Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Ten Graphic Novel Recommendations

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics, click here.

Hi everyone! We're back! Thanks so much for hanging in there with us while we took a much needed break. Some of us are dealing with some health issues and we've got a whole puddle of new babies who need their mommies, so life kind of got in the way! We're still figuring out our mojo in light of all these changes, so thanks for your patience as we sort through what the future holds for us. :)

We can't wait to see what direction you took this week's topic in! Link up your posts and we'll do our best to stop by and visit you. :)

Today I, Jana, am tackling this topic on my own and decided to highlight some graphic novels I've read and enjoyed recently. I'm a baby when it comes to this entire world of graphic novels, so recommend some of your favorites if you'd like!

1. The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neil: SO cute, very pretty illustrations, and lots of adorable tea dragons!

2. The Little Red Wolf by Amelie Flechais: A topsy turvy retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Kind of dark, but beautiful.

3. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: Fantasy with an awesome heroine! And villains!

4. The Arrival by Shaun Tan: A very sweet, wordless immigration story.

5. Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale: A wild, wild west Rapunzel!

6. Spill Zone by Scott Westerfield: A sci-fi graphic novel that Marissa Meyer blurbed!

7. Cast No Shadow by Nick Tapalansky: Guy is in love with a ghost. HELLO.

8. Saved By The Bell #1 by Joelle Sellner: It's SBTB!

9. Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer: It's The Lunar Chronicles! I loved seeing my old friends.

10. In Real Life by by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang: It's about gamers!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Cocktail and Conversation

It's been a couple of weeks since our last edition of Cocktail and Conversation.  Pour yourself a drink, pull up a chair, and let's chat.

This week's question:  What is your favorite room/spot at home? (Not just for reading, but generally)

Lori says:  I love our back porch.  My boyfriend and I sit outside on the back porch for hours, just chilling and having a couple of beverages.  I also love doing yoga, eating, and reading out there.  I bought a lot of plants and flowers to cover the porch this spring, which makes it just lovely.

Jana says:  My favorite spot in my house is my bedroom. I just re-did the entire thing last summer, so I've got a book nook and tons of bookshelves, a really comfy chair with throw pillows and soft blankets, and a cute little lamp that puts off the coziest warm light. I love spending my time reading there or watching my favorite old movies.

What about you?  What's your favorite spot in your home?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

July Faves and August TBR

I can't believe how quickly this summer is flying by!  It's time for another post about our favorite reads and our TBR.


Jana says--So... I read one book in July and hated it, so I don't have a favorite. lol

Kimberly says--I didn't read a single book in July.... It's been a weird month. (Good! But weird. Haha)

Lauren says--The Vanishing Year by Kate Moretti--I have so many books on my TBR that I gave my boyfriend 3 book titles and this is the one he chose. I wasn't disappointed! This was a suspenseful psychological thriller that keep me guessing until about 80% into the book. Which for me is pretty damn good.

Lori says--Moranthology by Caitlin Moran--This book was such a delight to read!  Moran speaks out on a variety of topics that had my laughing out loud.  This is one of those books where I drove my boyfriend crazy by regularly reading him passages.  It made me purchase all of the rest of her books.  Can't wait to dive on it!


Jana says--Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett--It sounds like a really exciting fantasy with lots of snow, which is great because the heat is stifling in my neck of the woods right now! And it's about royal explorers! Sounds great to me!

Kimberly says--I am currently reading The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller. It's Adorakable. I don't care for that word? But it's kinda perfect to describe the book and its characters. 

Lauren says--Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris--I picked this one up because I enjoyed The Vanishing Year. I was just in the mood for another thriller. I've just started and I'm already engrossed in the story!

Lori says--Bitch Doctrine: Essays for Dissenting Adults by Laurie Penny--I pre-ordered this one a while ago.  I. Love. Essays.  I love essays especially about feminism.  I don't know why (OK, probably PMS), but I've been angry lately and I am just chomping at the bit to read some kickass essays.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

A Cocktail and a Conversation

It's time for another cocktail and conversation with the Broke and Bookish ladies!  Grab a drink, pull up a chair, and join in the conversation...

This week's question:  What ritual or act helps you feel pulled together?

Jana says:  That's hard because I never really feel pulled together! Haha. My answer would have to be straightening my hair. I've got super curly hair that feels majorly out of control most of the time if I let it go wild, so if taking the 30 minutes to straighten it each day makes me feel much more in control and confident. And that's not to say I don't love going curly here and there, I just love the feel of silky smooth hair I can run my fingers through!

Lori says:  As superficial as it sounds, I feel put together when I put on mascara and moisturizer and my jewelry.  Bonus points for myself if the bed gets made.  :)  If everything else is going to shit, I feel less bad and more human when I do those two (or three) things.

Kimberly says:  Putting on eyeliner and straightening or curling my hair are pretty much guaranteed to make me feel put together and capable of being a functioning human. It's not much, but sometimes it's all I need.

