Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tahleen reviews: "Rush Me" by Allison Parr

Title: Rush Me
Author: Allison Parr
Publisher: Carina Press (e-book only), 2013

Rating: 4 stars

Rachael Hamilton is struggling to make a living in New York City, working as an intern (for free) at a major publisher with hopes of eventually landing her dream job, and temping to pay the bills. One night while out with her roommate at a party with theater friends, Rachael gets lost and finds herself in the wrong party. With the New York Leopards, the city's major football team. After an awkward and tense first encounter with the quarterback, Ryan Carter, she leaves in a hurry with a few angry, choice words—only to realize the next morning she forgot her scarf. Of course she goes back for it, only to be pulled into a poker game with some of the other Leopards, to Ryan's chagrin. Thus begins Rachael's unlikely friendship with a bunch of professional football players, and the slow-burn romance that eventually develops between her and the least likely of the Leopards, Mr. Carter himself.

So I really, really liked this book for the most part. It's what you expect with the "New Adult" genre (which I still maintain is adult fiction with Millenial main characters); young 20-something in the city, trying to find her way in the world, finds a hot and sexy romantic lead. But this book is flipping funny. I loved Rachael (though it took her WAY too long to get over her weird hatred of jocks in my opinion), and Ryan is great too. The secondary characters are all wonderful too; I loved how Rachael just falls in with these guys, who become very brotherly toward her. This was like my dream in college. It's a lot of fun to read.

The dialogue is sparkling and witty, and the situations are occasionally laugh-out-loud. This is a rom-com of the highest order. It was also refreshing that Rachael is Jewish, even though she says she's more Jewish in theory than in practice. Abe, however, seems to be a fairly devout Jew, which is nice to see.

I remember there being a few awkward moment while I was reading where I cringed at a word choice, I think maybe it was the use of a mental disorder as an adjective to describe someone or something that was clearly not suffering from said mental disorder, but other than that my only problem was waiting for the characters just get over themselves, already. I was really rooting for Rachael and Ryan to get together, and stay together, in the end.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoyed Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham, so long as they like more sex and steaminess in their fiction. Because there's that, too. I'm happy to say I've already got the two sequels, Running Back and Imaginary Lines, waiting on my nook.

I do have to say, I know the author personally (worked with her in high school and went to college with her!), but this in no way had any effect on what I thought of this book. Honestly, I'm relieved I liked it so much! Well, maybe I could hear her saying some of the things Rachael says and that made me like it even more, but it's still all good and I recommend it to you anyway. Great job, Allison!

Disclaimer: I bought this e-book with my own money. Even if I also bought it to support my friend. :) It's a bargain, anyway!

My Last Kiss Blog Tour!

Hey everyone! Today we welcome everyone from the My Last Kiss Blog tour. To help celebrate the release of My Last Kiss on June 10th, the author Bethany Neal is here to give us her top seven ghost stories!

Top 7 Ghost Stories

I made this list a top seven instead of top ten because you’re going to need the lucky number’s help to make it through watching/reading these terrifying—and sometimes heart wrenching—afterlife tales. 

1. Ghost (1990 movie version)
Patrick Swayze plays a man just starting his life with his 90s hot girlfriend Demi Moore when he’s tragically murdered for reasons that only Whoopi Goldberg and the power of love can help him reveal. Get ready to put pottery wheel lessons on your to-do list!

2. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This is one of maybe three novels that I’ve walked away from, but couldn’t resist going back to finish. The reason was not at all because it was bad, but because it was so good it hurt to read it. Get the Kleenex ready and visit Susie Salmon in the In Between.

3. The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
This one’s an I don’t know I’m a ghost ghost story. It’s lighter than the rest of the list (Casper excluded), but the love story sneaks up on you and tugs on your heart strings from high up above the Golden Gate bridge (which is sorta kinda Heaven in this San Francisco-based tale).

4. The Sixth Sense (movie)
Get ready to sleep with the lights on for a week after you watch this movie so chocked full of ghosts walking among us that you will never again ask someone what they’re looking at when they seemingly stare off into space. With a catch phrase like ‘I see dead people,’ it’s seminal M. Night Shyamalan before his ah-ha! twist endings passed on into the gimmicky realm.

5. Casper (1995 movie version)
On the surface Casper McFadden is a lonely, playful ghost-boy with three crazy ghost-uncles (that make you wonder if “unfinished business” doesn’t run in the genes) who just wants a friend. But underneath the silly walk-through-walls premise is a soul that died before he got a chance to really live and longs to be real if only for ten minutes—granted by Christina Ricci’s dead mom—so he can get his first kiss. See, everything always goes back to a kiss!

