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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 %
How to Dance with a Duke
Manda Collins
Progress: 191/333 pages
Meljean Brook
Progress: 300/413 pages
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

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 - J.K. Rowling, 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"

Reread Reactions: The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver - Lois Lowry

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. 

Book Reviews of Yore - The Fault was all His Own and Mysterious Husband


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!




Book Reviews of Yore - Adventures of a Pin and Fashionable Infidelity


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"

Book Reviews of Yore - Whimsical Breeches and Matrimonial Incontinence

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)



Progress Post: The Knife of Never Letting Go

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

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

View from Page Thirty: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness

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. 


Final Verdict:
Yeah I am totally reading on. I am really curious to see how the story unfolds and what the rules and limitations of this world are. It sounds like a different twist on the dystopian thing, rather than just the controlling government makes us do something strange that our main character is rebelling against. I want to know more and can't wait to continue on!