Lauren says:  I'll be completely honest here... putting on my bra. Yup. I don't go anywhere without it on and usually even wear it around my house  even if we don't have company over. And bare feet! Of course I always have shoes on when I leave the house. (I may be from Kentucky, but we aren't always barefoot. Haha.) But I still have to have socks or flip flops on if we have company. I guess I feel exposed or something. I don't know. So I guess this girl has to have things covered up or the day is ruined! Haha. :)

Julia says:  I guess I feel put together when I leave the house in not a t-shirt and jeans and I actually feel like I could pass for being somewhat fashion relevant. I've been trying to do it more lately in case I have surprise meetings with CIOs of major US Healthcare providers and don't end up wearing my dinosaur hoodie again.

What about you?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Recipe--Breakfast Stuffed Green Peppers

I love cooking.  So much.  I'm at the point where I like to do some meal prep on a Sunday and be pretty well set for breakfast and/or lunch for most of the rest of the week.  It just makes my life easier.  I know I'm getting good food with little repeat effort, so I'm less tempted to eat crappy food.  This week I decided to make stuffed green peppers with a bit of a breakfast hint.  My plan is to get four meals out of this recipe, so adjust accordingly.

2 Bell Peppers
1/2 lb Ground Beef
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Chili Powder, to taste
Garlic Powder, to taste
Onion Powder, to taste
Cumin, to taste
Onion (I used about an 1/8 of an onion, but whatever)
3.5 oz can Green Chiles
Hashbrowns  (I used sparingly, like 1/4 cup, because I'm cutting carbs--you do you)
Grated Cheese  (I used cheddar, but whatever would be good)
3 Eggs
1/4 cup Milk
1/4 Tb Flour

Cut the tops off of the bell peppers.  Set the tops aside.  Remove the seeds and whatnot.

Boil the peppers in water for 5 minutes.  Drain.

Meanwhile, dice up the tops of the peppers and the onion.

This might not be a bad time to start the oven.  350 degrees.

Cook up the ground beef.  Add your seasonings.  Add your pepper tops and onion.  Cook until they look good.

If your hashbrowns need any pre-browning (see package for directions), now would be the time to do that.  After cooking, if needed, add to the meat and veggies.

Add your green chiles.  Add your salsa.  (I think you could totally use Rotel, but I had fresh, homemade salsa that I wanted to use OR jalapeƱos would be a nice addition--the key is use what you like and/or what you have on hand)  Add your grated cheese.  I used approximately a shit-ton of cheddar because I like cheese.

Spray a loaf pan with Pam and put the peppers side by side.

Spoon the mixture in.  If you have extra, just put it in the pan around the peppers.  It's a tasty little bonus.  :)

Mix the milk, eggs, and flour in a separate cup or measuring cup or other receptacle.  Pour on top of the stuffed peppers.  If you added any extra stuffing to the pan, pour a little there too.

OK.  Now...the baking time was where I hit some issues.  I baked covered in aluminum at 350* for 30 minutes.  But the eggs were not done, so I wound up uncovering and adding 10 minute increments for another 30 minutes.  So maybe don't cover them?  Using this as a guideline, just cook them until the egg is set.

Then you can add more cheese on top.  Or not.

Eat up!  Add more salsa or hot sauce or avocado or whatever.

I ate half of one for supper.  My plan is to eat a half at a time throughout the week.  They're nice and savory, so you don't feel limited to eating them at breakfast, which I like.  Especially because I'm more of an eat in the late morning kind of person.

I love tweaking recipes, so if you try any variations, I would love to hear how they work!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

New Top Ten Tuesday Topics For When We Resume In August

Hey everyone! Jamie here! As promised, whilst on maternity leave and waiting for this baby to come out (ahh my due date is in 3 days),  I have put together some new topics for when we resume Top Ten Tuesday officially!

And I'll even do you a solid and post them here so you don't even HAVE to go over to the tab that says Top Ten Tuesday :)

August 15Ten book recommendations for ______________: (Skies the limit here...examples: for Hufflepuffs, for fans of Game of Thrones, for people who don't normally read YA, for animal lovers, for video game lovers, etc.
August 22: Back To School Freebie: anything "back to school" related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher, etc.
August 29: Ten Hidden Gem Books in X Genre: Pick a genre and share with us some books that have gone under the radar in that genre!
September 5: Ten Books I Struggled to Get Into But Ended Up Loving or Ten Books That Were A Chore To Get Through or Ten Books I've Most Recently Put Down (the theme is...books you had a hard time with...tweak it how ever you need)
September 12: Throwback Freebie: Ten Books I Loved During The First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 Years Ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. Tweak however you want!
September 19: Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List
September 26:  Ten Books That Feature Characters ____________: Examples: Ten books that feature black main characters, characters who hold interesting jobs, characters who have a mental illness, characters that are adopted, characters that play sports, etc, etc. Can't wait to see what you all come up with!

And...in the event that you are coming up with your own Top Ten Tuesday posts while we are on break...here's a linky to share them with us and others in the meantime!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Cocktail and Conversation

This week's question:  What is you favorite thing to cook and why?

Bridget said:  Probably my mother-in-law's macaroni and cheese recipe!! So easy and so delicious. Perfect for potlucks and picnics!