6. The Ring (2002 movie version)
This is another one that will keep you up at night and glad that nobody owns a VCR anymore. There’s nothing creepier than a creepy little kid. Especially when she crawls out of your staticy TV screen and glowers behind a long, straggly mess of hair to tell you you only have seven days to live.
7. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
They made a movie out of this called The Haunting with Liam Neeson and Catherine Zeta-Jones, but do yourself a favor and read the book instead. If you’ve read other interviews I’ve done, you may know that Shirley Jackson’s novel We Have Always Lived in the Castle is one of my all time favorite books. She is the queen of subtle creep factor. Penguin actually just reissued her entire collection of novels and short stories, including Hill House. I suggest reading each and every one of them outside. The house is usually half the problem for her characters.

A big thanks to the awesome top 7 list! 

My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal comes out June 10th. 

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. 

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Cocktail and Conversation--Book Hype

Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is  A Cocktail & Conversation time. One of the TB&TB 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.

Name a case in which a book's hype ruined your reading experience.

Julia:  I don't think I have ever had a book ruined for me because of hype, but I have put off reading books because of the hype and high expectations (Divergent being the most recent example). I have had books that have a hell of a lot of hype surrounding them, like Outlander or Gone Girl for instance, that I read and disliked, but the hype really didn't cause me to dislike it. It just caused me to think what the hell everyone else was seeing but me.

Jen:  Harry Potter - I resisted for years!! But finally gave in and read the entire series last summer. So many people reference the books and talk about the characters that I felt left out! I'm glad I read the series! I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. The hype around the book definitely deterred me from reading it as the books (and movies) were being released. 

Kimberly:  The 5th Wave.  I swear, EVERYONE was talking about this book. I was reading raving reviews weeks before it even published. I was so excited to get my hands on it when it finally released. I don't think I have ever been more disappointed. I finished the book, but it took months. I kept waiting for it to get better. I think I only gave it two stars. I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn't. I think if I hadn't been so excited and hadn't read so many reviews praising it, I wouldn't have been as annoyed.

Lori:  So many books!  I've bought so many books because of the hype (the first, I remember, was Edgar Sawtelle) and then realized that the book just wasn't me.  Usually in these cases, I don't wind up reading the book at all and just discreetly donate it or let it sit on my shelves forever (where it points and laughs and mocks me), but sometimes I read quite a bit of the book before realizing I'm just not that into it.  I think it's mostly a case of me not looking very closely at the blurb or knee-jerk buying a book; if I had looked into things before buying, I probably would have saved my money.

What about y'all?  Have you ever been let down or led astray by a book's hype?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Julia Reviews Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

Title/Author: Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Publisher/Year Published:  Aug 2012 by DAW
How I got this book: My sister owns the book, so I borrowed it
Why I read this book: How freaking cool of a concept is this?
Rating: 4.5 stars

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .
I am really amazingly in love with this concept. From the first moment I read the summary I started day-dreaming about what I would pull from my favorite series. Libriomancer is the story about a man thrown into a mystery war like thing that threatens his whole way of life. Isaac was thrown out of field work before even getting the chance to start, so having vampires come after him and claim it was because the Porters (the name of the Libriomancer group founded by Gutenberg)  started it, startles him into a high-stakes adventure. Soon Lena Greenwood shows up to help, and they are off trying to find out what the hell is going on.

The story itself is entertaining and page-turny. There are a lot of twists and turns and everything in the plot makes sense in the world that was created. But the best part for me is the world building. I find myself still getting lost in the concept of actually being a Libriomancer more than the actual story. Isaac and Lena and all the secondary characters are interesting and all that, but I just cant get past the idea of being able to physically connect with a story. I did really love some of the twists and called one of them to an extent. I was so proud I texted my sister. I loved how they talked about different species of vampires that came from different book series, so they have different properties. It is clearly a well defined cannon.

There were some things though that took me out of the story. The one that sticks out is the ending and certain things about certain characters. I was just thrown off I guess. Another thing that through me off, and this is very much a me thing, was I could not visualize the main character. I either kept picturing the author because I am aware of what he looks like from his cover posing series, or I was trying to picture the cover guy. But the cover guy never really stuck because, and this is horrible to say, the characterization of the main character is smart and resilient not athletic and traditional hero-y. My brain for some reason can't jive that this attractive man on the cover, this traditional badass hero, is the same guy I am reading about. It makes no damn sense.

Anyway everything was entertaining and I gobbled the book up. It wasn't a really heavy fantasy series, but that doesn't mean things were not fleshed out. The fantasy in this book is probably of the type that is most accessible to me. I can't wait to continue the series, though I think the next book will differ greatly from this one based on where the last ended.

