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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
Man it's been a long time since I read this book. I think I had to have been in high school when my sister insisted that I read it. My work bookclub voted this as the October read. I had forgotten a lot about it. Things sort of started to come back to me as I was reading it, but damn if this isn't a thoughtful read.
It's one of those books that is super easy to read and yet can open things up to a lot of discussion, probably the main reason it has done so well in schools. I can't wait to see what people bring up in bookclub, reading it for the first time as adults. I can't help but believe that I may be looking at it with nostalgia goggles.
I was linked a list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels and decided to find reviews for the books listed. Hence was born, Book Reviews of Yore.
The Fault Was All His Own. In A Series Of Letters By a Lady
"We are told that this is the production of a young Lady, of a promising genius; and the work bears sufficient testimony that we are not misinformed; for it abounds with the marks of an immature judgment, and yet affords proofs of a fine imagination. It is defective in plan, characters, and style; but many good sentiments are interspersed in it; and we meet with reflections that would do honour to the pen of a more experienced writer."
- The Monthly Review, 1771
"This writer seems to have taken little pains either in planning or executing her work. The story is irregular, and productive of few interesting events. The characters are imperfectly delineated, and the business assigned them seldom has importance enough to excite the reader's curiousity or concern. Yet these letters are not destitue of merit. They are interspersed with many sprightly sentiments and sensible reflections, and bear the marks of a promising genius."
- The Critical Review, 1771
This one wasn't too bad. She had promising genius! I wonder if this Lady ever wrote anything else. The last review has a sentence about the lady now being married and living in Russia... so maybe not.
The Mysterious Husband. A Novel By Gabrielli, Author of the Mysterious Wife
"In a series of events, both upon the continent and in England, is narrated the history of lord Clarencourt and his family; and it is related with sufficient interest to keep alive the curiosity of the reader. But the author has given countenance to a circumstance which deserves the severest reprehension - the elopement of the ladies Elmira and Idamia, at the suggestions of a stranger. Not content with making Tancred turn out, at last, a lord, as is the custom of modern story-tellers, our author outstrips them all, and dubs him a prince. But let not this good luck induce our fair young countrywomen to be guilty of the like indiscretion; for it is a thousand to one, that, instead of making them princesses, it would lead them towards the direct and almost certain road to infamy and ruin."
- The Critical Review, Volume 33, 1801
That last one is great! It's a good book, but don't go getting into your head that every stranger who comes along with talk of elopement is going to turn out to a be a prince. It's such a romance novel story line. I love it!
I was linked a list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels and decided to find reviews for the books listed. Hence was born, Book Reviews of Yore.
The Adventures Of A Pin, Supposed To Be Related By Himself, Herself, Or Itself.
"A bundle of ill-connected stories, related without much regard to nature or probability, and little capable of answering the purpose either of entertainment or instruction"
- The British Critic: A New Review, Volume 7, 1796
"We hope the writer of these Adventures is in earnest, in the last paragraph of his Preface. The best fate which we can wish to his performance, and the fate which most probably awaits it, is (in his own language) 'a gentle dip in the waters of oblivion.'"
- The Critical Review: Or Annals of Literature, Volume 18, 1796
Wow. That last one was harsh. Even though this book was apparently not too great, the title is pretty spectacular.
Fashionable Infidelity, or the Triumph of Patience
"Infidelity, in various shapes, has so long infested the land, that every friend to virtue must wish to see it attacked with boldness and with skill. To crush this terrible monster, however, the arm of a giant is necessary; but the present combatant is a pygmy. In brief, we have nothing to commend in a writer who seems unacquainted with almost every rule of grammar -- but his 'good intentions.' The volumes may, however, on account of the morality which generally pervades them, be perused by the younger part of the community with some advantage."
-The Monthly Review, Volume 81, 1789
"The public are informed by the preface of this work, that "the intention of printing it was to exhibit the great misery which is produced in the world by the circulation of scandal; to prove that the well regulated mind will be enabled by calm perseverance to surmount the united efforts of deceit and malevolence; and to shew that Providence has so ordered it, that Art and Injustice will be ultimately ensnared in their own trammels." - The intention to do all this is so highly praiseworthy that we can only lament, with deeper sorrow, it is not carried more successfully into execution. There is a boldness of design in the outlines of this work which marks fertility and strength of mind, but the coloring is so very imperfect that its merit is entirely overpowered. ...
We have pointed out a few of a much larger number, which appear to us to be defects; and if, in our inclination to praise rather than to censure, we have not pointed out the beauties to counterbalance them, the Author must blame himself, for not affording the opportunity of selection."
- The European Magazine and London Review, Volume 17, 1790
That second one has a whole host of examples of the author's poor phrasing. It is hard for me to pick out exactly what they were nitpicking, since the grammar is bound to have changed a bit in 200 some years. I think from what I gathered it was repetitive in it's phrasing, like a lot of blank of blank. At least I think that is what they were saying.
I love that last line of the second one. We would have put praise in, but author, you should have tried harder to give us something to like. The whole review is pretty much saying, "We liked the concept, but the execution is horrid"
Today on Facebook, Julia Quinn linked this list of 100 Actual Titles of Real 18th Century Novels. These titles are great, though I didn't get very far down the list.
The reason is because I popped over to Google books to see if they were scanned. They are most definitely in the public domain, but I unfortunately didn't find the books. Fortunately though, I found reviews that I just had to share.
Frailties of Fashion, or The Adventures Of An Irish Smock, Interspersed With Whimsical Anecdotes Of A Nankeen Pair Of Breeches.
