Saturday, December 31, 2016

End of the Year Wrap Up Post

Wow, another year has passed by us!! I can't believe 2016 is now officially over with... Where does the time go? I know I say this every year, but it's true the time has flown by for me this year. 

The end of 2016 also marks a milestone in book blogging for me. I've completed my fifth year of book blogging this year. I never expected I'd be book blogging for this long... In fact, I didn't really know what I expected the outcome to be when it came to blogging. All I knew is that I wanted to blog about a specific topic I loved (which was everything book related, obviously) and write meaningful posts frequently to my blog in hopes of attracting a large readership with other readers and bloggers. 


Here are some of the books I enjoyed reading in 2016:

Fiction Favorites ~

Flight by Sherman Alexie
Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
The Good Traitor by Ryan Quinn
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

Nonfiction Favorites ~

The Assasination of the Archduke by Greg King & Sue Woolsman
My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinman
This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund
Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
A Life In Parts by Bryan Cranston

I read a lot of wonderful books this year, so I found it difficult to narrow down my list of favorites this year!


Here are some fun literary events I attended in 2016:

I enjoyed attending the 2016 Bay Area Book Festival in June.


I meet Sherman Alexie at the 2016 Bay Area Book Festival and he's an author I've wanted to meet in person and hear speak at an author event for a few years now. What a phenomenal author and speaker. Plus, having him sign copies of his books that I own was another hightlight for me.

I also attended an author event for Spanish author, Arturo Reverte-Perez, @ a local bookstore earlier this year, which was fun!

I also really enjoyed meeting world class marathoner and 4-time Olympian, Shalane Flanagan (she placed 6th in women's marathon event in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio earlier this year), and chef, Elyse Kopecky at an author event and signing at a local bookstore.... I am not a runner, but am into healthy eating, so was interested in Flanagan/Kopecky's new cookbook.


~ Favorite Independent Bookstore for 2016 ~

I love Rakestraw Books in Danville, California. It's my go to local independent bookstore. I love the layout and selection of books for sale, the friendly staff, and my favorite feature is all of the author events they have throughout the year. Rakestraw Books also hosts several book groups too!


~ My Reading Stats ~

I listened to 42 audiobooks this year. Bahni Turpin, Zachary Quinto, Traci Odom, Reese Witherspoon, Angela Dawe, Angel Clark, Brittany Pressley, and Archie Panjab were all wonderful narrators that made my listening experience all that much better.

I read 20 ebooks on my Kindle.

I read 32 physical books.

In other words, I read a total of 94 books this year!!


~ Little Free Libraries ~

I enjoy visiting Little Free Libraries and enjoyed visiting roughly 9 new to me Little Free Libraries this year.


.... And a word of thanks ....


I would like to take the time to thank all of my blog readers and blog followers. I wish you a joyous, peaceful, healthy 2017 filled with many fun adventures and of course, another year filled with reading many good books.

All the best to you and see you in the new year, Lisa

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi is the 94th book I've read during 2016!! 

I received Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi as a present for Christmas this year and read it this afternoon.

I first became aware of Marjane Satrapi as the writer of Persepolis 1 & Persepolis 2, which I've already read and reviewed here on my blog... I enjoyed both of these  autobiographical graphic novels by Marjane Satrapi, so I looked forward to reading other graphic novels that she had written. 

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi sounded really appealing to me as a graphic novel to read as it deals with the sex lives of Iranian women!!

The following is a summary of Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi that I found on Amazon:
From the best–selling author of Persepolis comes this gloriously entertaining and enlightening look into the sex lives of Iranian women. Embroideries gathers together Marjane’s tough–talking grandmother, stoic mother, glamorous and eccentric aunt and their friends and neighbors for an afternoon of tea drinking and talking. Naturally, the subject turns to love, sex and the vagaries of men.
As the afternoon progresses, these vibrant women share their secrets, their regrets and their often outrageous stories about, among other things, how to fake one’s virginity, how to escape an arranged marriage, how to enjoy the miracles of plastic surgery and how to delight in being a mistress. By turns revealing and hilarious, these are stories about the lengths to which some women will go to find a man, keep a man or, most important, keep up appearances.

Full of surprises, this introduction to the private lives of some fascinating women, whose life stories and lovers will strike us as at once deeply familiar and profoundly different from our own, is sure to bring smiles of recognition to the faces of women everywhere—and to teach us all a thing or two.
I am giving Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Happy New Year to You and Yours in 2017!!