Kimberly said:  I'm not sure if it can be called a recipe, but I love making pasta salad. It's pretty simple, but so so yummy! It's perfect this time of year too, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, pepperoni and cheese with Italian dressing.

Lori said:  I love experimenting with pasta, but in the interest of something different--my favorite meal to make is fried chicken, fried potatoes, and corn bread.  I love the amount of time it takes to make the whole meal.  And my fried chicken recipe is just damn good.  :)

Jana said:  I love this chicken!  Sooooo good! I use a glass dish for baking instead of the foil, and it's crunchy and amazing.

What about you?

Saturday, July 1, 2017

June Favorites, July TBR

Here are our favorite books for June:

Lauren said:  The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin  I've always been a big Le Guin fan, so it was just a matter of time before I got around to reading this one. And I loved it. A man's dreams literally come true. Whatever he dreams becomes reality. Imagine dreaming of the ninja turtles and when you wake up... BAM! There are friggin ninja turtles everywhere! Or what I'd you have a nightmare where we live like Kevin Costner from the movie Waterworld? Bummer for the world when you wake up, right? We don't have control over our dreams and neither does the main character of this book who is terrified of dreaming. Wouldn't you be?

Lori said:  I would say The Green Mile, but I already listed that for this week's TTT, so I'll mention Blonde by Joyce Carol Oates.  I'm still reading it, but I am loving it!  The novel is a fictionalized account of Marilyn Monroe--one of my favorite actresses and one of the most interesting people I've heard about.

Here are our top TBR for July:

Lauren said:  The Wanderers by Meg Howrey  I've picked this book up at my local bookstore several times and the put it back down thinking, "I'll buy it when it comes out in paperback." Well, on my last bookstore trip, I couldn't take it anymore and bought it. I can't wait to finish my current read so I can dive in! This book follows several astronauts put in a 17 month realistic simulation of traveling to Mars. You know some crazy stuff is going to happen and I've got a front row ticket!

Lori said:  Aside from textbooks (yay, summer school [not]), I definitely want to read Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love by Thomas Maier.  It's been on my shelves for a while, so I'm taking it to Chicago with me.  I've seen a couple of episodes of the TV show and it's a really interesting narrative about something that actually happened.

What about you?

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Best Books We've Read So Far in 2017

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

Before we get to the topic at hand -- Jamie here with a little admin note. I know many people have noticed that the Top Ten Tuesday schedule hasn't been updated. As a group we've decided that Top Ten Tuesday is going to take a little break until August 15th.  I'm officially on baby watch (my due date is July 11) and Kimberly is right behind me so in July we will have 3 itty bitty Broke and Bookish babies that will have been born in the past few months (you might remember Daisy had her baby recently!) and the other ladies have a lot going on that would make it hard without all of us to contribute (plus I'm typically the one who makes sure TTT happens behind the scenes as well). So feel free to make your own lists while we take a break but there won't be any official Top Ten Tuesday's happening here. I'm on maternity leave as of Friday so I will be getting some topics ready for our return in August and hope to have them up soon so you have them well ahead of our return!

Jamie's Picks

1. The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord: Emery is one of my all time favorite authors and her latest just really really hit me on a personal level and was just all around amazing.

2. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han: I haven't read a series ending that made me as happy as this one! READ THIS SERIES IF YOU HAVEN'T.

3. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: Oh man, I knew Becky would deliver with her sophomore novel. I absolutely loved this book!

4. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne: This romance was EXACTLY what I needed!

5.  Windwitch by Sysan Dennard:  An amazing sequel to a series that I am just so ridiculously excited to continue on with!

Lori's Picks

6.  The Green Mile by Stephen King:  I just finished this weekend.  I know I am late to the party on this one, but I LOVED IT!

7.  The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan:  This was such a lovely collection of short stories and essays by a gal who tragically died 5 days after her college graduation. I would have loved to see what else she would have produced.

8.  Sex Object by Jessica Valenti:  Valenti wrote a very raw and vivid account of all of the ways sexism has shaped her life.  It was very eye-opening and made me angry and ggggrrrrrr!

9.  Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple:  From the author of Where'd You Go, Bernadette? Who hasn't vowed to be better and different starting today?  And who hasn't had those very plans burn around them?  This is a great book about that very occurrence.

10.  South and West by Joan Didion:  FINALLY! Something new by Didion!  I loved reading her notebooks about a trip she took throughout the South with her husband and the trip she took through California.  This volume is full of keen insights, which still (unfortunately, in some cases) ring true today.

Tell us the best books you read so far this year!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Nora Ephron

Today marks five years since Nora Ephron passed away.  She was such an amazing writer that I wanted to share some thoughts on her.  She wrote a bit of everything during her long and successful career.  She began as a journalist.  She moved into film, giving the world When Harry Met Sally and You've Got Mail.  She turned the breakup of her second marriage to Bernstein into a humorous novel, Heartburn, which was also turned into a movie.  She wrote about food.  She became an essayist and blogger.  Literally, she did it all.  But I don't want this to be a type of obituary.  The New York Times already wrote one.  Rather, I want to talk about what all she's meant to me.