So if the synopsis sounds good to you and you like fantasy, give this one a go. It's totally worth the time.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: Top Series I Need to Finish

To learn more about Top Ten Tuesday or see the list of future topics click here.

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie Week

Top Series I Need to Finish/Catch-up With

1. The Pennyroyal Green Series by Julie Anne Long
I swear I have been catching up to this series for two years now. I've always been books and books behind, but now I am only one off the latest release. So this one is doable!

2. The Darkest London Series by Kristen Callihan
I love this series and it is almost unheard of that I have not read the most recent in the series. In fact I may even be two books behind! I am not entirely sure, which makes it worse.

3. The Iron Seas Series by Meljean Brook
I read the first book in this series probably three years ago. I liked it enough, but never was able to get my hands on the second one. Now I have been told that the third or forth is the best one, but I am so far behind I feel like I will never get to it. This series is one of my goals this year... that so far I have not even touched yet. Sigh.

4. The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
This series is finished and have been finished for at least a year. I am still either one book three or book four. I really want to delve into this and read the whole thing in a glomp. I think that would work out the best.

5. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
I've heard so many things (in a general sense not a spoiler sense) about the last book in this series. I want to get to it so bad so I can go back and read all the kerfuffle that happened when it came out. I just recently read Divergent so I don't know when I will get to the other two. Hopefully soon so I wont forget all the main points of the plot.

6. The Spymaster Series by Joanna Bourne
This is another one of those series where I read the first book, loved it, and then never picked up the second. I need to get on that!

7. The Gentleman of Scottland Yard Series by Jillian Stone
I read the first book in this series a long time ago and praised it for its ingenuity in a historical romance genre of sameness. I love reading stories set in something that is not uppercrust Regency England, so I really must continue this series.

8. The Brothers Sinister Series by Courtney Milan
Courtney Milan is a hit and miss author for me, but I loved both the novella that started this series and book one proper. The second and third books are out and I have them on my computer. I just need to carve some time for them.

9. The Beyond Series by Kit Rocha
I dont read a lot of erotic romance, but book one in this series, Beyond Shame, was really good. I loved the world in which it was set, and the romance wasn't half bad either. I know at least two more books have been published, but again I am behind the times.

10. The Veiled Seduction Trilogy by Heather Snow
I won the first book in a giveaway a while back and thought that the heroine was super interesting. She was a lady scientist in a historical settings, and I believe the other two books are of a similar vein. So I of course need to read these ones as well.

So what about you guys? What is your pick for this weeks topic? There are sure to be some creative links in this one, so hop around and get some ideas!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Daisy's Mini-Review of Unleashing Mr Darcy by Teri Wilson

Title/Author: Unleashing Mr Darcy by Teri Wilson
Publisher/Date published: MIRA, April 1st 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

So I can't resist a book inspired by Pride and Prejudice and Mr Darcy and Elizabeth as dog enthusiasts? Not reading this was obviously not an option. If you're like me, here's why you need to pick this up:

-It has really cute dogs and dog-people in it.

-There are sparks between Elizabeth and Donovan ALL over the place.

-Elizabeth moves from the US to England to get paid to sit/groom dogs, which is awesome.

-I loved that Elizabeth had a crazy family and one of her sister's was just wonderful, the way a sister should be.

-While some of the plot was slightly ridiculous and at times they seemed to be making problems for no other reason than to NOT end up together at 100 pages, it was really entertaining.

This was light and fluffy just when I needed it and I really enjoyed reading it!

My rating: 4 stars

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Broke and Bookish Book Haul for 5/11 - 5/24

Daisy's Book Haul

-It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden: I really like Caroline Linden's writing, so I had to order this one!
-The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle: I LOVED When You Were Mine and this sounds like it has heartbreaking potential.
-Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton: I've been eyeing this ever since it came out, so I decided to finally order it.
-The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans: it has a female dressmaker in Victorian London and romance and intrigue and YES PLEASE!
-Pegasus by Robin McKinley: I've been eyeing this for a LONG time as well and it's Robin McKinley, I don't really need another reason.
-Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg: this sounds really cute and I forever be drawn to Pride and Prejudice retellings!
-One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: so I admit that my buying this was triggered by the author's recent passing, but I really loved Love In the Time of Cholera. Also, the cashier totally fangirled over it at the check-out, which was kinda awesome :) I love seeing fellow book-people work in bookstores!
-The Unexpected Consequences of Love by Jill Mansell: I LOVE Jill Mansell so when I saw this at the local bookstore I just HAD to buy it. Obviously.
-Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer: I spotted this on someone's TTT comparing it to Hart of Dixie and as I'm having major Zade-withdrawal, I'm gonna use this to try and make the wait a little less excruciating. And also I'm gonna marathon watch the show again.
-Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson: I keep hearing all these amazing things about her writing and decided I needed in on it.