Little Free Library in Carpinteria, California!!

Little Free Library in Carpinteria, California
My husband and I lived in Carpinteria, California for almost sixteen years before we moved to Northern California almost three years ago. 

During the time we lived in Carpinteria, there wasn't a single Little Free Library to be seen. So, I was elated to discover that a Little Free Library had been erected in the small coastal town where we once resided. 

This year, my husband and I decided to drive down to Southern California (instead of flying down) for the Christmas holiday to spend time with my parents and also with my husband's mom + his sister and her family. 

On our return drive home, we were able to stop by Carpinteria and find the Little Free Library. I left three books and only took home one novel with me --- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.

If memory serves me correctly, this the ninth new to me Little Free Library I've discovered this year. I am looking forward to discovering more Little Free Libraries in 2017! I think Little Free Libraries are awesome.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday --- Top Ten Best Books Of 2016



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.


It was really difficult selecting which books were my favorites for 2016 as I read so many books that fell into the 4/5 star category! I have chosen 5 fiction and 5 nonfiction books as follows in no particular order of importance. The links take you to my written review of each book.

1. The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World by Sue Woolmans and Greg King
2. This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund
3. Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden
4. My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem
5. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
6. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
7. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
8. Flight by Alexie Sherman
9. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
10. The Good Traitor by Ryan Quinn

Which books were your favorite ones read for 2016?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California


My husband and I spent Christmas in Southern California visiting my parents and his side of the family, which was a lot of fun. Celebrating the holidays has been a joy and a blessing.

While we were in Southern California, we visited a Little Free Library in Solana Beach, California, where I left two books on Christmas Day and took a free one to add to my reading pile for 2017!!

I hope you all had a fabulous day celebrating Christmas this year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree!!



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've chosen a nice mix of nonfiction and fiction books for my list for Santa Claus to bring me!

1. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
2. Bird Box by Josh Malerman
3. The Romanovs: 1613-1918 by Simon Sebag Montefiore 

4. Circular Knitting Workshop: Essential Techniques to Master Knitting in the Round by Margaret Radcliffe
5. The Body Reader by Anne Frasier
6. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
7. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
8. The Memory Illusion: Why You May Not Be Who You Think You Are by Julia Shaw
9. The Selkie Sorceress by Sophie Moss
10. The Selkie Enchantress by Sophie Moss

I ended up receiving the above books that have lines through them from Santa!

So, which books are you hoping to receive this year as gifts?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Bout of Books 18 Sign-Up Post!!

Bout of Books 18


Yes, I am once again signing up to participate in the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon!! 

I love participating in read-a-thons (when I have the time) and the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon is always a blast. It's low pressure read-a-thon that is a great way to kick of the new year!

The following is an informational blurb about the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon:
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
I hope you join me in participating in the Bout of Books Read-A-Thon.... Let's start off the new year with reading books together!!

Until my next post, happy holidays and happy reading!  

Saturday, December 17, 2016

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Unabridged Audio Version
I've had the paperback copy of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote sitting on my bookshelf the past six years, ten months waiting to be read... I finally decided I should read this nonfiction book, but I decided to listen to the audio version from Audible instead of reading it.

I enjoyed listening to the unabridged audio version of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and narrated by Scott Btick. Listening time for In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is 14 hours, 27 minutes.

I really thought that Truman Capote's writing of In Cold Blood was really well done. Even though In Cold Blood is a work of nonfiction, it almost feels like one is reading a novel. In other words, In Cold Blood is very readable. I enjoyed how Truman Capote writes about the lives of the murderers, the victims, and the rural community in Holcomb, Kansas in alternating fashion while seaming together the events in a captivating narrative that grips the reader from the start through to the very end.

If you love true crime books, In Cold Blood is a must read! According to information I obtained from Wikipedia"In Cold Blood was an instant success, and today is the second-biggest-selling true crime book in publishing history, behind Vincent Bugliosi's 1974 book Helter Skelter about the Manson murders."

I also discovered through the American Library Association website, that In Cold Blood has been a banned book because:
Banned, but later reinstated after community protests at the Windsor Forest High School in Savannah, Ga. (2000). The controversy began in early 1999 when a parent complains about sex, violence, and profanity in the book that was part of an Advanced Placement English Class. Source: 2004 Banned Books Resource Guide by Robert P. Doyle.
Additionally, I also thought that Scott Brick did a really good job narrating In Cold Blood.

