Friday, December 15, 2017

Christmas Witch by Willow Monroe

Christmas Short Story
It's the count down to Christmas, so I couldn't resist reading some holiday themed short stories!

So, I decided to read Christmas Witch by Willow Monroe, which is a mystery short story approximately 53 pages in length.

I was able to download Christmas Witch by Willow Monroe to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Christmas Witch by Willow Monroe.

I chose this short story as I have been in the mood to read some holiday themed reads for Christmas. I felt the Christmas Witch by Willow Monroe was a decent read. Not that much to my liking, but passable enough. The storyline and characters just didn't suit my personal taste very much.

The following is a plot summary for Christmas Witch by Willow Monroe from Amazon:
A gift that keeps on giving…or not.
Trinket Banks is enjoying her first Christmas in Jagged Grove, even with her reluctant husband Angelo along for the ride. They’re still married, thanks to an evil warlock and a binding spell, and Angelo has promised to make it snow in Jagged Grove, just for her.
Trinket can’t wait.
But thoughts of snow and shopping fall by the wayside when Bilda and Rain start handing out enchanted Christmas cookies. The cookies are supposed to bring luck for the coming New Year, but this batch turns everyone in Jagged Grove into a scrooge.
Now Trinket and Angelo have to figure out what happened and fix the goof before Christmas is ruined forever.
I am giving Christmas Witch by Willow Monroe a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Fowl Play by P Bodi

Cozy Mystery Short Story
Fowl Play by P Bodi is a cozy mystery short story approximately 46 pages in length.

I was able to download Fowl Play by P Bodi to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Fowl Play by P Bodi.

I love animals and cozy mysteries, so I was delighted to read Fowl Play by P Bodi. It is a cute cozy mystery short story despite being a bit predictable.

The following is a plot summary for Fowl Play by P Bodi from Amazon:
Being a single woman owning and operating the only pet store in town can get pretty lonely. After a rough day at the shop, Leah decided she could use some human interaction and good conversation with some friends. After closing the shop for the day she met some friends at the local restaurant. The following morning after her fun night out with friends, Sheriff Burt shows up at her store with an animal emergency. Could it be related to a murder?
I am giving Fowl Play by P Bodi a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Joy by Celina Grace

Mystery Short Story
It's the count down to Christmas, so I couldn't resist reading some holiday themed short stories!

So, I decided to read Joy by Celina Grace, which is a mystery short story approximately 52 pages in length.

I was able to download Joy by Celina Grace to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Joy by Celina Grace.

Joy by Celina Grace started out to be a very promising read. All was going really well until this short story ended very abruptly! Wow, what a BIG disappointment to say the least... One can only assume what the eventual outcome of several events will be, but there were just too many loose ends and not enough answers to make Joy by Celina Grace a satisfactory read. 

The following is a plot summary for Joy by Celina Grace from Amazon:
The last person Detective Sergeant Kate Redman wants to see while she's doing her Christmas shopping is habitual petty thief and homeless alcoholic Charlie Petworth. While she knows that Charlie steals small things in part to get a warm bed for the night, it's still annoying, particularly in the season of good will.
Then a far more serious crime occurs and Kate realises that Charlie might well be involved. But why would he go from stealing a packet of flower seeds to stealing a little toddler? And is there more to this case than at first meets the eye?
I am giving Joy by Celina Grace a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars. I am only giving this short story such a high rating as it started out so well.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin

Cozy Mystery Short Story
Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin is a cozy mystery short story by a new to me author. It is approximately 55 pages in length.

I was able to download Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiaseed review of Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin.

I really enjoyed reading Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin!! I never know what to expect from new to me authors or from short stories... But I really enjoyed the storyline, writing, dialogue between characters, the characters themselves, and the pace of the story itself and how the story unfolded. So, I'd say that Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin was a hit!

The following is a plot summary for Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin from Amazon:
It’s always been a dream of Connie Butterworth’s to be a private investigator. Now that she’s retired, she makes that dream a reality and sets herself up as an investigator.With reluctant help from her sister-in-law, Sable, Connie takes on her first client. 
What starts out as a simple case of tracking down a missing person soon turns into an intriguing case of deception, phone hacking and murder.
I am giving Playing At Murder by Gillian Larkin a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday -- Top Ten Favorite Books of 2017



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.


My list features books that I not only gave a high rating, but would also reread again in a heartbeat!

1. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey
2. The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
3. The Second Mrs. Hockaday by Susan Rivers
4. Kentucky on the Rocks by Gwendolyn Grace
5. Bone Deep by Bonnie Dee (Read this book twice this year!!)
6. Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame
7. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
8. The Vegetarian by Han Kang
9. Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera
10. Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

Which books were your favorites in 2017??

Monday, December 11, 2017

Mango Cake and Murder by Christy Murphy

Cozy Mystery Novella
I enjoy reading cozy mystery novels, so I decided to read Mango Cake and Murder by Christy Murphy, which is a novella approximately 162 pages in length.

Mango Cake and Murder by Christy Murphy is the first novella in the 'Mom and Christy's Cozy Mysteries' series.

I was able to download Mango Cake and Murder by Christy Murphy to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Mango Cake and Murder by Christy Murphy.

I enjoyed reading this cozy mystery novella featuring a mother daughter duo who are caterers and also amateur sleuths! I did think it was a bit odd that the mom, Jo, did seem to know things with so much certainty that it was a tad over the top... Or how Jo was able to get the murderer to confess to murder in front of a police detective was also a bit over the top as well... However, Mango Cake and Murder by Christy Murphy did make for an entertaining read, so I will give it that.

The following is a plot summary for Mango Cake and Murder by Christy Murphy from Amazon:
What do you get when you combine mango cake, murder, and Mom?

An unlikely recipe for a better life!

When Mom convinces Christy to ditch her "lousy" job and help with the catering business, their fledgling partnership suffers a few setbacks. One of them can't cook, they're short a catering van, and the guest of honor at their first party is murdered.That would be bad enough, but then, Christy's cousin, Celia, becomes the prime suspect.

Solving a murder is no easy task, but when drunken death threats, a dashing detective, and terrifying taxidermy are added into the mix, the case becomes almost impossible to crack. Who knew a small town like Fletcher Canyon could be filled with so much craziness?

Will the disaster-prone duo find the real killer before Celia's reputation is destroyed, or will Celia end up in prison for murder? Find out in this quick comedy cozy!

This novella is the first book in the Mom and Christy's Cozy Mysteries series, and is a complete mystery that you can read in an hour or two. It does NOT contain strong language or graphic violence. But it does contain a cute cat!
I am giving Mango Cake and Murder by Christy Murphy a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my nest post, happy reading!

Bookcrossing Goodies + New Book!



As usual, I am feeling blessed to be part of the Bookcrossing community! 

Over the weekend, I received a small package of goodies from another Bookcrosser in Pennsylvania, who sent me a bunch of Bookcrossing supplies and also the novel from my reading wishlist titled, The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival by Louise Murphy. How cool is that!?

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Mistletoe and Fire Glow by Nicole R. Locker

Christmas Themed Short Story
It's the count down to Christmas, so I couldn't resist reading some holiday themed short stories!

I read Mistletoe and Fire Glow by Nicole R. Locker, which is a short story approximately 25 pages in length that I was able to download for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Mistletoe and Fire Glow by Nicole R. Locker.

This is a cute Christmas themed short story, which features two people that meet through a blind date and start a romance... But of course a misunderstanding happens along the way! The writing is good... The characters are fun. I liked this short story quite a bit. This short story features a lot of Christmas songs and there is even a playlist on Spotify for this short story, which I found to be unique.

The following is a plot summary for Mistletoe and Fire Glow by Nicole R. Locker from Amazon:
A jilted blind date turns into an unexpected chance meeting for Cordi, but when she runs into the same, handsome stranger at her friend's Christmas party, all bets are off.
A sweet, holiday romance full of hope, wonder, and holiday cheer. Follow Cordi as she learns to believe in Christmas miracles when a chance meeting turns into something more.
I am giving Mistletoe and Fire Glow by Nicole R. Locker a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

More Than Kisses by Renee Ericson

Christmas Themed Short Story
More Than Kisses by Renee Ericson is a holiday themed short story approximately 34 pages in length, which I was able to download for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of More Than Kisses by Renee Ericson.

I really liked reading More Than Kisses by Renee Ericson! The two main characters, Evelyn & Foster, are fun! I liked Renee Ericson's writing and the witty, engaging dialogue between the characters themselves, especially the two main characters. The storyline and plot kept me engaged from the very start of this holiday themed short story.

