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Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Things on my Bookish Bucket List


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List (could be blogging related, book related etc. — meeting authors, reading x many books per year, finishing a daunting book, etc.)


1. Read all of the books that I own! I have a HUGE problem with buying books and then I get a huge stack and… it’s never ending.

2. Meet Maggie Stiefvater. I just want to meet her and have her sign my Raven Boys books and thank her for Ganseyyyyy.

3. Buy my favorite ARCs. I feel bad that I almost never buy finished copies of ARCs that I love. I mean, I HAVE, but not many. I always want to though, but then I tell myself to buy something that I haven’t read so… hopefully someday I can flesh out this collection a bit.

4. Re-read The Raven Boys at least once a year. So far I am totally winning this.

5. Go to BEA. Now that I’m going back to the USA this seems like something I could totally do!


1. I am going on a book ban starting April and ending the 1st of June (post to come on that), so I am going to be updating bi-weekly on the progress of that. April is when all my exams are happening, May I have visitors the whole month, and I challenged myself to read 15 of my own books (excluding ARCs). I think I might fail. The bucket list item is really I just want to see (and record) how long I can go without buying a book. ūüôā

2. Meet Marissa Meyer. She’s come to Toronto twice and both times she has come I have been unable to make it out to one of her signings and it makes me horribly sad.

3. Clear out at least 5 chubby books (over 500+ pages) because damn, I have quite a few on my shelf like Eon, The Count of Monte Cristo, nearly all my adult fantasy novels… yeah, chubby books are hard.

4. Clear out at least five non-ARC books off my Kindle. I have so many not ARCs on my Kindle that keep getting pushed back and it breaks my heart. I just got Gail Carriger’s “Crudrat” on my Kindle (from kickstarting the audio book) and I LOVE her books, but ARCs keep taking priority and it makes me unhappy some days. ūüė¶

5. Run some giveaways on the blog. I am working on the first one still and it’s more of that I haven’t had the time to sit down and put the post and contents together thanks to a different kind of bookish giveaway I will be doing over at RPGamer in the upcoming weeks. I think we may definitely do Contemporary Summer Fling again with a giveaway. That was such a fun experience. ‚̧


TTT – Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

Sam’s Top Five

1. I never used to be a hardcore blogger, but I’ve always been a writer in a lot of ways. Unlike most of my friends who focus on fiction writing, I’ve often focused my attention to the technical side of writing, and I’ve done Games Journalism for the last six years of my life. Blogging is such a different experience because it’s a much more personal experience, and I get to be myself and actually use *I* without freaking out because it’s the golden no no in journalism. The personal side makes me feel a bit more comfortable, and it’s a comfort I’ve needed for a long while. I’ve always been a hardcore reader, though, which I’m sure scares a lot of people considering how fast I can devour a book.

2. I get to meet others who have similar interests. I’ve really enjoyed talking to and meeting a lot of other bloggers who have similar interests. I love been active in other people’s projects, and it was a real treat last year to participate in Austen in August Over @ The BooK Rat . It was nice to get out of my comfort zone and participate in something bloggish that wasn’t just for me.

3. Book Clubs! I LOVE them. I miss having a physical book club, but I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the three clubs that I associate with: Book Club Fiction (over @livejournal, where I mod), WednesdayYA Book Club (hosted by @The Book Rat and @lizpatanders), and The Back Seat Book Club (hosted by the Backseat Producers, I’m often on the podcasts for this frequently). I just love talking about books I’ve read and it’s great to talk to people who are equally passionate readers/bloggers.

4. I love discovering new authors. I think it’s insanely important to diversify what you read, so I try never to stick to a genre. I love seeing what other bloggers are reading and championing, so often make a lot of mental notes to check out what folks are into.

5. River — if it wasn’t for River, I don’t think I’d ever get back into blogging the way I have. It really is thanks to her and her encouragement that I am able to do this, and I love that she doesn’t judge me for who I am as a reader or my crazy ideas and long ass e-mails of rambling fangirlisms. She really keeps my reading life informed and always entertaining, so thanks River!

