Month: February 2016

Love-A-Thon 2016 | Get to Know Me!

Posted February 20, 2016 by Jana in About Me, Personal / 2 Comments

 

1. What’s your name?
Jana (It rhymes with banana… interesting how many pronunciations people come up with!)

2. Where in the world are you blogging from?
I live in the western USA! (I’m not saying my state because I’m participating in #otspsecretsister and don’t want to give away my location!)

3. How did you get into blogging in the first place?
Way back in 2010, Jamie from the Goodreads College Students group sent out a message asking if anyone wanted to start up a book blog with her. A few of us wrote and said we were interested, and The Broke and the Bookish was born! I never knew book blogging was even a thing before this, and I really fell in love with it. I started this blog about a year and a half later, and I’m still over at TB&TB as well. :)

4. How did you come up with your blog name?
Honestly, it came to me while I was on pain meds during my tonsillectomy recovery! I made the blog so fast, barely thinking, and that entire process is a complete blur to me because pain meds are intense! I’ve never wanted to change it, though, so I guess drugged Jana makes great life choices.

5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?
I don’t know? I tend to focus on YA, but I’ve been reading a lot more adult over the last couple years. As for genre… it’s such a mash-up of all the genres, but I’m thinking it’s pretty evenly split between contemporary romance and fantasy.

6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews?
Well, I host the Debut Author Challenge, so I do a lot of Debut Dish posts. Those are mini author interviews, usually with some giveaways as well. I also participate in Top Ten Tuesday. My regular features have kind of suffered over the last few years since I went back to school, but I’m going to start doing more Bookish Finds and That Artsy Librarian posts soon!

7. Best blogging experience so far?
I’m not sure I can pinpoint one! Receiving my first ARC (Of Poseidon by Anna Banks), going to ALA several times, having my name appear in the acknowledgments of one of my favorite books, and receiving my first blurb in a book have been some of the highlights. I’ve loved making new friends and broadening my reading interests. Really, it’s all been awesome so far!

8. Favorite thing about the blogging community?
I love fangirling over books with people who GET it! And I love it when we force each other to read our favorites, and then happiness all around!

9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for in 2016!
A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas, Map of Fates by Maggie Hall, Heartless by Marissa Meyer, The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson, and Rebellion by J.A. Souders!

10. Name the 5 books you want to read in 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years!
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski, A Madness So Discreet by Mandy McGinnis, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, The Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, and Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins.

11. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?
Underrated book? Definitely Wanderlove by Kristen Hubbard. Underrated series would by the Hourglass Door trilogy by Lisa Mangum.

12. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?
Hale from Heist Society by Ally Carter would be my BFF! I love him!

13. Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend?
Tamlin from A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas makes me weak in the knees.

14. Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad (5 characters max)?
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games), Four (Divergent), Carswell Thorne (Lunar Chronicles), Cinder (Lunar Chronicles), and… Perry (Under the Never Sky).

15. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?
Graphic design, singing, watching movies, listening to music, shopping, traveling, baking, and scrapbooking.

16. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for?
JEWELRY. And shoes. And purses. And organizing supplies, like boxes and drawers. I hate shopping for clothes.

17. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would be playing?
Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey. Sounds cliche, but I love that song so much!

18. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book.
I want The Lunar Chronicles to be turned into a 5-part movie series of a TV show. I’m good with either!

19. What would your dream library look like?
The most popular answer ever: The Beast’s.

20. Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with?
Sarah J. Maas!

Do we have anything in common? Say hi, and I’ll come visit you!


When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare | Book Review

Posted February 16, 2016 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 2 Comments

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare | Book ReviewWhen a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #3
Also in this series: Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess
Published by Avon on August 25, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Edelweiss)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

Tessa Dare’s Castles Ever After series made me remember why I love historical romance. I loved the first one, Romancing the Duke, and Say Yes to the Marquess is one of my favorite historical romances to date. I really enjoyed When a Scot Ties the Knot (hello, Mr. Highlander), but it was not my favorite of the series. As always, my main points are bolded.