The following is the publisher's summary of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote from Audible:
On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues.
As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence.
I am giving In Cold Blood by Truman Capote a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon

Paranormal Holiday Read
Do you love reading paranormal, holiday themed short stories? Then you may find yourself enjoying A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon!

I was able to download A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon. 

Below is my unbiased opinion of A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon.

A SmokeJumpers Christmas is my first experience of reading anything written by author,  Elle Boon. I felt that A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon was a decent introduction to the SmokeJumpers series by Elle Boon. I liked most of the characters as well as the storyline of A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon. 

The only complaint I have about this short story is that I felt more background development of the SmokeJummpers series could have been developed... But otherwise, A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon was a decent read.

Other teaser chapters from other books Elle Boon has written are also included in this eBook. I am looking forward to reading other eBooks written by Elle Boon in the future.

The following is a plot summary for A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon from Amazon:
A snowstorm, a baby, a fire elemental, and a shifter. Can Keanu save them all when the forces of nature rock their world, or will the elements destroy their happily ever after.

A pregnant Cammie will do anything to protect her unborn child, while Mother Nature has her own set of plans.
A father willing to risk life and limb for his family, Keanu will set the countryside on fire to rescue his wife and unborn child.
Reality isn’t always what it seems, but a fire elemental, and a shifter will make sure this is a perfect SmokeJumpers Christmas.
I am giving A SmokeJumpers Christmas by Elle Boon a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bookish Quote of the Day!!


2016 Audiobook Challenge Final Update!

Yes, I have happily and successfully participated in another year of the Audiobook Challenge! 

Thank you to Hot Listens and The Book Nympho for hosting the 2016 Audiobook Challenge!!

This year, I was hoping to reach the Marathoner Level, but fell a few audiobooks short this year and reached the My Precious Level instead.

I have currently listened to a total of 41 audiobooks this year and will have one more audiobook finished before the end of the year is up... Making a grand total of 42 audiobooks listened to in 2016!

1. Thankless In Death by J. D. Robb

2. Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
3. Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer
4. We Like You So Much and Want to Know You Better by Dave Eggers
5. Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet
6. The Jester by Micheal J. Sullivan
7. So Long, Lollipops by Sarah Lyons Fleming
8. Gone by Stacy Claflin
9. The Assassination of the Archduke by Greg King & Sue Woolmans
10. The Ghost and the Graveyard by Genevieve Jack
11. The Healer by Antti Tuomainen
12. The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
13. My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem
14. The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox
16. The Good Traitor by Ryan Quinn
17. Orchids and Stone by Lisa Preston
18. Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
19. Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
21. The Bitter Season by Tami Hoag
22. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
23. This Common Secret by Susan Wicklund
24. Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin
25. Blood Wager by Connie Suttle
26. Blood Passage by Connie Suttle
27. Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Book #1 by Nikki Jefford
28. The Girl With Nine Lives by E. Earle
29. The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories by R. A. Salvatore
30. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
31. The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lapore
32. Tightrope by Simon Mawer
33. Unleashed by Emily Kimelman
34. The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
35. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
36. Ghostly Paws by Leighann Dobbs
37. A Journal of Sin by Darryl Donaghue
38. Elusive (On the Run #1) by Sara Rosett
39. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
40. Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke
41. The Obituary Society by Jessica L. Randall
42. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Listening Levels:


  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30-50
  • Marathoner (Look Ma no hands) 50+


What level did you reach in 2016? Did you make your goal?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

15 Fast Facts About Haruki Murakami

Having recently finished reading my first novel by Haruki Murakami, I was delighted to learn more about this Japanese author in an article titled 15 Fascinating Facts About Haruki Murakami by Stephanie Tapacio Long on Bustle's website. In the article, Stephanie Tapacio Long writes the following:
Haruki Murakami is a shining star in the literary world, but there is still a lot that isn’t commonly known about the perennial Nobel Prize favorite (and never the winner) — so who is Haruki Murakami? As revered as he is, he mostly seems to avoid the limelight and even writers’ circles; in fact, he once admitted to the Paris Review that he had no writer friends. Instead, he has kept busy with his own work and is constantly adding to his list of books — much to the delight of his global fan base.
Not surprisingly, Murakami is as unique as his work. His writing career basically started on a whim, and it quickly turned into one of acclaim. He gained a devoted “cult” following, and within the decade, that popularity expanded exponentially. Murakami has become an important global figure, and his books have sold millions of copies around the world, in dozens of languages.
The parts in between are as interesting as his career highlights, though. Murakami doesn’t just pen beautiful, inspiring words, he takes an unconventional approach to writing — and life in general). It’s worth knowing more about his unexpected and sometimes unusual background, habits, and philosophies.
Click on the top link to learn some fun facts about  Haruki Murakami!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Wrapped in the Past by Chess Desalls

