Wednesday, November 22, 2017

15 Gifts For True Crime Fans

I love true crime! So when I discovered an article on Bustle's website titled, 15 Gifts For True Crime Fans That Are Sure To Bring Joy To Their Dark, Twisted Hearts by Charlotte Ahlin, I couldn't wait to see which gifts were being recommended for true crime fans. In the article, Charlotte Ahlin wrote the following:
Murders. Mysteries. Forensic science. Readers who love true crime and thrillers just can't get enough. They've already read just about every book on the shelf that has to do with serial killers, spies, and/or tense investigations of gruesome crimes. All they really want for the holidays is to find a severed head in their mailbox and be pulled into a horrifying real life murder adventure—but that might be a little tough to arrange. So here are a few criminally fun gifts for the true crime and thriller lover in your life that are almost as good as solving a real crime.
True crime readers are kind of a subset of mystery book lovers. Except, instead of a cozy armchair read about a murder at a manor house, they prefer an edge-of-your-seat read about real life cannibals and kidnappers. Their perfect night in involves a Jack the Ripper documentary and a psychological thriller novel based on true events. You don't necessarily have to share their obsession with all things disturbing and suspenseful. But you can certainly give them a true crime related gift that'll bring joy to their dark, twisted heart.
The list of 15 gifts for true crime fans does not disappoint. Click on the top link to see which gift giving ideas will make any true crime fan happy this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday --- Top Twelve Books I'm Thankful For!



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

I'm so grateful for so many books that it has been difficult to narrow down which ones to add to my list this week! I've chosen to stick with nonfiction titles for this week's Top Ten Tuesday post. Click on the links provided below to read my review of each book.

1. Power of the Habit by Charles Duhigg ~ This is a very engaging read filled with tons of knowledge about the power of habits.

2. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo ~ Need to rid your life of clutter?? This book has some really good tips on how to dispose of your clutter for good and organize your life to become clutter free.

3. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity by David Allen ~ Getting things done in a stress free manner is the theme of this book.

4. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert ~ This book is pure magic. It's well written and engaging. I liked it so much more than I thought I would.

5. Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin MD ~ Loved the outlook on medicine by a medical doctor.

6. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey ~ During a time of illness, the author discovers the life of a wild snail and writes about it. Who knew that the lives of snails could be so interesting? Another book I enjoyed so much more than I though I would.

7. This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund ~ Abortion is such a controversial topic. It was interesting to read about this topic from the view point of a doctor who had performed abortions for much of her career.

8. My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem ~ I've admired Gloria Steinem for years. I loved her memoir, My Life On The Road. What an interesting life Gloria Steinem has lived so far.

9. Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden ~ I love jewelry and this nonfiction read discusses how jewelry has shaped history. It's a very entertaining historical journey that takes the reader around the world.

10. The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King & Sue Woolmans ~ This well written book is FABULOUS!! It's packed with so much history and information that my mind is still spinning... The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand sets off World War I. This book touches upon royal history, the lives of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife + their children. Along with a lot of history before and after Franz Ferdinand's assassination.

11. The Soloist by Steve Lopez ~ Another wonderful book! Not only is The Soloist a story about a lost dream, an unlikely friendship, and the redemptive power of music, it also sheds light on mental illness, homelessness on LA's Skid Row and the struggles that go along with it in ways I could have never envisioned before my encounter with The Soloist.

12. The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester ~ The history of the Oxford English Dictionary is fascinating. I really enjoyed this book immensely.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things ~ Season 1 by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran



I came across Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things ~ Season 1 by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran  and narrated by Michael B. Jordan on Audible purely by chance! I'd never heard of this Audible Exclusive series before. Nor did I realize there was such a thing as 'A Starbucks Original Series'. Intrigued by what this series was about, I decided to download it to my Kindle... In fact, I was able to download Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things ~ Season 1 by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran for FREE. Below is my honest, unbiased review of Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things ~ Season 1 by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran. 

I found Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things to be uplifting! Each real life story featured in this collection leaves a positive messages on how individuals can really make a difference in the world around them. I like that each new story goes into the details fairly well without overburdening listeners with too much detail.

I didn't like the narrator's voice much for Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things ~ Season 1 by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran. I also felt like the audio quality could have been better as well for this audio production.

Listening time for Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things ~ Season 1 by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran is 2 hours, 21 minutes.