Egalley for Review:
-The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett: I love stories from a different POV, so Cinderella from the POV of the 'evil' stepsister sounds right up my alley!
-Awkwardly Ever After by Marni Bates: I really like the 2 books in this series I've read so far.
-Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld: a book in a book! Sounds awesome!
-Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis: Snow White retelling! YES!
-The Agincourt Bride
and The Tudor Bride by Joanna Hickson: the story of Catherine de Valois, I've never read much about her before, so this is perfect!
-Winning Miss Wakefield by Vivienne Lorret: this will be perfect when I need to get my romance on :)
-The Fall of Grace by Julia London: I love this plot thing when two people who are already married fall in love.
-Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini: I am beyond excited because OMG I LOVED her Unearthly series and I cannot wait to read this new series!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bookish Deals (35)

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!

The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki - $1.99
Everyone knows Benedict Arnold—the Revolutionary War general who betrayed America and fled to the British—as history’s most notorious turncoat. Many know Arnold’s co-conspirator, Major John André, who was apprehended with Arnold’s documents in his boots and hanged at the orders of General George Washington. But few know of the integral third character in the plot: a charming young woman who not only contributed to the betrayal but orchestrated it.

Socialite Peggy Shippen is half Benedict Arnold’s age when she seduces the war hero during his stint as military commander of Philadelphia. Blinded by his young bride’s beauty and wit, Arnold does not realize that she harbors a secret: loyalty to the British. Nor does he know that she hides a past romance with the handsome British spy John André. Peggy watches as her husband, crippled from battle wounds and in debt from years of service to the colonies, grows ever more disillusioned with his hero, Washington, and the American cause. Together with her former love and her disaffected husband, Peggy hatches the plot to deliver West Point to the British and, in exchange, win fame and fortune for herself and Arnold.

The Girl Who Came Home by Hazel Gaynor - $1.99

Inspired by true events, The Girl Who Came Home is the poignant story of a group of Irish emigrants aboard RMS Titanic—a seamless blend of fact and fiction that explores the tragedy’s impact and its lasting repercussions on survivors and their descendants.

Ireland, 1912. Fourteen members of a small village set sail on RMS Titanic, hoping to find a better life in America. For seventeen-year-old Maggie Murphy, the journey is bittersweet. Though her future lies in an unknown new place, her heart remains in Ireland with Séamus, the sweetheart she left behind. When disaster strikes, Maggie is one of the lucky few passengers in steerage who survives. Waking up alone in a New York hospital, she vows never to speak of the terror and panic of that terrible night ever again.

Chicago, 1982. Adrift after the death of her father, Grace Butler struggles to decide what comes next. When her Great Nana Maggie shares the painful secret she harbored for almost a lifetime about the Titanic, the revelation gives Grace new direction—and leads her and Maggie to unexpected reunions with those they thought lost long ago.

Dreamcatcher by Stephen King - $2.99

Once upon a time, in the haunted city of Derry, four boys stood together and did a brave thing. It was something that changed them in ways they could never begin to understand.

Twenty-five years after saving a Down's-syndrome kid from bullies, Beav, Henry, Pete, and Jonesy -- now men with separate lives and separate problems -- reunite in the woods of Maine for their annual hunting trip. But when a stranger stumbles into their camp, disoriented and mumbling something about lights in the sky, chaos erupts.

Soon, the four friends are plunged into a horrifying struggle with a creature from another world where their only chance of survival is locked in their shared past -- and in the Dreamcatcher.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Personal Reading Rules

My apologies for the lateness of this post!  The wifi at work wouldn't connect to my laptop, then I had some things to do once I got home from work.  But all of this allowed me some extra time to think about my post for today--personal reading rules.  Well, they're more like guidelines rather than actual rules...

You know you have them.  A set of rules, guidelines, ideals, whatever you want to call them that you try to adhere to when you are reading.  Here are some of mine:

1.  You don't have time to read everything.  So don't try to read everything.  You're going to have to make some choices.  Maybe just aim for the highlights of whatever kind of book you like and read the entire offerings of only a few authors.  Yes, you might miss out on some things, but if you're smart about it you can have a lifetime of reading books that interest you.

