difficult things are going to be for her. She tells everyone her name is Leah and that she's a couple years older than she really is. Getting a job is going to be almost impossible, no one to watch the Addy and how will Faith/Leah fill out all of the paperwork without potentially getting caught? Interesting...but it seemed like everything came too easy for her, she caught too many breaks.

Plus, the relationship with Chris moved too fast, it didn't feel realistic to me. Too fast, too serious, too quick. Two teenagers met two months ago and are already bringing up marriage? And the whole thing with Chris's mom and sister seemed out of place.

The ending. One of the most frustrating endings, especially because I don't think there is a sequel planned. When I finish a book I like it to end...not wonder who is on the other side of the door or what the reactions from your fake Florida family are. I felt like the whole book was building up to something and then it faltered at the end.

I enjoyed the overall concept of the just did not live up to my expectations.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 3/30 - 4/12

Daisy's Book Haul

-The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas: OBVIOUSLY I had to have this pretty bind up of the novella's!
-The Program by Suzanne Young: I've heard good things about it and I really like the cover! (Though I'm sad that they changed the cover for the sequel, because UGH now my books won't match when I buy it!)
-Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott: this sounds AMAZING! So I had to snatch it up :)
-Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier: I've been eyeing this for a while because I LOVE the title! And I've been meaning to read more fantasy novels.
-The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White: it's Egyptian mythology. Consider me fascinated.
-Wolfking aka Heer der Wolven
The Lost Prince aka De Dolende Prins by Bridget Wood: I kept stopping and staring at these two books in the second hand part of the book store, they're not being printed anymore and I read them when I was about 12 or so, it's mostly for sentimental value that I bought them. And because they kept staring at me.

Egalleys for Review:
-The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead: I really enjoyed Gameboard of the Gods and am excited to see what will happen in the sequel!
-Unmasking Juliet by Teri Wilson: I recently read Unleashing Mr. Darcy by the same author and it was a light, fun romance, so I'm hoping for the same with this one!
-Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne: SO MUCH EXCITEMENT! This sounds like the start of an awesome fantasy series!
-Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington: two lives, switching between them every 24 hours, YES PLEASE!
-The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala by Jeffe Kennedy: another YA fantasy series that sounds promising :)
-Ignited by Corrine Jackson: this is the final book in the Sense Thieves series and while I have some issues with it, I really want to know how it ends and if she ends up with the guy I'm rooting for.
-Fall With Me by Julie Particka: college romance that sounds like it could be REALLY GOOD.
-How To Lose A Lord in 10 Days or Less by Elizabeth Michels: I like the title and I'm always down for a good historical romance!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bookish Deals (33)

Hello! 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!

It's a beautiful day where I am so I am only going to do a few. If you are interesting in browsing here at all the nookbooks $2.99 and under

Green Rider by Kristen Britain - $1.99
On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, Karigan G'ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount's neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a "life and death" message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission "for love of country." As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, "Beware the shadow man..."

Karigan's promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

The New Spanish Table by Anya von Bremzen - $2.99
Welcome to the world's most exciting foodscape, Spain, with its vibrant marriage of rustic traditions, Mediterranean palate, and endlessly inventive cooks. "The New Spanish Table" lavishes with sexy tapas --Crisp Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce, Goat Cheese-Stuffed Pequillo Peppers. Heralds a gazpacho revolution--try the luscious, neon pink combination of cherry, tomato, and beet. Turns paella on its head with the dinner party favorite, Toasted Pasta "Paella" with Shrimp. From "taberna" owners and Michelin-starred chefs, farmers, fishermen, winemakers, and nuns who bake like a dream--in all, 300 glorious recipes, illustrated throughout in dazzling color. "Estupendo!"

Friday, April 11, 2014

Bookish Craft Round Up!

Hey Everyone! 