The following is the publisher's summary for Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things ~ Season 1 by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran from Audible:
What are Upstanders?
Let's start with this: They are the opposite of bystanders.
They are problem solvers and protestors, students and parents, professionals and civic leaders.
Some fight injustice; others fearlessly challenge the status quo. They are ordinary people who are making extraordinary differences in their communities and beyond. From Salt Lake City to Memphis to Baltimore, Upstanders remind us that participation in civic life has no bounds - and that we can all be the change we wish to see in the world. Howard Schultz, executive chairman of Starbucks, and former Washington Post senior editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran searched throughout America and chose these 10 upstanding citizens to profile for their passion, humanity, and willingness to act. Here you'll meet:

  • A former NFL player who offers personal training to wounded veterans
  • A young activist who stopped the world's largest trash incinerator from being built in her neighborhood
  • A pastor who opened his church's doors to the Muslim congregation across the street
  • A former inmate who's helping other ex-convicts stay out of prison
  • A retired sheriff who's transforming the way police are trained
  • A small town that came together to provide every student with free college tuition
  • A college student who created an app to reduce food waste and end hunger
  • A loving father who started a business to empower his son and other people with autism
  • A New Jersey man who's helping at-risk youth turn their lives around
  • A former auto industry executive who's taking on homelessness in his state
Everyone has the power to make a difference.
These Americans did.
Rousing and uplifting, Upstanders identifies great men and women across our country and celebrates the strength of our core values and the boundless possibilities of the human spirit.
I am giving Upstanders: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things ~ Season 1 by Howard Schultz and Rajiv Chandrasekaran a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker

Paperback Edition
I've had fantasies of writing a novel off and on for years now... But have yet to write or even attempt to write a novel to date. 

Writing a novel seems, well, quite daunting to say the least! I'm an avid reader, but am I able to successfully write a decent novel? How does one even begin going about writing a novel anyway? I scare myself out of trying to write anything before I even start writing my first sentence!

Over the years, I've thought of some great ideas/stories/characters for writing a novel... Or at least I thought the ideas I've had for writing a novel were creative enough to make for interesting reading. But, there is so much more too writing a novel than a so called 'great idea'. Putting all the elements together to write a cohesive novel that is interesting, well written, and something people will want to read has left me from even trying to write a novel at all.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and tons of people participate in this annual, month long writing event. And although, I am not even close to being prepared to begin writing a novel, I am very inspired by the idea of finding a way to write a novel in the future.

However, I did began looking for books online to help me move forward and think about writing that first novel. I came across Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker on Amazon. Libbie Hawker's book on writing has 450+ reviews on Amazon and also a 4+ star rating. 

After reading what Libbie Hawker's book was all about online, I took the leap and read Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing in three days! I like Ms. Hawker's clear writing style and the outline techniques she lays out for those wishing to write a novel. Ms. Hawker's outline techniques make sense and she gives plenty of examples in her book on how and why the outline works so successfully.

The holiday season is upon us, so I most likely won't even be ready to start writing a novel until the beginning of 2018 at the soonest.

Below is a more information about Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker from Amazon:
When it comes to writing books, are you a "plotter" or a "pantser"? Is one method really better than the other? In this instructional book, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write. She'll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can't-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting any time or words. Hawker's outlining technique works no matter what genre you write, and no matter the age of your audience. If you want to improve writing speed, increase your backlist, and ensure a quality book before you even write the first word, this is the how-to book for you. Take off your pants! It's time to start outlining. This revised edition includes answers to the most popular questions regarding Libbie Hawker's outlining process.
I am giving Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

If you are a a writer, which books/writing resources have you found to be helpful in your writing journey?  

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere



I listened to the unabridged audio version of The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere on compact disc and narrated by the author. The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere is the 4th novel in the Christmas Hope series.

Listening time for The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere is 4 hours, 22 minutes.

With the Christmas holiday swiftly approaching, I thought it would be wonderful to get into the holiday spirit by listening to a Christmas themed novel by Donna VanLiere. 

The funny part is that I completely forgot that I listened to a Christmas themed novel by Donna VanLiere in 2013 titled, The Christmas Secret!! The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere is the 5th novel the Christmas Hope series. Apparently, I didn't enjoy The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere after rereading my review of it. Had I remembered my experience with The Christmas Secret back in 2013, I would not have listened to The Christmas Promise.

Anyway, onto my review of The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere. I thought that The Christmas Promise was well narrated by the author. The storyline and characters were interesting enough to keep me listening to this novel through to the end. I did laugh in parts at some of the story at some of the funny scenes. 

Overall, I enjoyed The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere even if the storyline was predictable it parts... And yes, I enjoyed this novel better than The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere.