The following is a plot summary for More Than Kisses by Renee Ericson from Amazon:
A night with five of their closest friends was all that Evelyn and Foster had planned for when they decided to take part in a holiday progressive dinner party. However, when an unexpected guest makes an appearance and throws Evelyn off her game, it’s up to Foster to bring her back to her senses. His plan involves a little more than kisses.
A More Than Water short story complete with sexy times and a hair fetish, told from the dual POV of Evelyn and Foster.
I am giving More Than Kisses by Renee Ericson a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Coconutty Christmas Holiday In Hawaii by Ann Omasta

Christmas Themed Short Story
It's the count down to Christmas, so I couldn't resist reading some holiday themed short stories!

I read 
Coconutty Christmas Holiday In Hawaii by Ann Omasta, which is a Christmas themed short story approximately 26 pages in length that I was able to download for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Coconutty Christmas Holiday In Hawaii by Ann Omasta.

Alright, so I am sucker for holiday themed reads!! I also couldn't resist a short story set in Hawaii... I mean really, who wouldn't want to be somewhere warm and tropical this time of year? 

As far as, Coconutty Christmas Holiday In Hawaii by Ann Omasta goes, I thought it was okay. A bit more sophomoric than I would have liked, but a nice way to escape during the holiday season.

Below is the plot summary for Coconutty Christmas Holiday In Hawaii by Ann Omasta from Amazon:
Kalea has been warned repeatedly about the temporary nature and heartbreaking consequences of falling for a handsome tourist passing through her little slice of Hawaiian paradise.
Will the fear of being hurt keep her from experiencing all of the delightful surprises that life has to offer?

Or will the trifecta of gorgeous Russ, a freak storm, and an unforgettable Christmas allow her to open her heart to the possibility of finding her happily-ever-after ending?
This sweet and romantic short story is part of The Escape Series, which includes the Kindle Scout winning book, Getting Lei'd, as well as its prequel novella, Aloha, Baby!, and the follow-up novel, Cruising for Love. You can read and enjoy these books in any order!
I am giving Coconutty Christmas Holiday In Hawaii by Ann Omasta a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

The Fruitcake by Caren Rich

It's the count down to Christmas, so I couldn't resist reading some holiday themed short stories!

I read The Fruitcake by Caren Rich, which is a short story approximately 12 pages in length that I was able to download for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Fruitcake by Caren Rich.

I liked this funny holiday themed reading with a twist for an ending. The writing and storyline are fun.

The following is the plot summary for The Fruitcake by Caren Rich from Amazon:

A humorous short story about the dreaded holiday classic. Retirement's not what Robert expected. His wife feeds him twigs and is afraid of mailbox bombs. If that's not enough a fruitcake shows up on his doorstep. Fruitcakes may be a Southern tradition, but it's one Robert can do without. Find out how he deals with the holiday classic.
I am giving The Fruitcake by Caren Rich a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Revenge by Emily Josephine

Short Story
Revenge by Emily Josephine is a short story approximately 17 pages in length that I was able to download to my Kindle for FREE from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of Revenge by Emily Josephine.

This was an easy, breezy light read to pass the time. Although, I enjoyed reading Revenge by Emily Josephine overall, it was predictable. 

The following is a plot summary for Revenge by Emily Josephine from Amazon:
I am not a country-clubbing kind of woman. In fact, I’d rather get a root canal than mingle with the kind of women that socialize at country clubs. I don’t fit in with them. I am what you might call unconventional when it comes to the mainstream ideas of beauty and fashion. But when my best friend – and cousin’s wife – Marilyn invites me to her pool party with her country club friends, I kind of have to accept.

First, my children and I have been staying with her and my cousin for the past month while my husband has been away. So we’re already at her house. It would be kind of awkward not to show up in her backyard. Besides, the kids love to swim.
Second, my husband is coming home today, and I have nothing else to do while I’m waiting for him.
As I predicted, one of Marilyn’s country club buddies immediately begins to find fault with me. Then another comes to join her in her subtle insults. At least the third who shows up is actually nice, and begins to stick up for me.

But, whatever. Let the snooty, perfectly manicured, new-hairstyle-every-week women look down on me. Because my husband will be here soon, and when he shows up, I will get sweet revenge…and they will get the shock of their lives.
I am giving Revenge by Emily Josephine a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

The Outlaw Women by Amber Foxx

eBook Short Story
The Outlaw Women by Amber Foxx is a short story approximately 22 pages in length that I was about to download fro FREE to my Kindle from Amazon.

Below is my honest, unbiased review of The Outlaw Women by Amber Foxx.