Now that spring is (basically here) I know I have caught the crafting fever. Maybe it goes along with Spring Cleaning- but I want to update my wardrobe with cute outfits and spruce up my house with cute projects. I thought that as a crafter and a reader I would make a mini-round up of book related crafts!

This one has been on the top of my craft to-do list for awhile now. I have the book and the fabric all picked out all ready. I just have to hit play on my netflix and get going!

 When you don't know what to do with all the left over pages that you carved out for the clutch above... may I suggest turning them into flowers? I am thinking that this is exactly what I'll do- and then I can feature them next to my shelf of antique books!

If flowers aren't your decor ideal- maybe candles are! Here is another way to reuse old pages and other ephemera around your house. Maybe old maps or old letters?

I have made this craft twice- and I love them! Once featuring Runaways and once featuring The Walking Dead. And you don't just have to use comic books- You can decoupage book pages or sheet music if that's what floats your boat! Side notes though: This craft is time consuming! These Runaways heels took 10 hours! Thankfully I had wine and friends over- but just something to consider before you start. Also- be careful when you wear them. Even though I put sealant on them- I wore my Walking Dead shoes when it was damp without thinking about it.... and the pieces started peeling :( (It's fixable- but again... time consuming)
I know these are just a few things- but I hope they've inspired some creative thoughts. If you don't want to cut up favorite books- maybe these are some uses for books that you just can't seem to get rid of ("Please used book store just take the ARC I don't want it anymore!") Give the old forgotten book in a corner a new way to bring joy into your life! Happy crafting and happy spring!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tahleen reminisces and reviews: "Roomies" by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

Title: Roomies
Authors: Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks, 2013 (print available from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Narrators: Becca Battoe, Emily Eiden

Rating: 3.5 stars

When Elizabeth (EB) gets the email with her roommate assignment for college in the fall, she immediately shoots off an email to introduce herself and ask about logistical things like microwaves and mini fridges. She is excited and very ready to leave her suburban New Jersey town for UC Berkeley in San Francisco, especially since her mother is driving her crazy. Plus, she might be able to finally see her gay father who moved to SF years ago. Lauren, on the other hand, is disappointed when she gets the email, since she had requested a single. She just wants to get some peace and be alone for once, as she is the oldest of six by at least 12 years. So their correspondence does not get off on the right foot, but eventually they start to open up to each other—perhaps too much.

When I started listening to this, I immediately was brought back to when I received my roommate assignment for college. It was a little different, as Facebook had just been released and you still needed a .edu email address to sign up for a page, and I didn't get an email address. I was just given a name and a phone number,  but I didn't have any qualms about calling Vanessa. As it turns out, I ended up talking to her mother for a while since she wasn't home when I first called, but eventually we caught up with each other and luckily we seemed perfect for each other. I still feel really lucky I got to have her as my roommate for two years! (Miss you, Vanessa!)

Anyway, back to the audiobook. Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando do a great job of creating unique voices for their characters, though I'm not 100% sure of who wrote which. My guess is Zarr wrote Lauren's part, and Altebrando wrote EB's. Each girl had very different situations and drama she had to deal with at home, and they shared a lot of this with each other through email. As we all know, it can be MUCH easier to talk about something in writing with someone you don't necessarily know in real life, especially since they might not know the other people you're talking about. But because each girl actually has her own personality and set of morals, things get hairy.

Honestly I was super annoyed with EB for almost the whole second half of the book. She really seemed to be a brat for a lot of that to me, but then again I have never had to deal with the situations she does. Still, I was glad (relieved?) when she came around.

As for the narration, I thought it was good. Becca Battoe reads Lauren's part, and Emily Eiden reads EB's. Both voices were different enough that I had no trouble distinguishing whose part was whose, and for the most part they were easy to listen to. I especially liked Battoe's narration; her voice is pretty soothing.

All in all, I do recommend this book if you like realistic fiction, dual-voice narrations, and/or are feeling nostalgic about college or are excited for your upcoming college experience. It's a good, easy read with a bit of drama and some nice character development.