2.  You won't like everything...  I am really dealing with this one right now.  I am reading Ulysses by James Joyce.  It's reminding me of being a lit major--someone showing off how smart they are just because they can.  It's really difficult and I don't really like it.  But that's OK.  I don't have to like everything.  Even if all of my friends loved it.  If they are really my friends, they'll love me anyway.

3.  ...But sometimes it's worth it to push through.  Some books wind up redeeming themselves if you can just push past that icky part.  Or you might just really want to read a particular book (see my experiences with James Joyce) in spite of not liking it, so you push through to the end.  You still might not like the book, but you can at least appreciate the experience and the work that went into it.  I am hoping that this will be the case with Ulysses.

4.  It's OK to not finish some books.  I DNF a lot of books.  I have even gone through my bookshelves and gotten rid of books I've never even picked up.  I decided that I just didn't want to read that book, so why bother keeping it?  I can make space for more books.

5.  Sometimes it's just not the right time to read a book.  I don't know how many times I've set aside a book I haven't really been into, but picked it up later and loved it.  A notable example of this for me was Anna Karenina.  I don't know how many times I started reading that book.  So many times that I was able to skim the first 100 or so pages because I had read them many times.  But I finally finished the book and I got really involved in it.  I think that a couple of nights of locking myself in my room and refusing supper were involved because I just had to finish!

6.  Some books are meant to be binge-read.  I first read East of Eden the summer before I started grad school.  It's a pretty big book.  I read the entire thing in four days.  I recently decided to pick it up again and go back and savor the book, pick up the details I missed last time because I read it so quickly.  I read 140 pages in one evening, which for me is quite a bit.  Since that day, I have tried reading a few pages before going to bed.  No dice.  Apparently, I can only read this book in large chunks.

7.  There will always be another book.  My TBR list and pile are obscenely big.  But that's great because I always have a lot of choices when it comes to picking a new book to read.  Even if I am ever able to get through most of my TBR pile, one book always introduces me to another book or author and one conversation with a bookish person always gives me another book or author to explore.  I don't have to worry about this activity going away or no longer working.  I can keep going.  Wonderful!

What about you guys?  What are some of your personal reading rules?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

On Game of Thrones, and Why I Made My Husband Spoil it For Me

I was never really able to get into Game of Thrones. My friend Jess told me about it years ago (long before the TV series was out; long enough ago that when I bought the first book, I bought it at Borders), and I tried to read it, but I just felt meh about it. I’m not a big fan of fantasy to begin with (except for Harry Potter, I guess), and part of the reason why is because I’m really not interested in the world-building that has to be done. I don’t have much interest in having to learn a whole new vocabulary just to understand the book I’m reading.

Over the past few years, though, I’ve been hearing more and more about it, especially with the TV series coming out. Everyone has been absolutely raving over it. Naturally, because I’m a bit of a hipster, I assumed that if it was appealing to the lowest common denominator, then it wasn’t much good. So I kept avoiding it.

Finally, though, on my honeymoon a few weeks ago, my husband decided to read the first book of the series. He finished it in about two days and was glued to it that entire time. The more into it he seemed, the more interested in it I got. Once he finished it and told me how good it was, I said I thought I might give it a try—on the condition that he tell me the plot, spoilers and all.

Initially, he was scandalized that I would ask for the plot of the entire book, spoilers included. However, I managed to convince him to tell me (by telling him I would just read Wikipedia if he didn’t), and since he likes to talk and has a great memory for things he reads, I think he actually enjoyed spoiling the whole book for me.

When I’ve told people this, I’ve gotten incredulous looks. Why would I want the whole plot to be spoiled? Don’t I want to find out what happens on my own? To the second question I give an emphatic NO. See, I already know what happens: EVERYBODY DIES. TRAGICALLY. My cousin once told me that 75% of the characters from the first book are dead by the fourth, and they’re all dead by the fifth. (I don’t know how true that is, this is just hearsay, so don’t yell at me about spoilers 0_0). I don’t like when characters I like die. And since I knew that basically everybody dies horrible deaths in this series, I decided I wanted to know beforehand who bites it and how.

So really, having my husband spoil the book for me has really made it a lot more enjoyable to read (I’m almost done with it). Not only has he totally explained the world they live in, but he has also prepared me for the brutal deaths that I just don’t think I could have handled had they been a surprise. This way, I’m able to participate in a huge cultural phenomenon that previously I had been missing out on, but as a detached observer. I already know what’s going to happen, but I can still enjoy the little humorous bits, the heated dialogue, and the characters’ personalities—and best of all, I know which characters I shouldn’t get attached to!