eBook Edition
Still craving Christmas holiday themed reads, I chose to read the eBook edition of Wrapped in the Past by Chess DesallsWrapped in the Past by Chess Desalls is a short story approximately 64 pages in length. 

I was able to download a FREE copy of Wrapped in the Past by Chess Desalls to my Kindle from Amazon. Below is my unbiased review of Wrapped in the Past by Chess Desalls.

Wrapped in the Past is set in the 1930s. The leading character of Wrapped in the Past is a teenage girl named, Shirlyn. This short story begins on the morning of Christmas, where we find Shirlyn eager to begin the Christmas holiday. When her parents awaken, Shirlyn discovers that her father has a surprise in store for the three of them that day. Shirlyn's father has built a time travel machine and Shirlyn and her parents travel back in time to ancient Persia where they meet the three Magi as the Magi are following the Star of Bethlehem. This makes for an interesting concept for a short story and I enjoyed reading about their adventures. Shirlyn is a given a gift from one of the three magi that she is able to take home with her and cherish the gift she is given forever. 

After Shirlyn and her parents return from their visit to ancient Persia, they also travel to the past and visit Venice, Italy as well.

The following is a plot summary for Wrapped in the Past by Chess Desalls from Amazon:
Shirlyn travels back in time to ancient Persia where she meets the three magi who follow the Star of Bethlehem. After a mishap threatens to send her ride home without her, the youngest mage exhibits a hidden talent that leaves an impression on his elders and on Shirlyn's heart. But his silhouette will forget they ever met, unless she leaves a reminder that comes with a heavy price.
Overall, Wrapped in the Past is a likable read for me and has a nice concept. But, it was a flat read in parts. I felt like it needed more zing to it for me to give it a higher rating. 

I am giving Wrapped in the Past by Chess Desalls a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

The Obituary Society (The Obituary Society #1) by Jessica L. Randall

Unabridged Audiobook
I have finished listening to the unabridged audio version of The Obituary Society (The Obituary Society #1) by Jessica L. Randall and narrated by Angel Clark from Audible. Listening time for this novel is 7 hours, 2 minutes.

I enjoyed listening to this novel. Angel Clark is a wonderful narrator and I hope to listen to other novels she narrates in the future.

I also enjoyed Jessica L. Randall's writing! The Obituary Society is a well written novel that incorporates humor, mystery, family secrets, and just a small touch of paranormal. I enjoyed the storyline and characters very much. My favorite characters in The Obituary Society are Lila Moore (leading character) and Juniper, who is quite a remarkable young girl with a lot of spunk and a knack for finding things.

The following is a plot summary for The Obituary Society (The Obituary Society #1) by Jessica L. Randall from Audible:
When Lila Moore inherits her grandfather's house, she finds herself in a small Midwestern town where margarine is never an acceptable substitution for butter, a coveted family recipe can serve as currency, and the friend who will take your darkest secrets to the grave will still never give you the secret to her prize-winning begonias.
Lila is charmed by the people of Auburn, from the blue-eyed lawyer with the Southern drawl to the little old lady who unceasingly tries to set Lila up with her grandson. But when strange things begin to happen, Lila realizes some of her new friends are guarding a secret like it's a precious family heirloom. It's a dangerous secret, and it has come back to haunt them. Lila is caught in the middle, and her life may depend on uncovering it. But even if she can, can she stay in Auburn when not everyone is what they seem, and even the house wants her gone?
I am giving The Obituary Society (The Obituary Society #1) by Jessica L. Randall a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Kisses In The Snow by Cee Cee James

eBook Edition
In the mood for a Christmas read, I downloaded the ebook edition of Kisses In The Snow by Cee Cee James to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Kisses In The Snow by Cee Cee James is a 31 page short story by a new to me author.

Below is my unbiased review of Kisses In The Snow by Cee Cee James.