1. I really only have one complaint, but it’s kind of a big one. I didn’t feel like there was a ton of chemistry between Maddie and Logan. There was heat, yes, but I didn’t really buy the romance like I did in the previous two books. This felt more lusty to me. I suppose I started feeling it at the end, but the romance wasn’t sweeping and swoony like I have become accustomed to as of late.

2. I loved Maddie. I thought she was hilarious, plus she’s bookish, artsy, and painfully shy. I get her. While I don’t have panic attacks when I’m surrounded by a few people, I know what it’s like to be a wallflower. And I know what it’s like to view life through an artist’s eye. I love that she wrote letters to an imaginary captain to avoid jumping into the dating pool. That’s something I could totally see myself doing. All in all, I’m a fan of hers.

3. Logan… He started as as being the epitome of my least favorite highlander. He’s big and cocky and doesn’t really do romance. He storms in to Maddie’s isolated castle and blackmails her, telling her that if she does not marry him and give him her castle and the land surrounding it, he is going to take her fake romance to the media and have her publicly ridiculed. I don’t do blackmail. I don’t do men who come in to the scene and bully or take advantage of women. But… I really started to like him more when he softened up and started thinking with his heart and his emotions over his selfish need to provide for the soldiers who fought under him. Maddie does a great job of tugging at his heartstrings and making him feel things, and I slowly became a fan of Captain Mackenzie’s as well.

4. The story is super unique, which I really enjoyed. A romance that blooms out of the mindless musings of a teenage girl to an imaginary man is pretty awesome. I LOVE this idea. It would have been better if there had been a stronger feeling of romance, but… I digress.

5. I’ve come to expect awesome witty banter between Tessa Dare’s characters, and I got it. I do love sizzling, flirtatious, witty banter.

6. This book is funny! Just read this:

What have I done? Most lasses like it when a man kills the bugs. Along with reaching high places and giving sexual pleasure, it’s one of the few universally popular qualities we have to offer.

(Maddie is an artist and draws bugs for a client who is putting together a collection of… bug drawings. Logan gets chewed out after smashing an already dead bug pancake. These are his thoughts after said chewing out occurs.)

There are many more funny passages like this!

7. The cast of supporting characters is wonderful! I really liked Logan’s burly band of misfit soldiers, particularly one who reminds me of Dory from Finding Nemo. He has no short-term memory, and so his friends keep having to tell him where he is. He’s very endearing because he loves Maddie every single time he meets her… which is multiple times per day.

8. The bookishness. I can hardly handle the bookishness! I LOVED IT! Here’s my favorite quote:

He was lying on the bed, a loose shirt hanging open at the neck to reveal a wedge of his chest. His brow was lightly furrowed in concentration, and those spectacles were perched on the strong bridge of his nose. One muscled arm was flexed and propped behind his head. And in the other hand, he held . . . Devil take him. Heaven help her. A book. Not just any book, but a thick one bound in dark green leather. And he was reading the thing.

Haha! I can’t! This is probably the best passage I’ve ever read in a book ever. I laughed out loud. Props to Ms. Dare for making books sexy. Spectacles! Come ON!

All in all, I really enjoyed When a Scot Ties the Knot. Was it my favorite? No. But only because Tessa Dare can only outdo herself so many times. This book was so much fun and the story was so unique and the characters were so likable (even if it took me longer with some of them) that I could not help but smile as I flew through the pages.


Top Ten Favorite Couples (in Books)

Posted February 8, 2016 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 8 Comments

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

Valentine’s Day is next week, so we decided this week to do a Valentine’s Day freebie. Of course I immediately decided on my favorite couples in books. I love romance. It has to be in every book I read. It was REALLY hard narrowing this down to just ten, but I decided to be a grown-up and follow the rules.

FavoriteBookCouples2

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Love, Lucy by April Lindner
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Under the Never Sky Trilogy by Veronica Rossi
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Newsoul Trilogy by Jodi Meadows
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Who are some of your favorite couples?
What Valentine’s Day TTT topic did you decide to do today?