I really think that if I had tried to read it again without any pre-knowledge of the events that were to occur, I probably would have put it down by now. As it is, it’ll still take me about three weeks to finish it, but that’s partially because I know who’s about to die and I’ve been trying to keep him alive as long as possible…

Have there ever been any books that you wanted to spoil or have spoiled for yourself? Or do you think I’m insane? Have you ever had a book spoiled for you that you didn’t want spoiled? (I’ve already had probably at least the second and third GoT books spoiled for me…I know who dies in the Red Wedding…) Did you still read the book even though it was spoiled?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

kimberly reviews: "maybe one day" by melissa kantor

Book: Maybe One Day
Author: Melissa Kantor
Series?: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn't sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia's crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe's unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

I decided to review this after yesterday's Top Ten Tuesday, it was one of the first books on my list . I'm not even sure why I decided to pick this one up. I think I read a friend's review of it and bought it on a whim. I did NOT expect how much this book would impact me. I connected to the characters immediately, their friendship is beautifully written, and shockingly realistic. I recognized elements of my own friendships in the friendship between Zoe and Olivia.

It's a bit difficult for me to really describe it... I think if I say too much, you'll just get bored reading about me babbling about this part I loved, and this part that made me cry...

Simply put, I could not put the book down. I was up WAY too late reading this, and I was actually crying as I read it. So much that after I finished the book I put a wet washcloth on my eyes for fear of having puffy eyes the next day! (Trying to explain that my swollen eyes were due to a book can be difficult...)

I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoys Contemporary novels, friendship stories, fans of John Green, or someone who is looking for a story that shows friendship in a new, very honest light.

Have you read this? What did you think? Or have you read a book that hit you harder emotionally than you could have expected?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Books About Friendship

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

Daisy's Picks

1. Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando: So obviously I needed to list this because it's all about reaching out to someone you don't know yet but who will be your roommate and what may be the start to a beautiful friendship. It was also really cute.

2. The International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams: I totally adored this book! It's about 4 friends who all go off on their own adventures, but it's also about the friendship between them. I'm still hoping for a sequel!

3. Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt: I adore Lauren Barnholdt's writing and this book is about a friendship gone wrong. I hadn't expected to like it as much as I did, but it was REALLY good!

Jen's Picks

4. All of the Harry Potter books: I don't this one even needs an explanation. Friendship is such an important element to the Harry Potter series!

5. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein: Seriously one of the best friendship books I have ever read. Maddie and Queenie are BFFs and somehow maintain a close friendship during WWII as they both are off doing brave things.

6. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler: Anna and Frankie are best friends who are both grieving over the loss of Matt, Frankie's brother. I loved their friendship so much because they seem so real.

7. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: New friends in Paris? Yes please!

8. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares: Four lifelong best friends separated one summer but they keep their bond by sharing a pair of jeans that they mail to each other.

Julia's Picks

9. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings is more than just a friendship story, but at its heart, it’s all about friendship. Frodo and Sam of course, but even among all the members of the Fellowship, friendship is a strong theme.

10. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Oh this book. I loved this book as a preteen. Coming of age and friendship I’d say go hand in hand as main themes of this novel. It didn’t recapture the magic when I read it post teen hood, but it was still a damn good book, and a damn good book about friendships.

So what about you guys? What are your favorite books about friendship?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tahleen reviews: "Breakfast Served Anytime" by Sarah Combs

Title: Breakfast Served Anytime
Author: Sarah Combs
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2014

Rating: 4.5 stars

I'm not really sure how to summarize this book with any justice, so I'll keep it brief. Gloria goes to Geek Camp to experience life on a college campus, with the ultimate plan of escaping Kentucky with her best friend for college. While there, she meets a bunch of new people whom she judges harshly at first, but eventually comes to be good friends with them. Most of all, she grows close to the people in her chosen "major" for the summer, forging bonds that, though strong, are not necessarily easily gained.

There is so much to love about this book. Combs managed to make me pick up a highlighter and highlight quotes. I never do that. I've never been someone who picks out quotes from literature unless I'm writing an English paper. But Combs' prose is lovely and exquisite in places. Not everywhere, though; everywhere else it just felt real to me. We get genuine, believable, real dialogue (and inner monologue) from Gloria and her friends.

This book is quiet and meandering at times, with no great amount of plot or conflict, but I think it's the better for it. It's a character-driven book, and if the reader is also going to college, it might make them take a closer look at their plan post and evaluate to see if it is actually the right path for them.