Without really realizing it, I first encountered Nora Ephron when I watched You've Got Mail at age 11.  Four years ago (has it really been that long? Apparently!), I wrote a post gushing over that film.  In so many ways, it's the book lover's dream of the romantic ideal.  At least, it was this book lover's epitome of the romantic ideal for so long.  I loved the way Nora used language throughout the plot.  Little did I know that this film was a remake, with an original starring James Stewart and a musical starring Judy Garland.  But it felt so original and was an excellent commentary on the burgeoning world of email.  How many friends do I have now that I first encountered online?  Too many to count.  I've met a few of them in person.  But that doesn't matter.  It's really all about the power of technology to bring people together.

Shortly after she passed, The Most of Nora Ephron came out.  This volume puts together a sampling of all of her writing, including the screenplay to When Harry Met Sally and the entirety of her novel.  I pre-ordered the book.  And like most books that I buy, it sat on my shelves for quite some time.

No matter.

The proper time to read the book appeared about ten months later.  At that time, my full-time job was sitting in my beloved papa's hospital room.  Unfortunately, the months of him being in one facility or another had taken their toll and he was no longer the best of conversationalists.  There was little else for me to do but read most of the time.  But my reading had to come in spurts because there were always so many interruptions.  So I picked up this and took it with me.  It was perfect.  There were so many short pieces, but there were also longer pieces for the evenings when I did have longer stretches to read.  And she wrote with such humor and honesty that I didn't feel overly sappy and sad.  (I've compared this period in my life to Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying because of the tragicomedy that ensued)  I was reading this book when I learned about the deaths of Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall and just didn't understand.

Bottom line, she helped get me through that time.  She helped me be able to see the genuine humor in the little moments.  She helped me see the humor in the tragic moments.  She gave me a wonderful book to read.  She gave me something to aspire to.  She gave me a lot to think about.

This summer I picked up that volume again and read almost everything in it over the course of about four days.  I was again reminded of the wit and wisdom in her writing.  It inspired me to think about my own writing.  And it again inspired me to look for the humor, even in the humorless moments.  It's there.

I want to leave you with two very powerful pieces from the book, which were originally included in her 2011 book of essays, I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections.  These two close out her collected volume and they've always stuck with me in their smallness and bigness:

What I Won't Miss 
Dry skin
Bad dinners like the one we went to last night
Technology in general
My closet
Washing my hair
Illness everywhere
Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism
Fox TV
The collapse of the dollar
Joe Lieberman
Clarence Thomas
Bar mitzvahs
Dead flowers
The sound of the vacuum cleaner
E-mail. I now I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.
Small print
Panels on Women in Film
Taking off makeup every night

What I Will Miss
My kids
The concept of waffles
A walk in the park
The park
Shakespeare in the Park
The bed
Reading in bed
The view out the window
Twinkle lights
Dinner at home just the two of us
Dinner with friends
Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
Next year in Istanbul
Pride and Prejudice
The Christmas tree
Thanksgiving dinner
One for the table
The dogwood
Taking a bath
Coming over the bridge to Manhattan

Thanks, Ms. Ephron.  You are missed.

Friday, June 23, 2017

How My Reading Habits Have Changed

My reading habits have changed a lot over the years.  This post reflects on some of those changes...

Initially I was all about the classics.  If it wasn't a classic, I really kind of turned up my nose.  Then somewhere along the time of the great reading slump that lasted for the better part of a few years, where for every one book I read, I had started and discarded twenty (maybe an exaggeration, maybe not), I started branching out.  I've read so many wonderful contemporary books!  YA, sci-fy/fantasy...those still aren't my thing.  And that's OK.  But I'm not as wholly opposed to them as I once was.  If I started a good book and it happened to be YA, as long as it stayed good, I'd read it.  No need to be a snob.

Further, I've stopped stressing about the slumps.  I'm crazy-assed busy!  I do not always have time to read.  I still carry a book with me (almost) everywhere I go (mostly in case of a hostage situation), but if I don't have time to read for a few days, I usually wind up switching books because my interest has kind of petered out.  If I hit a string of books that I'm just not feeling, I don't bemoan my fate or wonder whether my reading days are over.  I just keep trying.  Eventually, I'll find something that grabs me and keeps me.

I stopped reviewing books.  I just didn't see the point in it.  Books were either classics that had been talked about to death (or no one but me was interested in) or new and already super hyped, so my saying anything--especially in the book community--wasn't going to sway anybody.  I'll definitely post a pic with my current read on Instagram, maybe even including a sentence about my current perception of the book.

I also talk about books differently.  My boyfriend is not a reader, so I'll tell him a snippet about what's driving me crazy about the book or what I'm liking.  Then, based on his follow-up questions, I go into way too much detail explaining the plot, complete with ALL THE BACKSTORY!  Then I think he regrets asking any questions about the book.  But I move on, he moves on.

My best friend will get the books I like or am feeling conflicted about thrust at her with a sentence--usually "Hey, read this; it's really effed up, but I kind of like it."  She'll read it and send me a text saying, "WTF, Lori!  This book is really effed up! But I kinda like it."  To which I respond, "I know, right?! That's why I'm making you read it."

