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Bambbles Rambles

Books, Reviews, and general awesomeness

About Julia

Hi everyone! This is Julia of The Broke and the Bookish, formerly blogging on my own at The Competitive Bibliomaniac.

I read mostly historical romance, but can often be found reviewing paranormal romance, young adult books (mostly distopian/fantasy), fantasy/sci-fi, classics, and the occasional non-fiction book about languages.

Feel free to follow and reblog!

Currently reading

Wanton Christmas Wishes
Eliza Lloyd, Samantha Kane, Kate Pearce, Monica Burns, Madelynne Ellis, Jess Michaels
The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
Wilhelm Grimm, Jacob Grimm, Matthew R. Price, Noel Daniel
Progress: 21 %
I Love it When You Talk Retro: Hoochie Coochie, Double Whammy, Drop a Dime, and the Forgotten Origins of American Speech
Ralph Keyes
Progress: 28/271 pages
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Christopher Moore
Progress: 42/420 pages

Just Finished Reactions: Say Yes to the Marquess

Say Yes to the Marquess - Tessa Dare

This was adorable! I am really enjoying the Castles Ever After series. Rafe and Clio were such a lovely match. Heartrending at times but still, they just had this thing about them where you had to cheer for them to eventually make it. 


There was a nice little surprise twist for me (and Clio) at the end that I liked too. I just overall really enjoyed this read. 


Definitely recommend this to historical romance fans or fans of the forbidden love trope. Great read!


Side note - can Avon please stop it with these pun titles? I am a sucker for a good pun, but these ones are just killing me. 

Review: Duke of my Heart by Kelly Bowen

Duke of My Heart (A Season for Scandal) - Kelly Bowen

I have a problem. I am really, really picky on my historical romance novel authors. I rarely try new ones, and when I do the hook has to be good. When I read the summary for Duke of My Heart, I knew I had to give it a shot, and I am glad that I did.


Max and Ivory were super interesting characters. First, you have a hero running away from his lot in life, and coming back to everything in shambles. Then you have Ivory, a woman who built herself from the ground up and continues to adapt and shape her life regardless of what twists and turns life has thrown at her. They meet in the most odd of circumstances, in his sister’s room with a dead naked man tied to her bed and the sister missing. I mean that plot thread right there is enough to get me to want to read on.


The story takes place around finding out what happened to the Duke’s sister. It moves through this at a good pace, though I will say it seemed at times there was a lot going on. At one point you are following thread A and now all of a sudden thread F comes out of nowhere and we are on that train now! But honestly that was a minor quibble and wasn’t enough to distract me from liking and devouring this book.


I really enjoyed the characters, especially the fact that they didn’t lose their sense of themselves as they fell in love. It sometimes frustrates me when the hero or heroine makes a complete 180 by the power of love. I like to see how they grow and change, and grapple with the things that are happening. We get that here.


This was my first book by Kelly Bowen, as I mentioned, and I definitely want to pick up the next in this series


Thanks to Forever and Netgalley for the review copy of this book.

Also published on The Broke and the Bookish


Just Finished Reactions: At Your Pleasure by Meredith Duran

At Your Pleasure - Meredith Duran

This was my decision for the return flight today and I was a bit disappointed. This is my second Duran book and I absolutely loved The Duke of Shadows, so I sort of had high hopes for this one. 


Duran has a remarkable knack for setting and place. My favorite part of this book was the setting. Queen Anne has just died and the country is in turmoil with the new King shaking up the government. Then there are the Jacobites trying to get a Catholic king. It's a cool point in history to set a romance novel and one that we don't often see. 


But there was something lacking for me with the characters. I just could not connect with them, nor empathize with them, nor really care about them, which of course in a book primarily about the romance is problematic. Nora was just frustrating and Adrian so confusing. I feel like I missed part of their story with the majority of the events being told to me as they had happened in the past or off page. 


I saw a lot of telling not showing in the book. And while I liked it in the historical sense, I really disliked it in the romance sense. 

Just Finished Reactions: Romancing the Duke

Romancing the Duke - Tessa Dare

I swear I could make a generator for historical romance titles. There are only like four verbs and various titles. Or the puns, dont forget the puns.


Anyway, this book. I liked it. I read it on a cross country plane ride and it kept me sufficiently entertained the whole time. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the tension. I didn't rate it higher because it was sort of predictable? But still entertaining. 


Ransom is a duke living in his castle after an injury, but unknown to him, the castle may or may not have been sold and then left in a will to Izzy, who is quite destitute and desperate for a home. Her tenacity and his stubbornness clash together with brilliant sparks of the best kind.


I love Tessa Dare's writing. It's a good mix of humor and sensuality. I really want to pick up the next one in the series now. :)

Just Finished Reactions: Winter by Marissa Meyer

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) - Marissa Meyer

So this is book four, the final book in the series. I wish I remembered more of the other books going into it, but because it had been almost two years since I read the third, it was a little rough starting this. But I was quickly sucked back in the world.