There were a few issues I had, mostly that some strings of the story didn't seem fully developed. Gloria mentions in the beginning about how the coal-vs-solar-energy debate would become extremely important to how her summer shaped out, but it didn't really pan out that way to me. It certainly played a part, but the importance didn't seem as high as I originally expected it to. I also thought the way the ending played out was a little weird too magical realism for the rest of the story. But those are small quibbles to an otherwise excellent book.

Basically, I loved this book. I highly recommend this to you if you like realistic fiction and young adult literature.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Paula reviews The Book on Fire

The Book On Fire by Keith Miller
Immanion Press 2009
I hunted it down on Amazon
5 stars

I finished this book about two weeks ago and I'm still in a hazy book hangover because it was so perfect. I wish that could be my whole review of it- but I'll try my best to do a better job describing it. Also, this author only has two books- but both of those books have earned a place on my favorites list. Here's to hoping his beautiful words happen again in a third book some day.

The premise of The Book on Fire is that a book thief arrives in Alexandria and meets a girl mysterious girl who immediately guesses what his favorite book is and asks for him to give it to her. She immediately begins ripping pages out and setting them on fire. He later becomes obsessed with finding a way into the Library of Alexandria which has been closed to the public for thousands of years and is fiercely protected by its librarians. The book burner helps him find a way in. Our thief makes his way in and meets and falls in love with a librarian there who is actually half book herself. 

This is one of those books that is less about the plot and more about the beautiful poetic quality of his prose. This is a book about book lovers. This is a book for book lovers. This is a book for someone who can curl up in the same spot for hours and completely lose their surroundings to the story they are occupying. This book so accurately captures the feeling of being entranced and obsessed with stories. It describes how stories are completely different when they are read alone than when they are read aloud and shared with another. It wonders what happens to a story when its book has been burned. 

I highly suggest that everyone who loves books (does anyone here know anyone like that?) submerge themselves in this book. Find a cozy corner and a glass of wine and dive in. And then go check out his other book The Book of Flying

Keith Miller if you happen to see this review- please write another book. I'm hooked. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Julia Reviews The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Title/Author: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Publisher/Year Published:  May 2013 by Simon and Schuster
How I got this book: I own the eBook
Why I read this book: Lots of people in the romance community loved this book. It has been on my to read for a while.
Rating: 5 stars

Every once in a while there is a story that you keep hearing about. Maybe it was something that didn't catch your eye right away, but the buzz surrounding it make you curious. That was this story for me. I was seeing five star review after five star review, so I finally decided to take a chance. 

The Rosie Project is a story about Don Tillman, a professor in genetics who likes his life just so. The story is told from his first person POV. Through his eyes we meet his two friends and hear stories about his not quite the norm life. Though I don't believe ever explicitly stated, Don suffers from Aspergers. Once a woman who he considered a friend told him that he would make an excellent husband. Figuring it was already out of the cards for him, he never really did anything about it until he gets an idea for something called The Wife Project. He devises a survey that he links on his online dating profile that there are a correct set of answers to. This way he doesn't have to waste time with all the face to face nonsense. 

There is a wrench however. Rosie. She is a friend of a friend who fails the survey with flying colors, a smoker, always late, things that Don is against. But he ends up helping her with a project to find out who her birth father is through a series of collecting DNA from unsuspecting men and testing for a match. And through that process everything that he has come to think about Rosie and his own Wife Project gets shuffled.

This book was a real surprise. I didn't think it would live up to the hype for me. For one, the characters of Rosie and Don are great, very dynamic and people I can see living in the real world. The plot itself has an amazing flow. I was able to just allow myself to be sucked away into the story. The primary story is the burgeoning romance, but the secondary find my dad story is great, too (though I did figure it out). 

This was such a refreshing read that I think will appeal to all those who like a story with some romance and unique characters. I don't think it is just for people who like chic lit or romance novels. It's a great story that has a lot of things that make you think along the way, especially with how the story comes to it's conclusion. I don't want to spoil anything but there was a scene in a restaurant that I was very surprised went down the way it did. It made me need to keep reading to find out how everything was going to work out in the end (was it going to work out in the end?! Ah!). 

The pace is a good one and I was able to finish this on one 4hr flight. If you like a beautiful story with a dash of love and humor, check this one out. It was one of my favorite reads of the year so far. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Cocktail & Conversation --- About Our Rating Systems

Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is  A Cocktail & Conversation time. One of the TB&TB 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.

What makes a book a five star read? How about a one star?