As I've gravitated toward contemporary fiction, it's less often that I'll tell my dad to read something because there are fewer books that I think he'd be interested in reading.  But, interestingly, I'm more apt to tell my grandma to read things.  Books that include homosexual characters (The Nest) and the c-word! (Atonement)  She reads these books without much comment ("I liked it" or "That was hard to read") and returns them to me.

Like I said, nowadays I don't review books.  I don't even track them on Goodreads or in a notebook.  No, I sign my name and write the date I finished it on the inside cover.  Then I put the book in a cardboard box in the hall closet to make room for more books.  Some, however, like my Joan Didions, return to their shelves because I can't quite quit Joan...

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cocktail & Conversation

Pour yourself a drink and pull up a seat!  This week's question for the Broke and Bookish Ladies is:

Water park or amusement park? Why?

Bridget says:  Amusement park! I hate being all wet and squishy walking around the park. Plus I always just feel slimy with all that gross water, and awkward walking around in a bathing suit all day. Gimme a roller coaster over a water slide any day!

Jana says:  Amusement park! I'm with Bridget, I hate being wet all day and walking around in a swimsuit. I also fry and end up looking like a lobster after 30 minutes. I love roller coasters and other rides, though, and I've spent many summer days hanging out at various amusement parks. So many memories!

Lauren says:  I choose... both! For now I'd rather go to an amusement park because I am on my weight loss journey and I don't quite feel comfortable wearing swimwear yet. Plus I LOVE roller coasters!

Julia says:  I enjoy both water parks and amusement parks, but I usually go to amusement parks over water parks if I am looking for a vacation or a break. In fact I am heading out to one today to ride all of the roller coasters! Let's hope for good weather.

Lori says:  WATER PARKS!!!!!  I love chillin' in the lazy river (although kids have NO CHILL and constantly bump into my tube), but I also love riding the water rides.  I like being able to be outside, getting some sun, and staying cool at the same time.  Where's my fruity umbrella drink?  :)

Kimberly says:  I really like both, but I feel like I get bored with water parks faster. It could be because the only actual water park I've been to is Lagoon here in Utah. It's fun, but once you've done a few of the slides you've done it all. But I do love amusement parks! It's something I've missed this summer being pregnant, I could go walk around but I'd have to skip all the rides and who wants to do that?

Your turn!  Water park or amusement park?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Top Ten Series I've Been Meaning To Start But Haven't

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

Lori's Pick

1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman:  This kind of book normally isn't my thing, but I've heard such wonderful things about the third book! I feel weird just reading the last book of the series, so I'll have to push through the first two. Haha.

Jana's Picks

2. The Fire and Thorns Trilogy by Rae Carson
3. Lucky Harbor Series by Jill Shalvis

I don't really have anything to say about them except that people love them and I think they sound awesome!

Kimberly's Picks

4. The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella: I've heard so many good things, and I love Sophie Kinsella. I think I even own the first book. I just haven't started it yet.

5. Anything Terry Pratchett: I feel terrible that I haven't read any of his stuff! My husband isn't the bookworm that I am, and even he has read Pratchett!!

6. The Program by Suzanne Young: I've actually read the first book, but haven't continued on to the rest. I liked it! I just haven't picked up the others yet.

Jamie's Picks

7. The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater: Every since I started blogging in 2010 I have meant to read this series (I even own them) but still have not even read the first book! OOPS.

8. Shades of Magic series by Victoria Schwab: I hear amaaaazing things about this series and own the first two books but haven't gotten to them yet. STORY OF MY LIFE.

9. Heir Chronicles AND Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima: A friend gave me the whole Heir Chronicles series and I keep meaning to reading but ALSO everyone who is a fan of this author says the Seven Realms series is their FAVE so I keep meaning to grab that from the library.

10. The Selection series by Kiera Cass: Everyone I know talks about how this series is the ultimate book crack that you can just binge right through. I think I'm defintitely going to binge this while I'm out on maternity leave.

What series have you been meaning to start? Have you read any of the ones we haven't started? 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Best & Worst Dads We've Come Across In Literature

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

We are talking dads in literature -- the good and the bad!

 Jamie's picks: 

I honestly picked books I've read recently....not an OF ALL TIME sort of thing because I wanted to talk about books I read recently.

1. BEST: Lara Jean's dad in Jenny Han's To All The Boys I've Loved Before series: Oh man how I love Lara Jean's dad. LJ's dad is so wonderful and I love how he tries to uphold all the Korean traditions of their mother after she passes away. He's just seriously the best and such a caring dad.

2. BEST: Lucy's dad in The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord: Lucy's dad really reminded me of my stepfather in how he took care of my mom when she was sick. He's such a great dad to Lucy and I really enjoyed both of her parents.

3. BEST: Starr's dad in The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: OH MY GOD I LOVE HER DAD SO MUCH. Her mom too. I honestly would just read a book about her mom and dad because they are just so great.

4. BEST: Kate's dad in My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella: Kate's dad...oh I just loved him. He made me laugh sometimes with the whole glamping business thing and how grumpy the city made him (honestly kind of reminded me of my dad in some ways). He was such a caring dad and wanted his daughter to succeed but, like all dads, doesn't always show it in the most perfect of perfect ways. Loved their relationship.