Keeping Up With the Debuts: What Lee Kelly Learned from Her Debut

Posted February 3, 2016 by Jana in Giveaway, Guest Post, Keeping Up With the Debuts / 5 Comments

Keeping Up With the Debuts is an original That Artsy Reader Girl feature, where I bring back former debut authors are give them the opportunity to talk about what they learned from their debut novel and what’s next for them!

I’m so excited to welcome Lee Kelly back to the blog today! Lee’s debut novel, City of Savages, came out exactly one year ago today! She’s here to tell us about what she learned from her debut novel and to tell us about her new book, A Criminal Magic, which released yesterday!


What I Learned from My Debut
by Lee Kelly

It’s February 3, 2016 – exactly one day after the release of my second novel, A CRIMINAL MAGIC, and exactly one year after the release of my first, CITY OF SAVAGES. My debut somehow simultaneously feels like ages ago, and also just last week. I think time does funny tricks like that, bends and flexes and knots around big events in people’s lives, and this past year has been no exception.

Whenever I catch up or run into people I haven’t seen in a while, one of the first questions they tend to ask is, “Oh hey! How’s the book doing?” And while this used to feel like an antagonizing inquiry into my personal worth last winter, these days, it just feels like an honest question. I’ve gotten over the vulnerability, the obsession, the insecurity of my debut – and while debuting was truly a rollercoaster of an endeavor, I’d like to think I’m a stronger writer and person for it.

The funny thing is, with my second book, I find myself slipping back into my “debut insanity” mindset a little bit – but maybe this is somewhat inevitable, right? Maybe releasing books is a little like having kids – maybe you just can’t escape that period where life gets turned upside down, where you’re more vulnerable and irritable and feel like you may never be normal again. Here are five lessons I learned the first book around that I’m trying to remember this time:

1. Reading is subjective, and it’s supposed to be. There was a three month stretch, right around release, where I sadly spent waaaay too much time tracking Amazon and Goodreads reviews, pouring over trades, wondering when I noticed someone currently reading my novel if they’d be the type of person who would enjoy a pair of post-apocalyptic sisters, or the type who would make a hate-rant video about their idiocy.
But the truth is, tastes are erratic and completely unpredictable. I’ll hand a novel to my mom, convinced she’ll devour it, and she can’t get through the first twenty pages. My sister and I will see a movie, and at the end she’ll ask, “Wasn’t that amazing?” to which I answer, “Eh.”

Thing is, entertainment is supposed to be subjective – there are many kinds of genres and styles and messages and if we all liked the same thing, we’d all write and make the same things, and what a boring world that would be.

2. Don’t ask people if they’ve read your book. That moment where you know your husband gave a copy of your book to his colleague, and you know she liked the first two chapters because she told you in person a month earlier, and yet here you are at a cocktail party and books come up and she says nothing. VERDICT: As my father flippantly says, “So what! Who cares?” I never bring it up because she either forgot or she hated it, and those are high odds for a really awkward conversation.

3. The online book community is wonderful…. I never knew how incredibly robust and communal and supportive and fun the book community was online until I debuted. I got on Twitter late, and only after I signed my book deal with Simon & Schuster, but I seriously feel so grateful for the amazing community of fellow writers, readers, bloggers, agents and publishers that make the book community so wonderful and accessible online.

4. …But sometimes you have to go dark. For all of its amazingness, thanks to social media, it is so, so easy these days to check in on friends and colleagues and other writers, see all of the wonderful things going on in their careers (New deals! Stellar reviews! Film options!) and feel incredibly small and unworthy. And while it took me a LONG time to figure this out, I finally realized that when I’m in a really insecure place (like waiting on feedback from my editor or agent, or really struggling with a particular scene or a tough revision), I just have to turn off the internet. I’m not intentionally in the business of torturing myself, but for a short period back in 2015, I have to admit I was pretty darn good at it.

5. At the end of the day, I love writing. No matter how my last book or my new book is received, at the end of the day, I write novels because I love writing – the actual act, not everything that might come or does come after it. So I have to sit down at the computer as a writer, not as an author, which helps frame all of the above concerns as privileges.