I wasn't impressed with this story. Miranda is such a worrier and it is annoying... Whereas her husband, Jason, is too relaxed. This short story was very bland and not much substance. It kind of went off into an odd direction near the end.

The following is a plot summary for Kisses In The Snow by Cee Cee James from Amazon:
A sweet, heart-warming short story (45 minutes)
Jason and Miranda celebrate their first Christmas together by hosting a Christmas party. When the power flickers, Jason asks, "What could possibly go wrong?"
Will Miranda ever forgive him for tempting fate?
*A feel good story just in time for the holidays*
I am giving Kisses In The Snow by Cee Cee James a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson

eBook Edition ~ Short Story
In the mood for a Christmas themed read, I downloaded the ebook edition of A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson is the first installment of The Fours Seasons Series and is a 33 page short story by a new to me author.

Below is my unbiased review of A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson.

The leading character, Holly, is a 16 year old high school girl in love with her childhood friend Caleb. Caleb had moved on and treated Holly poorly since puberty. But for some reason, Holly still pines for him despite his 'bad boy' behavior towards her. As fate would have it, Caleb suddenly sees the light/error of his ways and falls for Holly... Giving this short story a happy ending. 

A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson was very predictable. The writing was okay. I won't continue reading this series.

The following is the plot summary for A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson from Amazon: 
Holly and Caleb had been best friends as children, growing up on the same street, but as teenagers they couldn't be further apart. When Caleb unexpectedly asked Holly to help him pick out a Christmas gift for his girlfriend, neither of them anticipated where it would lead.
A young adult romantic comedy, from Stella Wilkinson, acclaimed author of The Flirting Games Series.
A Christmas Gift is a "clean" romance, suitable for ALL ages.
I am giving A Christmas Gift by Stella Wilkinson a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Book Subscription Boxes That Make The Perfect Holiday Gifts!!

With the holidays fast approaching, here are some amazing gift ideas in the form of book subscription boxes for the book lover in your life!!  

I discovered these book subscriptions in an article posted on Bustle's website titled, 16 Book Subscription Boxes That Make The Perfect Holiday Gifts by E. Ce Miller. In the article, E. Ce Miller writes: 
Think about it: not only are you giving your favorite reader not one, but 12 (or more!) books this holiday season, you’re giving them a gift that keeps arriving throughout the year (and a monthly reminder that you’re seriously just the best.) Plus, several of these book box subscriptions come with more than just books — some include tea, or mini pads of paper, or festive mugs, or tee-shirts. A few even offer hand-written notes or exclusive book club chats with the author of the book themselves. I definitely know what’s at the top of my Christmas list this year (and now you know what’s at the top of your shopping list.)
I've heard of OwlCrate and the Rumpus Book Club before reading E. Ce Miller's article, but the other book subscriptions are all new to me! 

I am particularly interested in the Novel Tea Club. The idea of pairing books and tea together sounds awesome to me!

Click on the top link to see all sixteen book subscription boxes.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Gilt By Association by Tamar Myers

Paperback Edition
I finished reading the paperback edition of Gilt By Association by Tamar Myers, which is the second novel in the Den of Antiquity Mystery Series. There are a total of sixteen novels that comprise this cozy mystery series by Tamar Myers. 

As of this writing, I have read all sixteen novels in the Den of Antiquity Mystery Series... With the exception of read the first novel in the series titled, Larceny and Old Lace, I have read the rest of the novels in the series out of order.

I am extremely happy that I have finished reading the entire Den of Antiquity Mystery series as I do love cozy mystery novels. Plus, it is quite a sense of accomplishment to finish reading a series. So, it is bittersweet to know that there isn't anymore books left to read in the Den of Antiquity Mystery series. As far as a cozy mystery series goes, I have found many of the novels to be good, many of them not to my liking, and some were middle of the road good. I really felt these novels were hit or miss in terms of how well I enjoyed them or didn't enjoy them.

As far as Gilt By Association goes, I like the leading character of Abigail Timberlake. I like Tamar Myers's humor that she infuses in this novel. The story/premise was a decent one, but flawed. I am amazed that the leading character, Abigail Timberlake, could accomplish as much as she did in a day. Abigail Timberlake was pretty dumb to go on her own to investigate an issue towards the end of the novel without telling anyone where she was going or what she was doing.... So, Abigail Timberlake ends up seriously injured and in the hospital. Additionally, Abigail's relationship with Greg Washburn is seriously wonky. 