5. WORST: Savannah's dad in All in Pieces by Suzanne Young: Her dad was seriously terrible. I wanted to kick him so many times. STOP BEING SO SHITTY.

6. WORST: Both Dill and Travis's dads in The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner: Two best friends with two awful dads. HAAAAAAATRED RUNS THROUGH MY VEINS WHEN I THINK ABOUT THEIR DADS.

Bridget's Pick

7. BEST: Mr. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice: He knows it's BS that Elizabeth is being pressured to marry Mr. Collins and defends her against her crazy mother. Seems like a chill dude who I'd like to have in my life!

Who are your picks??

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Cocktail and Conversation with the Broke and Bookish Ladies

It's been a while since we've done a Q&A post, so we decided to give it a shot.  This week's question is:

What do you miss most about being a kid during summer break?

Kimberly says:  I miss summer days with my Grandpa. I spent a lot of time with him as a kid. I remember very distinctly the smell and feel of mornings at his house. (Freshly brewed coffee. ) We'd go on adventures and do crafts. It was paradise for a kid!

Jana says:  I miss how valuable and precious summer used to be to me as a kid. School was out, and I had a few months of freedom. The sky wasn't even my limit, and I loved living every summer day like it was a gift I was given. :)

Jamie says:  I miss endless pool days with my sister, eating ice pops all day long, bare feet, the ice cream truck coming around after dinner....I just really miss not having any structure. My sister and I had so much fun during summer break -- from playing games we made up when we were little to sunning ourselves and reading by the pool when we got a bit older.

Lori says:  I miss how the summer just seemed endless.  Each day seemed like an opportunity for something huge and exciting to happen.  I also miss the summer reading program at the library.  (Why don't they have those for adults?!)  I miss going to the pool all day and not having to worry about the tab I was running up at the snack shack.  Basically, I miss the freedom to just do.

Bridget says:  I miss not hating the heat! I used to live for summer, like a lot of kids, but now I hate it. This could be due to the fact that I live far more south than I did when I was growing up (grew up in New York, currently live in North Carolina) and the heat here is just unbearable. I truly miss looking forward to summer rather than dreading it! Give me crisp fall weather any day and gtfo with your heat and humidity!

Daisy says:  I miss having the whole summer off and just getting to spend it having fun and being lazy! No responsibilities and not having to figure out what to have for dinner or actually make said dinner. All those endless days in the sun, swimming and reading piles of books were amazing!

Lauren says:  I miss hanging out with my grandparents and following them around all day. I miss running through the sunflowers that were taller than me, chasing butterflies, picking up baby birds that have fallen out of their nest and putting them back. Out of all of the memories I can sweep up, I miss sitting on the swing with my grandma. We'd talk about anything and everything, or we'd just swing and enjoy the country life. Oh... and I miss running around barefoot. :)

Julia says:  Reading all your answers. I agree with with them all. I'm so nostalgic for summer!

There you have it...What do you miss about being a kid during the summer?

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Jana's Request for Romantic Suspense Recommendations

Hi all! I went on a cruise to Mexico a few weeks ago and read Till Death by Jennifer Armentrout. LOVED IT. It was amazing, and my new favorite romantic suspense novel. I got quite a hankering for more, but I'm coming up empty. I tried a Barbara Freethy one afterwards, and DNF'd it because it was so bad. I am so unfamiliar with this genre and I've only read a handful of romantic suspense novels, even though they always end up being my favorite kind of books.

So I thought I'd take this to all of you, our ever faithful readers. I'm in desperate need of some good romantic suspense. I really only have two wishes for these recommendations:

1. No paranormal stuff. I just don't like it. lol. And this seems to be hard because all the RS novels I'm finding have paranormal elements to them.
2. No erotica. (Some sex is fine, but it needs to take a back seat to the story.)
3. (Wait, I lied.) I'm not a fan of gangs and drugs in books.

Other than that, I'm pretty open and I'm not kidding when I say that I probably have not read anything you're going to recommend to me because I'm such a newbie to this genre. So throw a TON of them at me. I will take all you have to offer! I was gifted Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard after getting recommendations from some friends on Twitter, so that's happening. I've heard it's super popular.

Anyway, help a girl out!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ten Contemporary Books We've Added To Our TBRs Lately

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

Jamie's Picks

1. Stay With Me by : A story of a marriage that is set in Nigeria.

2. Calling My Name by Liara Tamani: This sounds like a beautiful coming of age story!

3. You Bring The Distant Near by Mitali Perkins: Tells the story of an Indian-American immigrant family. It sounds soooo good.

Lori's Picks

4.  The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid:  This is my Book of the Month Club pick for June.  An aging Hollywood star hires a reporter to tell her life story.  Super juicy, from what I hear!

5.  Marlena by Julie Buntin:  This is the story of two teenagers who become friends and one of them goes off the rails and dies.  The other is still haunted by their friendship decades later.

6.  The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo:  A guy and a girl meet while in college and fall for each other, but life kind of keeps them apart.  It's been compared to Love Story for the new generation and as One Day meets Me Before You.