To read about Lee’s debut novel, A City of Savages, click here!
Continue on to read about A Criminal Magic and enter to win one of two prize packages of BOTH of Lee Kelly’s books!

A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly
February 2, 2016 from Simon & Schuster
Add to Goodreads • Buy from Amazon

THE NIGHT CIRCUS meets PEAKY BLINDERS in Lee Kelly’s new magical realism, crossover novel.

Magic is powerful, dangerous and addictive – and after passage of the 18th Amendment, it is finally illegal.

It’s 1926 in Washington, DC, and while Anti-Sorcery activists have achieved the Prohibition of sorcery, the city’s magic underworld is booming. Sorcerers cast illusions to aid mobsters’ crime sprees. Smugglers funnel magic contraband in from overseas. Gangs have established secret performance venues where patrons can lose themselves in magic, and take a mind-bending, intoxicating elixir known as the sorcerer’s shine.

Joan Kendrick, a young sorcerer from Norfolk County, Virginia accepts an offer to work for DC’s most notorious crime syndicate, the Shaw Gang, when her family’s home is repossessed. Alex Danfrey, a first-year Federal Prohibition Unit trainee with a complicated past and talents of his own, becomes tapped to go undercover and infiltrate the Shaws.

Through different paths, Joan and Alex tread deep into the violent, dangerous world of criminal magic – and when their paths cross at the Shaws’ performance venue, despite their orders, and despite themselves, Joan and Alex become enchanted with one another. But when gang alliances begin to shift, the two sorcerers are forced to question their ultimate allegiances and motivations. And soon, Joan and Alex find themselves pitted against each other in a treacherous, heady game of cat-and-mouse.

A CRIMINAL MAGIC casts a spell of magic, high stakes and intrigue against the backdrop of a very different Roaring Twenties.


Lee Kelly is the author of A CRIMINAL MAGIC and CITY OF SAVAGES. She has wanted to write since she was old enough to hold a pencil, but it wasn’t until she began studying for the California Bar Exam that she conveniently started putting pen to paper. An entertainment lawyer by trade, Lee has practiced in Los Angeles and New York. She lives with her husband and children in Millburn, New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter at @leeykelly and on her website at NewWriteCity.com.


Lee Kelly is offering two winners copies of both City of Savages AND A Criminal Magic! Pretty sure you should enter this giveaway.

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Top Ten Favorite Historical Settings

Posted February 1, 2016 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 25 Comments

 

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted over at the other blog I write for, The Broke and the Bookish.

This week we’re talking about our favorite historical settings in books! I love a good historical novel, and have found a few settings I just LOVE. I’ve also got a few settings on my list that I haven’t read about yet, but really want to.

 

1. The High Seas – Seriously, I’m a sucker for a pirate romance set on a rickety old ship in the middle of the ocean. This is definitely my favorite historical setting of all.

2. The Scottish (Medieval) Highlands – #1. The setting itself is beautiful. #2. The men that live in this setting are beautiful (love me some highlanders). #3. The accents.

3. Italy – Italy is beautiful, past and present. I love reading about ancient Rome, Venice (YES VENICE), Florence, etc. Take me away.

4. The South – This is a new one for me within the last 3-4 years or so. I love all those historic southern gothic novels! Super atmospheric.

6. Paris, France – The city of lights was shining bright back then, too!

7. Regency England – SUCH an elegant time. “World, I bestow upon you Pride & Prejudice.” – Jane Austen. What I Did for a Duke by Julie Anne Long is my favorite, plus I love Tessa Dare’s Castles Ever After series.

8. The American West – “Hey, cowboy. *wink*”

9. Atlantis – I want this. Anyone have any recs, or is this a rare setting?

10. WWII Europe – I don’t read as many books set during this time period, but I’ve read some pretty sweeping love stories of people on opposing sides falling in love, and I love those. I’ve also read some pretty inspirational stories from this time as well. It’s one we should never forget.

5. Victorian England – I’ve got a few books on my TBR that fit this category: the Wallflowers series by Lisa Kleypas and The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas.

What are some of your favorite historic settings? Do you have any recommendations for books you love that are set in any of my favorites?