Jamie says:  THAT IS SO HARD because it depends on the type of book. Mostly 5 stars have it all though -- writing I love, made me think, characters I believe in, a story that was unputdownable and mostly EMOTIONS. Most of my 5 star books made me FEEL lots of things. I'm kind of stingy with 5 stars. Like let's say I'm reading something more on the light side but it was super awesome. I might give it a 4.5 because it didn't have the WHOLE PACKAGE. 5's are very special. A 1 means I would rather massage my husband's feet after a day of work and the gym before I touched that book. I don't stars mean the whole time I was probably wanting to put it down because something about it was REALLY bothering me. I don't have many one stars because I typically put them down before I finish.

Bridget says:  A book for me is a five-star read if it makes me take much longer lunch breaks than I'm supposed to and makes me stay up way too late because all I want to do is read. If I'm absorbed in the story to the extent that I think about it even when I'm not reading, even after I'm finished with it, it's probably a five-star read.  A one-star read, in my opinion, is one that spends either too much or too little time on world-building. Too much is just boring and tedious, but too little means I have no idea what's going on. This is my issue with most fantasy: you just get plopped in the middle of a brand new universe with all these new words that you have to figure out. And of course, a bad ending (i.e. either one that doesn't wrap things up, or one that I just think sucks) can ruin even the best book.

Lori says:  For me, a five-star read is a book that just gets to me.  I get totally sucked into the story.  I totally relate to the characters or can at least see their point of view.  I don't want to put the book down, so I usually stay up too late and/or skip meals because reading is obviously more important at that point.  The writing has to be really good in addition to having a good plot and good characters.  There are usually quotes that just knock me off my feet because they are so amazingly true.  I am really trying to be more stingy with my fives.  I think if I went back through my Goodreads list, most books would lose a few stars because on reflection they were just good reads, but didn't necessarily touch me.  A five is just special.  Like Jamie, a one-star read means that I just couldn't get into it.  I don't have many of those for pleasure reading books because if I hate a book that much, I usually just don't finish it.  There are a few books from classes that I have given one star because I had to finish the book and just hated it the whole time.  A lot of things make me not like a book, but being overly preachy and moralistic will make me hate a book

Tahleen says:  A 5 star review for me has to really affect me, make me pause in my reading to reflect, and stay with me for a while. It also must have excellent prose without it feeling like the author is trying too hard to be literary, and the characters must all be well-rounded and fleshed out without stock characters poking around. A great plot can certainly help, but that, for me, is not necessary--I like a good character study just as much. Basically, the book has to say something important without being preachy or overbearing.  I guess for a 1-star, it has to be pretty badly written with no interesting or compelling characters, and with offensive or harmful stereotypes or portrayals of certain ethnic, generational, cultural, or really any group of people. A book has to be pretty bad to get a 1-star review from me.

What about you?  What are your criteria?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Ten Books We Almost Put Down But Didn't

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

 Jamie's Picks:

1. Pride & Prejudice: YEP. One of my favorite books. I almost put this down because I was so not into it at first. I ended up pressing on because I didn't want to be the only girl in the world who didn't know who the swoonworthy Mr. Darcey was. Glad I kept going because I fell in love!

2. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman: I had bought this on a whim at a used book sale and read it many years ago because I had heard of the great Neil Gaiman and I wanted to give him a shot. It so wasn't my typical kind of read (especially at that point in time) and I almost put it down but I'm so glad I didn't. I need to read more Gaiman despite ending up enjoying it!

3. Eve & Adam by Katerine Applegate & Michael Grant: I wish I would have once I realized that this book was not at all what I thought it would be. Instead I kept going. It ended and I was like WHY DID I READ THIS.

Kimberly's Pick

4. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray:  I couldn't stand the narrative style at first. I want sure if I wanted to even try reading it. But since I had already bought I decided to read it. And I ended up loving it!

Bridget's Pick

5. The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling: It took me forever (aka about a month and 200 pages) to get into this book, but I'm so glad I pushed through and finished it! For those of you who weren't able to get into it, I totally understand--it took a while for it to all come together. But I would recommend giving it another try, I think it was worth it in the end.

Paula's Pick

6. The Town That Forgot How to Breathe by Kenneth Harvey - I pushed through this book but I wish I had the capability of putting books down because I would have my three weeks back...

 Jana's Picks

7. Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally - I kind of wish I had just stopped this one, because I really did not enjoy it. I've read another book by this author and didn't like it either, so I'm thinking this author might not be for me. 

8. Black City by Elizabeth Richards - Call it morbid curiosity if you'd like, but I honestly stayed with this one only because I was curious as to how on EARTH these people were going to pull themselves out of this situation. But the book was just way too dark and disturbing for me, and there's one part in particular that has scarred me for life. So... I should have quit! Haha.

What about you guys? Which books did you almost put down but then didn't? Is it normally a good or bad experience when this happens?

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