Disclaimer: I got this digital audiobook via OverDrive from the library.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Top Ten Of The Most Unique Books We've Read


To learn more about Top Ten Tuesday or see a list of future topics click here!


 Jamie's picks

1. Liar by Justine Labarestier: OMG this book. I didn't really LOVE it but it was definitely one of the most unique (and frustrating for ME) books I've ever read. I don't know that I'll ever read something quite like it again.

2. Every Day by David Levithan: I have his other two books on my own personal TTT for today but I wanted to add this one in as well. I don't know that I've ever read a book where the MC whose gender was ambiguous. The story was amazing and unique but it also challenged me because the whole time I wanted to call the MC a he or a she. I had a hard time talking about the book without trying to attach a he/she to A. Also, hard to pin a genre to it which I love! It was just different and beautiful and a fave!

3. Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff: This one isn't unique in a WOW kind of way but it just FELT different? The MC is younger but it's not middle grade but it was just really quiet and reflective and smart. The plot wasn't anything unique but it just felt different to me if that makes sense...

Julia's Picks

4. The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran - This is a historical romance (if you couldn't tell by the word Duke in the title), and a lot of those are pretty similar. But Duran sets part of this book in India during the British occupation. The main character (said Duke) is half white half indian and it is so interesting to read about him and his thoughts. The romance is great, too! This book has inspired me to read more unique settings in my historical romances.

5. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak - This one wins for most unique narrator and story telling method with Death. The reason I read this book (outside of the glowing reviews at the time) was it intrigued me so much that the narrator was Death. It's also used as a story element that ties everything together. Great book. One of my all time favorites. It does bring the feels though. 

6. The Bridge by Rebecca Rogers Maher - This short story I stumbled into. It's a romance in the textbook sense, but it has some pretty deep underlying threads. You see the hero and heroine meet as they are about to commit suicide by jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge. They decide that they cannot kill themselves while the other is there because they could save the other person. They decide to spend the next 24 hrs together where each tries to convince the other what they have to live for. It's a heart wrenching novella but one that fully engrossed me in its unique charm.

Bridget's Pick

7. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I didn't know much about this book before picking it up, but it was thrilling, surreal, enchanting, and humbling all at once. It was, in a word, beautiful. You should read it if you haven't yet.

Tahleen's Picks

8. Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick. This was the Printz winner this year. There really is no telling what you're going to get when you jump in here, unless you've read a lot about it beforehand in reviews. I don't want to say too much for fear of spoiling it, but I will say there are seven tales contained in here, and they all come together beautiufully.

9. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner. Another Printz book, this time an honor. Set in what seems to be an alternate history in the 1940s, we read about many terrible things. That it's narrated by Standish Treadwell in dialect just adds to the strangeness and surreality of this nightmare world. I would definitely recommend this one to fans of George Orwell.

10. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. This might be THE weirdest and most disturbing books I've ever read. Rape, incest, bestiality, magic, and individual heavens all rolled up in a young adult novel. Of course, this is another Printz honor. The writing is beautiful, though.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Julia Reviews Evertrue by Brodi Ashton

Title/Author: Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
Publisher/Year Published:  Jan 2014 by Balzer and Bray
How I got this book: The Library
Why I read this book: I wanted to finish the series.
Rating: 2 stars

Note: There will be spoilers for the other books in the series in this review, but I'll hide the spoilers for this book under a tag.

Well this book sucked the big one. The others in this series had some of the same issues, but they were really exacerbated in this book. Then take away the one thing that I found really interesting in the series (Cole) and it all just goes to shit.

Evertrue is the final book in the Everneath series, which to be honest is pretty mediocre to bad. The one thing that I really loved in this series was the author's ability to make a character that is seriously unforgivable in his asshatery. I adored the writing of Cole in the other books in the series. I wondered how she would try and redeem him, if she even tried to redeem him.