The Outlaw Women is the first thing I can ever recall reading by author, Amber Foxx. The Outlaw Women by Amber Foxx is an introductory short story to the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series, which I'd never heard of until now. 

Although, I can't say that I fell in love with The Outlaw Women by Amber Foxx, I am curious enough now to want to read Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series.

The following is a plot summary for The Outlaw Women by Amber Foxx from Amazon:
Folk healer and seer Rhoda-Sue Outlaw Jackson knows her time on earth is running out when she hears the voice of her late husband telling her she has only but so many heartbeats left. She’s had a troubled relationship with her daughter, and has little hope of passing on her extraordinary gifts, either to this difficult daughter or to her granddaughter. With the final hour around the corner, she brings her family together for one more try. Can she leave the world at peace with them, as well as with her legacy?
This short story prequel to the Mae Martin Psychic Mystery Series introduces Mae at age ten, as seen through the eyes of her grandmother
I am giving The Outlaw Women by Amber Foxx a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!

Two Flash Fiction Reads by Annaliese Lemmon

Every so often I enjoy reading flash fiction, especially when I don't have a lot of time to read because I am commuting, waiting around, etc.

I recently read two flash fiction reads by Annaliese Lemmon. I read Disability, Death, Or Other Circumstances and The Gift Of Tongues

I read the digital version of each of these flash fiction reads and was able to download them for FREE to my Kindle from Amazon. Below is my honest, unbiased read for each short read.




A 400 word work of flash fiction.
Too fast of a read for me.
I liked the premise of this story,
but would have loved to see it flushed
out a bit more.

Below is a blurb about Disability, Death,
Or Other Circumstance from Amazon:

Count your blessings, they say. Overcome trials with humor, they say. This Mormon housewife is trying, but having her husband transformed Kafka-esque into a giant rabbit is still hard to deal with.



This is a 600 word work of flash fiction.
Too fast of a read for me.
I liked the premise of this story,
but would have loved to see it flushed
out a bit more.

Below is a blurb about The Gift Of Tongues
from Amazon:
Sister Morgan has a gift of tongues, but it is not helping her to learn Spanish on her mission. Then a bird flies to her window, offering to exchange her ability to speak with animals for a gift of her choosing, including the ability to know Spanish. Sister Morgan doesn’t believe that exchange is worth it, but what would be?


I am giving Disability, Death, Or Other Circumstances by Annaliese Lemmon a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars. I am also giving The Gift Of Tongues by Annaliese Lemmon a rating of 2 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent

Paperback Mystery Novel
I discovered Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent through Bookcrossing! In fact, I received a copy of Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent from a Bookcrosser as part of a bookray and blogged about 'The Joys of Bookcrossing'.

Devil-Devil is the first novel I've read by G. W. Kent. I enjoyed reading it very much. The writing and storytelling are very well done. I enjoyed the characters of Sergeant Ben Kella and Sister Conchita immensely.

The following is a plot summary for Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent from Amazon:
It's 1960 and Sergeant Ben Kella of the Solomon Islands police force is only a few days into a routine patrol of the most beautiful yet dangerous and primitive areas of the South Pacific. Yet, already, he has been cursed by a magic man, stumbled across evidence of a cult uprising and failed to find an American anthropologist who has been scouring the mountainous jungle in search of a priceless erotic icon.To complicate matters further, at a local mission station, Kella discovers the redoubtable Sister Conchita secretly trying to bury a skeleton, before a mysterious gunman tries to kill her.Mission-educated yet an aofia - the traditional peacemaker of the islands - Kella is forced to link up with Sister Conchita, an independent and rebellious young American nun, in order to track down the perpetrators of a series of bizarre murders . . .
I am giving Devil-Devil by G. W. Kent a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Are These The 11 Worst Brats In Literature?

I came across an article on Electric Lit titled, The 11 Worst Brats in Literature by Natalee Cruz. In the article Natalee Cruz wrote the following: 
I wish this was an article about bratwürsts, but alas, in my reading I haven’t come across many references to hot dogs in literature (if you have, let me know). Instead, I want to highlight some of the würst brats — as in the child kind — in fiction. Like hot dogs, they are the result of some gloriously congealed nastiness, but they don’t need any condiments to spice things up. Of course, if I came across any of these trouble-makers in real life, I would likely find them unbearable. Safely tucked away in words and pages, however, the pranks, cackles, and uproar these brats bring to their stories makes for some choice reading.
Intrigued by the topic of the worst brats in literature, I decided to check out which bratty characters in literature made the list. I was familiar with some of the characters mentioned, but some of them I was not familiar with at all. 