Jana's Picks

7. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda: I love mysteries and suspense novels, especially in the summer so I'm excited about this one. Two women who disappear 10 years apart?? Told in reverse?? YES.

8. Diving Into Trouble by Shona Husk: I also read a lot of contemporary romance, and this one takes place on a submarine! Super unique.

9. The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody: I love airport stories! And New Years Eve. And Jessica Brody. And blizzards.

10. You Say It First by Susan Mallery: Susan has a new series coming out about a destination wedding company owner. It sounds cute.

What contemporary books have you added to your TBR lately? 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ten of Jamie's Most Anticipated Reads For The Rest Of 2017

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

 I have so, so many books I'm excited about that are upcoming for the rest of 2017 so this list was PRETTY hard.

1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid: Taylor Jenkins Reid is an auto-buy author for me as I just adore her books and this one sounds amazing! An unknown reporter, Monique, gets contacted for the job of a lifetime — an Old Hollywood legend wants her to write her biography and share all the secrets and scandals of her life as she made her way up the ranks in Hollywood.

2. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab: I really enjoyed This Savage Song so I can't wait for this conclusion!

3. The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby: Jessi Kirby is one of my favorite contemporary YA writers and I feel like all her books are sooo underrated but anytime she has a new one out it is ALWAYS at the top of my most anticipated list!

4. The Girl With The Red Balloon by Katherine Locke: Historical fiction + time travel! I've been so excited for this book for YEARS because I follow the author on Twitter and I've loved every time she's talked about it or shared quotes from it so YEAH very high on my most anticipated list.

5. There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins: I am obsessed with all of Stephanie Perkins contemporary YA and I'm so so intrigued by her upcoming novel which is a HORROR NOVEL. I'm so game. I trust her.

6. Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley: Cath Crowley's Graffiti Moon is one of my all time favorite books and I have been DYING for this one.

7. Renegades by Marissa Meyer: Excited for a fantasy series from Marissa Meyer! I've really enjoyed the books I've read in her Lunar Chronicles series (which I still need to finish before I ever get to this one).

8. Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert: I really enjoyed Brandy Colbert's Pointe and I've been eagerly awaiting this one.

9.  Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush: “A thrilling new urban fantasy filled with magic and motorcycle gangs” — sounds amazing and unique right??

10. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao: “The Wrath and the Dawn meets Snow White and the Huntsman in this dark and mystical East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress.” NEEEEED.

BONUS: Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

 PS. If you want to know some of the other books I'm itching to read that comes out in this second half of 2017 you can check out this post and this post.

Tell me your most anticipated releases for the rest of 2017!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Beach Reads If You Don't Enjoy Contemporary

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

This week's topic: Summer Reads Freebie. We've got Daisy on the blog presenting beach reads that aren't the typical contemporary genres!


For me, basically anything can be a beach read, just put me on a beach and I will start reading. And I love a good mix of fantasy and other genres mixed in with my contemporaries.

1. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas: bet you didn't see that one coming ;) I love this series and even if you don't like contemporary, I still believe books with a strong/sexy romance are the way to go.

2. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I'm a big fan of reading chunky books on the beach, because usually you have a pretty decent amount of time to read when you're there, this one definitely falls in that category. Also: added bonus of being able to watch the series when you get home.

3. Anything by Sarah MacLean: if contemporary romance isn't you jam, maybe historical romance is with all the balls and ruination and bodice ripping (there's actually almost never any bodice ripping), and Sarah MacLean writes AMAZING historical romances!

4. Anything by Julia Quinn: see previous explanation.

5. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown: it's sure to keep your intention, and another chunky book.

6. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: I actually made the Mr read this on the beach and he loved it. And he basically only reads when we're on the beach.

7. The Bone Season series by Samantha Shannon: these books are SO good! And the third one just came out in March, so you can get a decent way into the series if you start now!

8. The Hex Hall series by Rachel Hawkins: if you're in the mood for somewhat light paranormal YA.

9. The Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima: if you like your beach with a side of epic YA fantasy.

10. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: because it's a whole lot of fun and a graphic novel, if you're not in the mood for chunky books.

What beach reads would you recommend to people who don't love contemporary?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Jamie Talks 10 Of The Best & Worst Moms/Motherly Figures She's Encountered In Books Recently

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

This week's topic: Mother's Day related Freebie: favorite moms in literature, books about motherhood, best mother/daughter or son relationships, books to buy your mom, worst moms in literature, etc. etc.


1.  Agnes in Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: Agnes is the grandmother of our main character, Ramona's, childhood friend Freddie. Agnes is not only a wonderful motherly type figure to Ramona when she's little and then when she returns into her life but she is Freddie's primary caretaker and is seriously THE BEST. I loved Agnes so much!

2. Blake's grandmother from Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner: Blake is one of the main character's friends who dies in the car accident (not a spoiler..it's in the summary). She has taken care of Blake since he was little because his real mom is the worst and then when Blake dies and she Carver embark on their Goodbye Day she does some good mothering towards him when he needs it most and refused to open up to his own parents (he does have a really good mom too!).