"Containing among a great Variety of curious connections between the most celebrated Demi Reps and Beaux Garcons upon the Ton. The Secret Memoirs of Madame D'Eon, as related by herself. Amours of Count D'Artois. Private Intrigues of Lady W-----y and Mrs. N----n; never before published. The Frolics of Boarding School Misses. The Gambols of Maids of Honour, &c. &c. Twelves. 2s. 6d. Sewed. Lister.
This perfrmance is addressed to the passions, and a sale is expected from the effects of the title page, rather than from the contents of the volume. The volume is an indecent and impure farrago; and it would be of service to the community, could a summary method be invented to suppress publications calculated to inflame the youth of both sexes and encourage vice, sensuality and licentiousness."
- The English Review, 1783
Wow! What an anthology lineup. The Frolics of Boarding School Misses sounds like something you would find on literotica today. Love this. I would read this book. (Source)
Cuckoldom Triumphant Or, Matrimonial Incontinence Vindicated.
"Illustrated with Intrigues public and private, ancient and modern. By a Gentleman of Doctors Commons. To which is added, a Looking Glass for each sex. 12mo. 2 Vols. 5s sewed. Thorn.
This impudent apology for matrimonial incontinence unites excessive dullness with obscenity, and is, in the highest degree, detestable."
- The Monthly Review, Vol 45, 1772
Oh that is great! And authors think we give them a hard time today! Apparently this was not a novel either, but was classified as a medical book. Maybe self help? (Source)
7/30/14: I've read 33 out of 330 pages.
Men's minds are messy places and Noise is like the active, breathing face of that mess. It's what's true and what's believed and what;s imagined and what's fantasized and it says one thing and a completely opposite thing at the same time and even tho the truth is definitely in there, how can you tell what's true and what's not when yer getting everything?
The Noise is a man unfiltered, and without a filter, a man is just chaos walking
I did a first impression review of The Knife of Never Letting Go over on my blog, The Broke and the Bookish. I read thirty pages and then say my first date thoughts of the book. This one was pretty favorable and I can't wait to read more of it.
I did a pretty long post over there, so check it out if you are interested. I'll paste my final verdict over here though, just for funsies.
First off, I am probably only going to read a few stories from this anthology, so I will review them all individually as I read them. I only have 21 days with this book though, so if you have read it, let me know which ones you think are worth reading.
I started reading The Kingkiller Chronicles about three years ago at the insistence of one of my friends who wanted a female opinion on the first book. He said I would like it because there was some romance in it (my predominant genre), but honestly I liked it way more for the fantasy. Rothfuss' world is so unique. I love the world building here and I can't get enough details. So far there are only two books out in the main series (The Name of the Wind and A Wise Man's Fear respectively), with a spinoff type character centric prequel book coming this fall. But we have another cool glimpse into the everyday workings of the world with this newest entery, The Lightening Tree.
The Lightening Tree focuses on Bast, a sidekick of sorts to our hero. It literally just follows what he does throughout his day, which I kind of really enjoyed. We got to see a little bit more of how his brain works and how he can use his Fae skills to manipulate and trick the world around him.
Mixed in this light day are some serious concepts. There are few more details given in the world, but more importantly we get to see what Bast is capable of on his own without Kote to hover or, you know, be the main character. I liked that.
I had some problems with it, though. Primarily since Bast is Fae he sleeps around a bit... which you know more power to him I guess, but it's like three in a day man. It's just icky and at points a little manipulative. But I guess that explores his character more and shows just what he does to get his end goal.
Personally a funny story I had around this one was my coworker mentioned something to me after he read it of something in this story changing the way he saw the whole series. So I read with a careful eye. I talked to him today about it and he had no idea what the hell I was talking about. Talk about a sadness... maybe I dreamed it... who knows.
So, is it worth a read? Yes, if you are a fan of the series. It's quick and fun (ish) and just a nice glimpse into the psyche of Bast.
The series is great, by the way. I eagerly await the next installment, hopefully due out sometime this decade. :)
I am going to start this by saying this isn't a DNF given out of intense dislike and hatred. This is given out of having different expectations from the book than it gave me.
Let me explain. Cinderella Ninja Warrior, one of the best titles ever by the way, is a Twisted Tale. A sort of Choose Your Own Adventure book. Or at least that it how I interpreted it. There are points in the story where you get to chose where it goes next, which to me is Choose Your Own Adventure. But there is only one ending. No matter what you decide, the book ends the same. Once I realized that my sails were deflated. I made it one more chapter before just giving up.
The book wasn't bad. A little too teenage angst perfect protagonist for my taste, but it was a different retelling of Cinderella.It was still the same general story but with magic and ninjas. If I were a preteen (the age group suggested for this book), I would have ate this up.
But alas I am not. I read it for the Choose Your Own Adventure aspects of it. I wanted to relive my Goosebumps days where I ended up a zombie or falling out of a window and there were bad endings and good endings. This isn't that. The destination is the same no matter what you do; it's just the journey that changes.
I ended up giving my copies of this and Sleeping Beauty Vampire Hunter to a coworker who has a preteen. I think she will love them.
On the topic of Choose Your Own Adventure books, do they make Chose Your Own Adventure books for adults? I would love that. Love it to pieces. I know my sister mentioned to me that there is a romance novel video game in Japan where she is teaching that is choose your own adventure, sort of. There are six guys and the choices you make determine who you end up with. It's super popular. Maybe I should just go find some Goosebumps...
There is a really interesting discussion going on at Dear Author today regarding ARCs and the contract or lack there of to read a book upon request. I thought I would share since it seems relevant to all of our interests.
Julia says: This was a wonderful book. It is definitely worth picking up if it is $1.99!
On my Circus list!