I think this book did a good job of balancing out time between four protagonists, Cinder being the main one. I liked the story. The characterization of each of the characters was consistent with the other books. I really hate when stories lose track of their characters in sequels and this does not happen here. 


Some of the magic was gone for me though. Winter was sort of like Snow White, but not a lot of cool ways like some of the other books. But I guess that happens when you also have to wrap up the stories that have been unfolding in the previous three books.


While the story was fun and engaging, I didn't really feel like anything surprised me. It wraps up so nice at the end that I was sort of getting sick of all the love declarations... but I guess that is to be expected. Overall I like it. It was a good ending to a series that I enjoyed reading. 

Random: Omg I only read 20 books last year

Where the hell did 2015 go and who absconded with all of my reading time? (The answer to both questions is Netflix... damn you West Wing! jk ilu). 


I am so happy to have actually started a book. I can't even remember the last time I did that... 


So hopefully 2016 brings more... reading and more interaction here. Though just for funzies maybe I'll start doing some write-ups of the things I have been streaming. :) 


Hope everyone had a good 2015 year in books and have kicked off 2016 with a magnificent read. 

Random Workout Musings in GIF form - Traitorous Bosom

Have you ever had one of those moments where you wish you could crawl under a rock and hide but you cant and you just have to live through it knowing that it will eventually stop but right now you have to live through it and why god why?!?!


So today I was working out with my trainer for the first time in weeks. So I am all like -



Well the workout is going great. I am my usual apt self at everything - 




When something goes horribly wrong. - 



My nipples were poking through my t-shirt like they were ready to cut diamonds. They could have cut the windows in a jewel heist. I seriously rivaled Jennifer Aniston from Friends. 


We were doing a curl kick combo sort of thing and they were just RIGHT THERE staring at me in the mirror!



So I am sitting here trying to play it off, looking anywhere but my boobs, but I know it is impossible to not notice.




By the way this is pretty much my trainer - 


Except my trainer is actually more ripped than this guy... and wears a shirt. 



Anyway, it felt like ages before the traitorous bosom succumbed to my threats and went back into hiding. And luckily he's too awesome of a guy to call them out but GOD DAMN IT BOOBS. WORK WITH ME FOR ONCE. 



But in the end, the workout went well and I now feel like this -




So that eventually the end goal will be reached. 


Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

I don't read a lot of mystery or crime mystery for that matter, but damn do I love this series. I don't know if I would if I read a lot of it, maybe I would pick up on the clues too easily but with this series, Galbraith manages to tell me who it is and the convince me that I am wrong about 100 times. I bounce back and forth between who I think committed the crime that it's impossible for me to figure out.


Now that I know, I was like "Damn it! I should have known better because of X and Y!" 


Anyway, this book is just as good as the first. My only qualms are with Robin... there isnt much she is bad at and I would love some more development of her character outside of her relationship issues. Hopefully the next book gives us that. 


Strike is a great hero. I love how his mind works and following him around. I guess some parts of the book are a little bloated and I skim a bit with repetitions, but honestly I still enjoy the hell out of this series. I get sucked in so quick and read it pretty quickly. 


It's nice to know that Rowling can still entertain the hell out of me year after I started reading her books.

Random Question to Comic Book Readers

I have recently been really getting into the Marvel Comics Universe. Partly because of the excellent movies over the years and being curious to know more, but mostly because of them finally being available to me in a way that I don't have to pay for every single one. I gota subscription to Marvel Unlimited for Christmas and started reading a few comics on my last plane journey. 


So a few questions. Do you guys keep track of your comic books that you have read like you would with books? Like do you have a comic book shelf? If you don't keep track of them here, is there a comic-centric site like this one? 


I did a search and saw that the series that I was reading (Captain Marvel) is in the Booklikes database, but I dont know if I want to add them here. My books read totals would inflate dramatically with including every 24 page comic that I read. 


Should I just suck it up and up my goal with every comic read? 


Also do you have any recommendations? I am sort of overwhelmed by the vastness of comics to choose from. My "must read things in order" attribute is twitching as I read Volume 8, but I just cant figure out a way for me to start from the beginning and read sequentially. I would have to read multiple series at once I think to cover one character's arc which would then spoil me for another... urgh


So I just picked the latest Captain Marvel since I like her in my Marvel Puzzle Quest phone game and wanted to know more.


Any help or guidance would be wonderful!!

Review: The Devil Takes a Bride by Julia London

The Devil Takes a Bride - Julia London

So we all know my reaction to book one in this series... so why did I even try book two when book one was a DNF? Well, I liked Grace. I thought maybe she would redeem the series for me. And yeah, I enjoyed this one leaps and bounds over the other! 