The following is the plot summary for Gilt By Association by Tamar Myers from the author's website:

Petite, indomitable North Carolinian Abigail Timberlake rose gloriously up from the ashes of divorce--parlaying her savvy about exquisite old things into a thriving antiques enterprise: the Den of Antiquity. Now she's a force to be reckoned with in Charlotte's close-knit world of mavens, eccentrics and cuttthroat dealers. But a superb, gilt-edged 18th-century French armoire she purchased for a song at estate auction has just arrived along with something she didn't pay for: a dead body.
Suddenly her shop is a crime scene--and closed to the public during the busiest shopping season of the year--so Abigail is determined to speed the lumbering police investigation along. But amateur sleuthing is leading the feisty antiques expert into a murderous mess of dysfunctional family secrets. And the next cadaver found stuffed into fine old furniture could wind up being Abigail's own.

Overall, I felt that Gilt By Association by Tamar Myers was your average cozy mystery novel. Good, but not great. I am giving Gilt By Association by Tamar Myers a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday --- Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016


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.


Here's my Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016:

Glen Erik Hamilton
Connie Suttle
Lindsay Jayne Ashford
Susan Wicklund
Ryan Quinn
Haruki Murakami (I've heard of his name for years, but finally read one of his novels this year!)
Aja Raden
Genevieve Jack

Thrity Umrigar
John Scalzi

Which New-To-You Authors Did You Read For The First Time In 2016??

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Paperback Edition
I remember first reading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell back in elementary school some 30+ years ago!! I remember liking this novel back then, so decided to reread it again as an adult.

After rereading Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, I still enjoyed this novel very much even as an adult and also have a greater appreciation for this novel even more now.

I loved the leading female character, a young Native American girl named, Karana, who is left alone to live by herself on one of the Channel Islands off the coast of California. The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell is told from Karana's perspective. I liked how the passage of time was conveyed by the passing of seasons rather than by years. I also like hearing what life was like for Karana while she lived alone. I enjoyed hearing how she domesticates two of the wild dogs and some of the birds. I also enjoyed hearing how she helps to rehabilitate a sea otter and also how she makes canoes, clothing, finds food and builds a home of her home on the island. I also liked reading about Karana's experience living through an earthquake and interacting with an Aleut girl who visits the island.

Plus, I enjoyed reading Karana's thoughts on saving wildlife... There are two different points in this novel where Karana expresses her concern about wildlife. Near the beginning of Island of the Blue Dolphins, Karana expresses concern regarding the Aleuts killing of sea otters. She's concerned that the Aleuts may have killed too many sea otters that would their numbers may not bounce back. Later in Island of the Blue Dolphins, Karana decides not to kill any more sea otters and many other animals, which I found interesting. For me the take away of these actions was conservation and sustainability.

I am giving Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday --- Holiday Gift Guide Freebie ~ Nonfiction Books!


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.


Below, in no order of importance, are ten of my favorite nonfiction picks that make for great reading for you or someone you know. The links below will take you to my reviews of each book I've listed in this post.

1. I'm not usually a huge lover of celebrity memoirs. However, I read Bryan Cranston's memoir, A Life In Parts, earlier this year and LOVED IT!! So, if you know someone who loves celebrity memoirs or is a Bryan Cranston fan, then I would recommend this book!

2. My Life On The Road by Gloria Steinem is also another wonderful book I really enjoyed earlier this year and is perfect for those who are interested in feminism/women's history.

3. Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden is an excellent book that incorporates history with human desire and of course, jewelry! I love this book. 

4. The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Romance That Changed the World by Greg King and Sue Woolmans is highly recommended if you (or someone you know) loves European history and wants to know more about Archduke Franz Ferdinand, his marriage to his wife, Sophie, their lives together, their assassination and its aftermath in detail.

5. This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund is another book I enjoyed earlier this year. Abortion is such a hot topic. It seems like people are either for it or against it. I thought it was interesting to read about this topic from the point of view of a doctor who performed abortions and what her take on the topic of abortion was.

6. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai is an excellent book by the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. I enjoyed learning more about Malala's life.

7. The Story of Sushi: An Unlikely Saga of Raw Fish and Rice by Trevor Corson is a really well written book about the history of sushi, so if you are a foodie or sushi lover, then this book is a perfect book to read.

8. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert was one of my favorite reads in 2015. I really liked this book and it makes a great gift!!