Plus, we have our cult of Maggie. Raven Boys 4 Evar. *ultra gangsta pose*

River’s Top Five

1. Reader — It makes me feel smart! This is probably so sad, but reading just makes me feel smart. I’m not really that good at keeping up with politics or pop culture and whenever I’m in a group of my husband’s colleagues who are all researchers and computer scientists I can’t help but feel like the least intelligent one in the group. So when Husband brags to them about how much I read (and write) I feel like wow, I’m not doing too bad. I also learn a lot from reading, which helps with the feeling smart part.

2. Blogging — It keeps me writing. I’ve been a writer since I was in 2nd grade (when I wrote my first series: an illustrated collection of short stories about my dog & my uncle’s dogs’ adventures). When I moved to Japan I lost focus on my fiction writing, but then I started a fashion/lifestyle blog and that really kept my writing skills sharp (it also helped me get some magazine articles published). So even though I’m not always working on my novel (which I know, I should, I should) at least blogging and writing reviews keeps my fingers on the keyboard.

3. Reader — Inspiration! As I said, I’m a writer, but I have the WORST writing habits. I’m a big ‘inspiration’ writer and often find myself pounding out the words after having read something ahhhhhmazing. So I feel like I’m always on a quest for inspiration through reading.

4. Blogging — Connecting with new people! I love love LOOOOVE how close Sam and I have gotten since I dragged her into this blog madness. I mean, we’ve always been friends (known each other for years! Used to hang out at Borders when she’d visit Michigan back in the day) but after moving to Japan I let A LOT of things slide… friendships included. Blogging (about books) has really brought me closer to a lot of people and I hope that I can keep making great connections! Especially when I move to the USA. (Anyone from Boston????)

5. Reading — I’m NEVER bored. I… get bored easily. I often lose interest in things half way (another one of my bad writing habits) ¬†and find myself jumping from one thing to another. But when I’m reading I can just relax and focus and de-stress. I take my kindle or a book with me EVERYWHERE so if I’m ever stuck waiting (or trapped on the train for TWO AND A HALF HOURS like last weekend oh god) I’ll have something to do with that time.

TTT – Top Ten Books That Will Make You Swoon


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Swoon Worthy Books

River’s Top Five

So I’m a big fan of books with romance in them, but it’s not enough just to stick two characters together. I have to actually FEEL it. It has to be real. I have to smile and laugh and sometimes even blush along with them. I also want to fall in love along side the MC. So here are some books where I felt that I was falling in love…
1. Unravel Me by¬†Tahereh Mafi — While I might not be the biggest fan of this series, I do love Mafi’s writing and even though Warner is an awful person, he is at least a good awful person. And he TALKS to Juliet. I ranted about this in my review, but my biggest problem with ‘team Adam’ is that he is all action, not talk. Warner is both talk AND steamy action. Let’s just say reading THAT scene on the train ride home from work was a bit embarrassing…
2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins — The part where Anna stays at school during vacation and St. Claire and her innocently sleep next to each other fully clothed was the most swoon-y part of that book for me. I just loved how innocent but intense it was.
3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell — EVERYTHING OKAY. This entire book made me swoon. Happy sighs and OMGGGGGGGS all around. I think my favorite part was when they first held hands. Totally made me remember the first time I held hands with someone.
4. The Dream Thieves by Maggie¬†Stiefvater — I’m torn between the kiss and the hug on the side of the road. I loved the kiss, LOVED IT. So bittersweet. I loved how the two of them grew closer because of it. BUT THE HUG ON THE SIDE OF THE ROAD BESTILL MY HEART.
5. The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead — This entire book was sexual tension between Adrian and Sydney from the VERY START. I love how FUNNY their evolution was. I remember laughing over everything, it was just so cute and so THEM. Seeing Adrian happy was really great.
Sam’s Top Five
I love a good romance, but like River, it has to be believable. There’s nothing that grinds my gears more then couples being smushed together because of insta-love or “because fans said so.” A good romance should make you care about the characters and what you are reading and the five I’ve selected I feel do exactly what I like best in a romance.
1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell — Did I mention I have a huge love for Cath and Levi? I love the fact that they have such an awkward meeting yet they grow to be friends first, slowly moving into that stage of a new relationship. I love that Levi takes a chance in understanding where Cath is coming from, even if he didn’t understand it right away. This relationship reminded me a bit of how I met my soon-to-be-husband — we were lab partners in college in a horrible 8am class, and the rest was history… if you count “So if you’re not a lesbian or a pedophile let’s go on a date sometime?” and *SLAP!*
2. Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff — Lesh and Svetlana are truly adorable in how they interact with each other. They both know their oddballs and that really translates into a lot of the discussions and interactions they have. While I won’t spoil too much of this book as it’s not out yet, let’s just saying the last forty pages or so really sealed their relationship for me. They take so many chances but have so many realistic fears about relationships, and I loved that about both characters!
3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein — KISS ME HARDY! Easily one of the tough reads I’ve ever encountered, the romance in this book isn’t exactly the highlight of the story, but DAMN is it swoon worthy.
4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins — I was a HUGE sucker for this book and Lola and the Boy Next Door. There was so much charm in both books, but I feel like Anna gets the edge because her and St. Claire were surprising sweet a lot of the time. They have real couple problems, they don’t like each other right away, and the have a romance that grows and develops. Plus, it’s hard not to fall for St. Claire, that cheeky bastard. *fans self*
5. The Sight Seer by Melissa Giorgio — Before anyone says I’m cheating, I’m NOT! I have the biggest love for Gabi and Rafe’s relationship. There’s chemistry between the two of them, there’s a ton of humor, and what I love the most is that Gabi is the aggressor in the relationship. I mean that completely lovingly since Rafe is completely the boy you can take home to mom and know that he’d fit in, but Gabi is crazy, and she’s the fun kind. The writing in this series is just so fun and their interactions always end up being my favourite, especially in the Indiana Rafe story from¬†An Autumn Dream.¬†I snicker EVERY TIME I read about Gabi abusive shoving groceries into the customer’s bag while Rafe and Evan run a muck.