My full review was posted over at The Broke and the Bookish, but I'll give you some of the highlights.

The Devil Takes a Bride starts off with Grace trying to trap a husband to save her family from the streets. It’s not an ideal action, and she is reminding me a lot of her sister right away which worried me. But once the trap had sprung and she caught the wrong man, things got better. Well, not for her, but for my reading experience. It went a different direction from the first book and focused on the couple just trying to make the best of bad situation.

Grace is far from perfect and is trying to grow up while accepting her fate. Jeffery, the lead, is a recluse by choice and has some nontraditional habits… sexually and mentally. The book is really about figuring out how the two of them can figure out each other without making the other’s life miserable. ...

In the third act though, more of the secondary characters make appearances which started to drag on for me. The main story had a teeny bit going on at the end, but in my mind they had already solved the main conflict. It was more about figuring out secondary story lines and almost unnecessary. It didn't hold my attention as much as when the story was focused on the two of them.

Overall the book was a nice read for me - a great couple with a sizzling romance. The secondary characters were okay, but they made the ending drag a bit. Despite that I am glad I read it and enjoyed it.


Also, apparently this may have gone out as an ARC under a title of "The Fall of Lady Grace" which is a WAY better title than "The Devil Takes a Bride". I did another search for how many "devil" + "bride" combinations in romance and it's 5. Too Many. The Fall of Lady Grace would have been unique - a pun on her name and references to sex and love. Urg what a missed opportunity.



This book was provided by Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.

Random: Historical Romance Novel Titles: Seduce + Scoundrel

Romance novel titles are a strange beast. The one's that I particularly pay attention to are the historical romance titles. I swear you could come up with a generator. We've got Avon coming up with new horrid puns all the damn time (and I like puns). But mostly we've got overuses of the same few key titles with the same few key phrases. 


I was browsing some deals the other day when I came across one of these cookie-cutter titles and I thought to myself, "I wonder how many historical romances actually have 'seduce' and 'scoundrel' in the title." And so this list was born.


  • To Seduce a Scoundrel by Darcy Burke
  • How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling 
  • Never Seduce a Scoundrel by Sabrina Jeffries
  • Never Seduce a Scoundrel by Heather Grothaus
  • The Seduction of an English Scoundrel by Jillian Hunter
  • How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries 
  • Seduced by a Scoundrel by Barbara Dawson Smith
  • Seduced by the Scoundrel by Louise Allen
  • The Scoundrel's Seduction by Jennifer Haymore
  • Seductive Scoundrel by Victoria London


There is a lot of seducing scoundrels out there, or how to's regarding seducing them... or avoiding seduction. I liked the ones who tried to get creative by adding an adjective specifying the type of scoundrel or by changing up the tense of seduction.


At the end of this, I have gained nothing but a list of ten that I thought would be fun to share. That and scoundrel doesn't look like a real word anymore.  

Progress Post: The Trouble with Honor

The Trouble With Honor - Julia London

1/18/15 - 100 out of 384 pages.

I don't know if I can read any more of this book. I wish I could have been live streaming my consciousness while reading this on a flight. Granted I was/am sick and have a shorter limit for bullshit, but still. Honor is one of the most unlikable heroines I have ever read. 


She is a spoiled, selfish, manipulative, self-centered, scheming bitch. And I mean bitch as a descriptive word. Let's recap of what I have read in these 100 pages. 


Honor has three younger sisters, a step-brother, a ailing mother and ailing step-father. Honor is 24ish, likes to party, does not want to give up the freedom she has to marry. Fine. But the earl is dying and her step-brother (who she likes and likes her... he is not even evil in this scenario) is about to marry her former best friend of whom she had a falling out with. Said best friend, Monica,  is totally going to throw her family out on their asses for being freeloaders of the earls money (Honor thinks) if she doesnt break up her step-brother and former bff (whom actually both really like each other). She doesnt want to marry to save the family or do anything that will take away her freedom or her ability to spend money. 


The way Honor and Monica who supposedly grew up together as friends treat each other is ridiculous. And mostly on Honor's side. Monica commissioned a hat and couldn't afford it so Honor bought it knowing Monica wanted it and flaunted it around like a child. 


Her scheme, which is the plot, is to get George something, the unclaimed bastard of a duke, to pay attention to Monica and get the idea in her head that there are better fish in the sea than her step-brother. What. A. Bitch. 


We even get in Monica's head and find out she genuinely is a good person! Honor is the horrible stuck-up debutante villain in every other romance novel I have read, but here she is supposed to be the heroine? What? Her and George's (hell is his name even George?) romantic interactions are nothing special either. He comes to talk sense into her but then is swayed by her beauty or her eyes or some such nonsense. 


Urgh. I had to stop reading this on the plane... I honestly dont know if I'll try to start it again. It's that frustrating to me. I honestly dont care if Honor ends up happy... so why should I read about it. 