Instead this book took an overused trope and stripped the most interesting character from the story to leave a bland, overly convenient narrative that wasn't even worth the time I spent reading it. God, I don't even like summarizing this. It's so dumb. Cole disappears when the current queen catches wind that he wants to overthrow her (something Nikki does not want at all) and NIkki's all dying now. Blah.

Nikki and Jack are on a quest to destroy the Everneath so that Nikki can be human again and live her perfect live with a white picket fence, 2.5 children and a dog. The only problem is she needs Cole, who literally holds her heart, to stay alive. 

Seriously the first half of this book is pointless Nikki and Jack running around trying to discover things and only having them turn up in their lap. Like there are so many deus ex machina things that I am surprised my eyes didn't permanently roll into the back of my head. 

Everything was too convenient. Things that needed more explanation were never explained, like a lot of the mythos and what the hell was happening. I really like when characters would disappear and no one would bat an eye. Urgh and it isn't even the worst part.

Cole. Cole. Cole. The ONE thing I really liked about this series. The ONE character written amazingly well in a story of cardboard sludge. COLE gets figuratively murdered by an overused easy way out trope... which I won't rant about because it's a pretty heavy spoiler.

The ending is so predicable, but honestly that didn't have to be a bad thing. I read romance novels for God sake, which is like the pinnacle of predictability. It's the journey that makes it interesting. And this journey sucked. It was like the worst game of Clue ever played. 

So yeah I didn't like this book. I powered through and I'll give it two stars for actually keeping me engaged enough to read it and not skim. It is creative. But it's creative in the most boring way possible.

If you want to read my spoiler-filled review, I put it on my Booklikes. The text is pretty much the same so you can skip to the view spoilers tags. 

Did anyone else read this book? What did you all think? Am I alone in my contempt?

Friday, April 4, 2014

Relationships and Books

Image from The New Yorker

I come from a very small family.  At our major holidays, there are just six of us--me, my parents, my grandparents, and my uncle.  Within that group, there's really no one to talk to about the books I read.  I mean, my grandma reads a lot of chick lit.  My dad reads pretty much whatever I tell him and he makes some really good choices on his own, but discussing literature (beyond a kind of basic plot description) is not really his thing.  I could talk about books, but it would be a mostly one-sided conversation.  That's the way it has always been.

Until now.

My uncle is getting married.  I haven't met the person he's marrying yet or her teenage daughter.  In an effort to be happy about this change (I mean, adding two people to a family of six is kind of a big deal), I passed along some questions for my uncle to ask his intended.  One asked which side of the major intrastate rivalry she was on.  One asked which her favorite baseball team was.  These two would tell me a lot about her character and personality.  The last one, the most important one, was what are some of her favorite authors.  This question would tell me if I would ever have anything to say to her beyond a comment about the weather.

My uncle said he knew that she read.  A lot.  Sometimes several books at a time.  But he really didn't know any specific authors, so he'd get back to me.  I was hopeful, but not willing to count my chickens before they hatched.  I figured she read a lot of biographies and non-fiction, but that maybe we'd have some common historical interests and could talk about that.

I. Struck. Gold.

When my uncle reported back, I couldn't get over my elation!  We read the same kinds of books!  She likes literature!  Really good literature!  Austen, Bronte, Wharton, Parker, and several others that I am familiar with, even if I haven't read anything by them.  She also likes some modern classics authors that I've been meaning to get to, like Amy Tan.

I am not sure when I will finally meet her.  The wedding is in July, so I know it will be some time before then.  Regardless, I want to make sure we have something to talk about, so I quickly came up with three books I want to read beforehand--The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker, Persuasion by Jane Austen, and House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.  These are all books I've been wanting to read for a while, so I'm not being a total poser, but knowing that my uncle's future wife likes them helped bump them up higher on my list. question to you guys is:  Have you ever read certain books in order to further your relationship with someone (not necessarily romantic)?  How did it work out for you?
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