3. Molly's moms in The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: Seriously I love her moms!! They are supportive and wonderful and I really loved her relationship with them! Becky really made them feel real and vibrant and essential, with their own storylines, rather than have them kind of faded into the background as so many YA parents are.

4. Lucy's mom in The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord: Oh man, I loved Lucy's mom so much and it pained me so much that she was going through so much. She is such a loving mom to Lucy and I just thought she was great.

5. Frances's mom in Radio Silence by Alice Oseman: She isn't maybe as HUGE as a part in this book as the others I've listed but it was such a wonderful and healthy mother-daughter relationship that I really appreciated. It was really nice to see how close they were!

6. Starr's mom in The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Starr got the great end of parental units. I loved her mom (and dad) SO MUCH. She's really such a great mom. I would honestly read a book about Starr's parents to be completely honest.


7.  Ramona's mom in Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy: I listed Freddie's grandma as BEST motherly figure above but maaan Ramona's mom in this book was rough. She wasn't like the WORST WORST...you could see she did try sometimes...but she was a hot mess mostly from leaving them when they were younger and how she acted in some of the scenes.

8.  Dana's mom in Fireworks by Katie Cotugno: Dana's mom is awful and I really felt for Dana. I totally could have added her bff Olivia's mom to the great mom list above because she always showed up for Dana when her own mom didn't and treated her like another daughter. 

9.  Jeanette's mom in The Glass Castle: The saddest part is that, unlike the other moms listed, this one is real because this book is a memoir. Her dad was the worst but her mom was just as bad and was an enabler and just ughhh her manic personality was so hard to deal with. I could not even with the parents and their ways. SO TERRIBLE and sad...like really sad. I was amazed at how she could still find love for her mom (and dad) as an adult.

10. Joss Byrd's mom in Unscripted Joss Byrd: OH SO AWFUL. Joss is a child actor and her mom is seriously terrible and uses her and I just wanted to punch her. 

Tell me about the amazing and awful moms/motherly figures you've encountered recently!!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist

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

 This week's topic:

Ten Things On Our Reading Wishlist (topic originally done January 2014) -- things you want to see more of in books -- tropes, a time period, a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a certain plot, etc. All those things that make you think I WANT MORE OF THIS IN BOOKS!

We are sitting this week out because we couldn't get ourselves together this weekend to do it! I (Jamie) had plans of doing it today but I'm still feeling wrecked from my baby shower this week --- extroverting is hard. Also pregnancy is tiring, so is putting away all said stuff from baby shower. I need a nap again just thinking about it.

ANYWAYS...while we rest our brains, we can't wait to read through your reading wishlists!!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

10 Books With Food Or Drinks On the Cover

Sometimes I have these things that instantly catch my eye when I'm browsing book covers. One of those things is FOOD. Maybe it's because I am very passionate about food (especially dessert) but my eye is always drawn to covers with food on them.

So I'm going to share 10 books I've read or are on my TBR that have FOOD on the cover. I take no responsibility if your stomachs start grumbling. I'm pregnant so imagine how hard it is for me to put this together! SORRY NOT SORRY.

Also tell me down below what are those things on covers that instantly attract your eye! 

-- Jamie

What food covers did I miss?? Leave em below!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Top Ten Things That Will Make Us Instantly NOT Want To Read A Book

For a list of past and future Top Ten Tuesday topics and to find out more about Top Ten Tuesday, click here!

Daisy's Picks

1. Books set in space: I'm not even sure why this is, but books (and also movies, with the exception of Star Wars, because AWESOME) set in space don't work for me usually. Sadly, this limits my scifi-exposure greatly.

2. Angels; I've had a lot of misses when it comes to books about angels or angel-like species (with the exception of the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand which I LOVED), so this is pretty much a turn off for me.

3. Fae: the classic fae stories don't seem to work for me, I do love The Falconer series by Elizabeth May and A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas, but mostly, it's just not my thing.

4. World War II: Maybe it's because my grandma lived through this in the Netherlands and it's just a little too close for comfort for me, but I find myself shying away from book that are set in this time period.

Jamie's Picks

5. If it sounds too manicpixiedreamgirl: I've loved books with this trope but the older I'm getting the harder time I'm having to want to read it if I feel like the summary eludes to it.

6. Any book that seems like it is glorifying abusive or super aggressively alpha males: I'm just so not into it. 

7. (DON'T JUDGE ME) But if a book has a reallyyyyyyy low rating on Goodreads: I know, I know. I mean, some books I love have kind of low ratings on Goodreads and I don't care because I love them. BUT if a book has like a REALLY low rating and I wasn't THAT excited about it...like just semi interested...it's a pretty big turnoff even though I've been really trying to not put so much stock into ratings. 

Julia's Picks  

8. Love Triangles: I'm sick of them at this point. Can't there be an engaging story with an awesome heroine who only has one love interest? Or even dare I say zero? 

9. First person POV: This one I will usually bend on, especially in YA. But most often as soon as I see the "I", I groan.

 Kimberly's Pick

10.  Animal abuse. I'll never understand why authors think this is something that is okay to add. It's disgusting and I hate it and will refuse to read a book if it contains this. 

Related Posts with Thumbnails