I have the second sister's book in an ARC and I hate reading things out of order, but I may have to make an exception. Grace (sister two) is infinitely better than Honor the few times she has been on screen. 

Just Finished Reactions: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover - Sarah MacLean

It is impossible to talk through my reactions to this book without spoiling things that are slowly revealed in the last three books in this series... so if you haven't yet finished and want to be surprised, scroll on down the dashboard, dear reader, but if you want to hear me rant a bit, read ahead.



First off, I didn't hate this book as much as the last one. That book was just fucked up in it's premise/execution/definition on what is a redeemable character. This one was just an amazing premise/setup with a piss poor execution. 


Chase is a strong woman. She has literally built her life up from nothing into this outstanding, freeing leader of the Fallen Angel. She has a good thing going for Victorian England. Her motivations for wanting to get back into society that she literally despises enough to build an empire around it's ruination makes no sense from the get go, even if it's for her child. 


West is a little... off in this book. I remember liking what we saw before, but damn it all if that didn't disappear. His fixation on Chase has merits, but his interactions with his blackmailer make no damn sense. 


But worst of all, the romance, the romantic interactions, the banter between the two, it's boring and repetitive. So. Many. Internal. Monologues. All saying the same damn thing. There were some good things, but just not enough to make me care. I had high expectations after the first two books, after the monstrosity that was the third, I lowered them some. This one was just disappointing in it's boringness and hypocrisy. 


Others have liked it. I am just not one of them. 


Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things - Patrick Rothfuss

My first book of the year was one that was forced upon me by the threat of the library ripping it off of my eReader before I had even a chance to begin. It seems like a good opening for a beginning.


The novella is ... unique. I wouldn't recommend it for someone who hasn't read at least The Name of the Wind (which is excellent). It's good to have some background or you are going to get lost quickly.


This is Auri's story. Not her complete story, but her story. What does she do in the course of a week? How does she interact with the world around her? That is what you see, and it is enchanting. 


Rothfuss' prose just floats off the page:


"But this was not a time for begging favors from the moon. Not now. She could not rush and neither could she be delayed. Some things were simply too important."


For a story without dialogue or traditional characters, I found myself invested into this girls life. I have questions, as you do in the Kingkiller Chronicles, but never did I imagine 'Would the gear ever find a place?' would be one of them. I was so damned worried about the gear! I haven't been that emotionally attached to something inanimate since the many rewatchings of Disney's Beauty and the Beast


In addition to the story, there is some lovely artwork scattered throughout. With these and with the ethereal prose, it almost feels like a old world fairy tale. Just one without a definite end. 


I enjoyed it though and was glad that this was the forced beginning to my book reading 2015. 



Review: Notes to Boys by Pamela Ribon

Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn't Share in Public - Pamela Ribon

Pamela Ribon has been showing up a lot in my recent life. First of all, she shows up with that horrible barbie book nonsense, bringing it all to life in her blog post. Then I see her name mentioned in a Smart Bitches post and think, "Oh! I recognize her! She is the one who wrote the hilarious thing on the sad barbie book". And finally, it came to a point when I looked at the book my friend from work had loaned me and realized it was her again. At that point I knew I was going to like this book. 


My friend had told me that this was their bookclub pick this month and most of the ladies had liked it though it took a bit to get into. I liked it from the beginning though did skim through some of the more cringe-worthy stories. 


Let me back up. This book is written on the concept that Pam saved all of the notes she wrote to boys as a teenager. They are just brimming with 15 year old angst and feeling. I would read them and cringe to myself on her behalf and then cringe again remembering some of the things I did as a teen. All this cringing would culminate in the grateful realization that I was no longer 15 and did not have to worry about overwhelming feels anymore.


My favorite parts of this book were not the notes themselves but the context and stories around them. Pam is a fantastic writer who drew me into her past quite easily. I want to read more of her books now that do no center around these notes. The notes were my least favorite part actually. I enjoyed them more toward the beginning, but as the book went on I had enough flashbacks thanks. 


Anyway, I enjoyed this book. Give it a shot if you are interested in a memoir centering around some of the more embarrassing aspects of teenage girlhood doused with a good dose of humor. 


Progress Post: Out of the Easy

Out of the Easy - Ruta Sepetys

10/18/14 - 149 out of 266

I am just going to put a few of the turns of phrases that I have jotted down as I have glomped through 150 pages tonight. There were more that I didn't stop to write, but these I liked for various reasons:


"That idiot went and got himself shot last week. He’s taking a dirt nap and won’t need the place."


The wealthy women pretended it singed their tongue to say whore. They’d whisper it and raise their eyebrows. Then they’d fake an expression of shock, like the word itself had crawled into their pants with a case of the clap


"God, I need that coffee. I feel like a bag of smashed assholes"