I was, however, surprised that the character of Veruca Salt, from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, didn't make the list of worst brats in literature. Do you have a favorite brat from literature? Veruca Salt would be mine.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Little Free Library in Martinez, California!!



My husband and I enjoyed lunch in Hercules, California with friends at an Indian restaurant this afternoon.

On our way home, we stopped off at a very cute Little Free Library in Martinez, California. I left two books for other readers to discover... And I was thrilled to find a hardback edition of Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, which is a historical novel that has been on my reading wishlist for quite a while now. So, decided to take Wench home with me.

I am so glad to have found yet another new to me Little Free Library this year! 

Have a great weekend everyone and happy reading!

50/50 Friday ~ Favorite/Least Favorite Book Read in November



50/50 Friday is a meme hosted by Carrie @ The Butterfly Reads and Laura @ Blue Eye Books. This fun themed meme focuses on the opposite sides of books (best/worst, differing opinions, etc). Every week a new topic will give bloggers the chance to showcase their answers.


This week's topic is your Best/Worst Book Read in November 2017! 

I didn't read many books during the month of November, so not much to choose from... At least it was easy to make a decision on my best/worst read this month!

My Best Book Read in November 2017

Take Your Pants Off!! by Libbie Hawker
(Click above link to read my review.)




My Worst Book Read in November 2017

The One Who Got Away by Kristina Wright
(Click above link to read my review.) 




So, which books were your best and worst reads 
in November 2017?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Do You Like Reading The 'Outlander' Series? Here's 11 Books Like 'Outlander'

I haven't finished reading the entire 'Outlander' series by Diana Gabaldon, but I have enjoyed reading several novels in this series and am a fan of Diana Gabaldon's writing. Diana Gabaldon is definitely an author I'd love to meet in person!

So, when I came across an article on Bustle's website titled, 11 Books Like 'Outlander' For Anyone Who Needs An Escape From Modern Day Drama by Sadie Trombetta, I couldn't resist taking a peek at the novels listed in the article.

Admittedly some of the book covers for the novels listed in the above article, look a bit too cheesy to me... The good news is that five of the eleven novels look like ones I'd like to read. So, I will be adding these titles to my ever growing reading wishlist!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Alias Grace | Official Trailer [HD] | on Netflix



The following is more information regarding 'Alias Grace' from Netflix:

Alias Grace is based on Margaret Atwood's award-winning novel. The six-hour miniseries follows Grace Marks, a poor, young Irish immigrant and domestic servant in Upper Canada who, along with stable hand James McDermott, was convicted of the brutal murders of their employer, Thomas Kinnear, and his housekeeper, Nancy Montgomery, in 1843.
Has anyone seen the new 'Alias Grace' series on Netflix yet?

As a fan of Margaret Atwood's writing, I was curious about the new series on Netflix based on Atwood's novel, Alias Grace... I've yet to read Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood, so was hesitant to watch the series prior to reading the novel. 

However, not knowing when I'll find the time to read Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood when I have so many other books waiting to be read, I decided to go ahead and watch the 'Alias Grace' series on Netflix.

Although, I enjoyed the acting and costuming in the adaptation of 'Alias Grace', I didn't like this series overall. I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't like it... Something about it just didn't sit right with me.

If you watched 'Alias Grace' on Netflix, 
what did you think of it?

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Another Free Little Free Library in Walnut Creek, California!!



Instead of spending time at the shopping malls on Black Friday, I decided to visit a couple of new to me Little Free Libraries in Walnut Creek, California.

I left three audiobooks on compact disc at this particular Little Free Library and I grabbed a paperback copy of Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver.

I thought this particular Little Free Library was really cute and very stylish and chic. 

I love finding new to me Little Free Libraries and exchanging books. 

Little Free Library in Walnut Creek, California



Instead of spending time at the shopping malls on Black Friday, I decided to visit a couple of new to me Little Free Libraries in Walnut Creek, California.

I left four audiobooks on compact disc at this particular Little Free Library. However, I didn't find any books to take from this Little Free Library as none of the titles appealed to me.

I thought this particular Little Free Library was really cute. My husband and I saw three baby deer walking through this neighborhood and also three large rafters of wild turkeys occupying the middle of the road and displaying odd behavior.

The joys of finding new Little Free Libraries and having interesting experiences along the way make finding Little Free Libraries a blast.

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