The following is a plot summary for The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere from Audible:
Donna VanLiere's books movingly portray ordinary people reaching for more meaningful lives. In The Christmas Promise, she follows two seemingly separate individuals and shows how their lives intersect.
Chaz McConnell realizes that his life is empty - and that he's made it that way. He goes home every night to a bare apartment. For the first time in his life, he's working at a job that will last more than a few weeks, as security for Wilson's Department Store. Trying to reach out, he befriends four-year-old Donovan, whose mother is part of the janitorial team at Wilson's.
Gloria Bailey finds it easy to care for families in need, but she just can't seem to bridge the gap with her cantankerous neighbor, 60-something widow Miriam Lloyd Davies. When Miriam goes away for a week and a pipe bursts, she comes home to a house under water. Gloria, in an act of kindness, or maybe insanity, invites Miriam to stay at her house until a hotel room becomes available. They eventually realize they have more in common than they ever thought. In this beautiful, deeply poignant novel, we are reminded that the past is never far behind, and all of us are longing for a place to call home. 
Listen to more of Donna VanLiere's Christmas stories.
I am giving The Christmas Promise by Donna VanLiere a rating 3 out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday -- Top Twelve Books I Want My Future Book Club to Read



Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.


So, I decided to select books from my massive 'to be read pile' that I still want to read. The following are books I would love to read and discuss with a book club group.

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
3. Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
4. Indian Killer by Sherman Alexie
5. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
6. A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles
7. The Tea Girl Of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
8. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
9. News Of The World by Paulette Jiles
10. The Twelve Lives Of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti
11. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
12. The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright

Erotica Anthology
Yes, on occasion, I do enjoy reading erotica and short story erotica anthologies are a great way to discover new to me authors... So, with that in mind, I chose to read The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright, which is a collection of fourteen erotica short stories written by various authors.

I liked the theme/concept for this collection of erotica short stories of 'the one that got away'... It's what initially attracted me to this erotica anthology.

However, out of the fourteen erotica short stories presented in The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright, I only enjoyed reading five of them... With 'Proof' and 'Danish Affair' being the best of the bunch. The rest of the short stories weren't all that great. 

The following is a plot summary for The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright from Amazon:
We all have... that One, the one who got away. The one we fell for or simply were attracted to, but we never got. That One, but not necessarily The One, at least not the first time around. That One who slips into our fantasies late at night when we’re feeling melancholy or nostalgic. Maybe we took a chance once and it simply didn’t work out. Maybe we never took the chance... and we wish we had. We all have the name of the One Who Got Away tattooed on our heart, always with us, never forgotten. There is something hopelessly romantic about the idea of connecting with a long lost love. This luscious Cleis Press collection of second chance stories celebrates longing and loves that, whether by fate or by design, are at last requited and fulfilled.
I am giving The One Who Got Away edited by Kristina Wright a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Lost Library by Kate Baray

Unabridged Audiobook
I listened to the unabridged audio version of Lost Library by Kate Baray and narrated by Kelsey Osborne. Listening time for Lost Library by Kate Baray is 8 hours, 17 minutes.

Lost Library by Kate Baray is the first novel in a paranormal romance series... So, if paranormal romance novels involving werewolves and magic are your thing, then this may be the novel for you!!

Kate Baray is a new to me author. I thought her writing was good and I enjoyed listening to Lost Library by Kate Baray. Paranormal romances are a fun escape from reality and Lost Library is no exception. The characters in Lost Library are fun and the storyline moves along at a nice pace. Kelsey Osborne is a good narrator.

Although I thought Lost Library by Kate Baray was a good novel, I wasn't wowed by this novel. I will pass on reading or listening to the the rest of this paranormal series.

The following is the plot summary for Lost Library by Kate Baray from Audible:
Lost Library brings together a mysterious, magical book and a quirky heroine to create the adventure of a lifetime!
John Braxton arrives unannounced on Lizzie Smith's doorstep looking for answers she doesn't have. She may have a magical book, but she hasn't a clue what to do with it - or even how to read it. And John's revelation that he's a Lycan isn't making the job any easier. 
Before the code to the book can be cracked, Lizzie and John stumble into the middle of a power-hungry mastermind's plan. Caught up in one man's search for power, Lizzie soon begins to uncover surprising secrets about her past and powers. Can she and John put a stop to their new-found enemy's plans?
Take a romp through the life of the quirky and well-meaning Lizzie as she discovers magic, creatures that go bump in the night, and maybe love.
I am giving Lost Library by Kate Baray a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!