9. The Soloist: A Lost Dream, an Unlikely Friendship, and the Redemptive Power of Music by Steve Lopez is an excellent book and one of my favorite books that I read in 2014.

10. The Professor & the Madman by Simon Winchester is a book that's been out for quite a while, but it became one of my favorite reads in 2014. If you or someone you know loves history and words, then you'll love this nonfiction book about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Are you a nonfiction lover/reader? If so, please share with me some of your favorite nonfiction books.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke

Unabridged Audio Version
Okay, I've been somewhat on a paranormal kick this year. So, while I was browsing Amazon's website I stumbled across Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke. I saw that there were 595 reviews for Vampire Shift and that this novel has a 4.3 stars out of 5 stars rating!! After reading some of the reviews and the plot summary for Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke, I decided to purchase the unabridged audio version of this novel from Audible.

Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke is a young adult/paranormal novel and the first novel in the Kiera Hudson Series. Vampire Shift is narrated by Keely Beresford. Listening time for Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke is 6 hours, 33 minutes.

First off, I love the cover design for Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke. It has a lovely cover design, which is very well suited for Vampire Shift.

Secondly, I liked the audio production of Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke, because echoing was actually used when the narrator mentions there is echoing, etc. 

However, I felt that Keely Beresford was a so-so narrator. Some of the voices she used for characters was way too cheesy for my personal taste.

And thirdly, I felt that Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke started off very promising. The first couple of chapters hooked you in, but after that things went downhill fast. The story was cheesy, the characters I could care less about, and Vampire Shift wasn't the least bit scary or interesting. I won't even bother reading the rest of the series.

I just can't believe how bad I thought Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke was after I finished it. I almost gave up listening to Vampire Shift on several occasions, but kept thinking it must get better. How could so many people think it was so wonderful on Amazon??

The following is a plot summary for Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke from Audible:
When 20-year-old police recruit Kiera Hudson is posted to the remote town of The Ragged Cove, her life is changed forever. Investigating a series of horrific murders, grave desecrations, and missing persons, with her unique ability of "seeing," Kiera soon realizes her life is in danger. 
But when Kiera falls in love with police officer Luke Bishop, not only is her mind and her heart opened to a terrifying new world, she comes to suspect that Luke might be involved in the killings. In a race against time to unearth the truth, Kiera must discover the identity of who or what is behind the gruesome deaths on the "Vampire Shift".
I am giving Vampire Shift by Tim O'Rourke a rating of 1 star out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Unabridged Audio Version
Haruki Murakami seems to be a prolific and very popular writer who's works have been widely translated into other languages outside of Japan. I have known of Japanese author Haruki Murakami for quite a few years now, but had never read any of his published works until now. 

I finally made the decision to listen to the unabridged audio version of Haruki Murakami's novel, Norwegian Wood, for two main reasons:

1. I was kind of overwhelmed as to which of Haruki Murakami's novels to read first as most of his novels sound like interesting ones to read. It wasn't until after I read an article online, which recommended starting with his novel, Norwegian Wood, that I decided to give this novel a go.

2. Earlier this year (and also in previous years), Haruki Murakami has been heavily predicted to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Alas, he has yet to win this prestigious literary award. I figured that Haruki Murakami's writing must be pretty darn good and worth reading if he has been heavily favored to win such a prestigious literary prize. So, I decided that it was time for me to read one of his novels.

I liked listening to the unabridged audio version of Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and narrated by John Chancer overall. Listening time is 13 hours, 20 minutes.

I thought John Chancer did a good job of narrating Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. As far as the novel goes, Norwegian Wood is interesting and very captivating. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami is filled with interesting characters and contains an engaging coming of age story set in 1969 and 1970.

There were two things I didn't like about Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I didn't like the abrupt ending. The reader is left wondering what the leading character of Toru Watanabe means by what he says at the end of the novel and if he remains sane or succumbs to a nervous breakdown. I also didn't like how all the women in Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami seemed crazy or flawed in some way, which made me wonder if the author doesn't like women much.

The following is a plot summary for Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami from Audible:
This stunning and elegiac novel by the author of the internationally acclaimed Wind-Up Bird Chronicle has sold over 4 million copies in Japan and is now available to American audiences for the first time. It is sure to be a literary event. 
Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman. 
A poignant story of one college student's romantic coming-of-age, Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man's first, hopeless, and heroic love.
I am giving Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!