TTT – Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Books That Will Make You Cry

River’s top five

For me, I usually cry about a book when it’s especially moving or touching. Sad things do make me cry, but it has to be a huge, emotional gut punch for me to tear up about it. So most of my picks probably wont make you cry because they’re sad, but more because they just moved me in some way.

1. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare — Not only was this the last book, BUT PEOPLE I REALLY LOVED DIED. God the ending, I just sobbed through it. Just laid there in my bed and sobbed. Also the way things were wrapped up, what Tessa had to live through, her continued friendship with Magnus… omg I’m getting goosebumps even thinking about it.

2. Golden by Jessi Kirby — This book moved me in so many ways. I just kept becoming so overwhelmed with emotions and couldn’t help tearing up. Too many feels. Too many beautiful words. It was just a lot.

3. Marley & Me by John Grogan — It’s a dog book! About a hilarious dog. Who gets old and dies. How could I not cry?! Tears of laughter, tears of understanding, tears of happiness, tears of saddness. (I sobbed through the movie too).

4. A Separate Peace by John Knowles — This is one of my favorite books and just… everything. Especially when one of the main characters dies. And how the narrator feels about it and why he did what he did and ugh. Tears.

5. The Scorpio Races by Maggie¬†Stiefvater — OVERWHELMED BY FEELS. Nothing sad, just omg feels. The way things ended, the winner of the race, the relationship that came about… and the horses. Especially the horses. I cried for them all because it was all just so beautiful.

Sam’s top five

I admit, I’m a wuss and a crybaby. It’s so easy to make me cry, and I’m not sure if this is just because as I’ve gotten older I’m sucker or what. Who knows! But here’s a five books that just make me cry. There’s no order to this list.

1) The One, the Only, Ivan by Katherine Applegate – A middle grade book about a talented, yet caged¬†gorilla. Everything about this book, from it’s wonderful characters, to it’s heartbreaking conclusion is just sob worthy. The prose is also SO LOVELY that it’s sob worthy.

2) Elanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell – You know when a book starts with a couple not getting to be together that it’s going to rip your heart out. After meeting Rainbow in person, I told her she ripped my heart out with this book. She laughed in my face.

3) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta – There were a few parts of this book that just completely gutted me, and the mystery within the story is so compelling and when you get to the climax, the reveal, it’s just, I can’t even.

4) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – Words to describe this book, ummm… destructive? Emotionally draining? Heartbreaking? Yeah, this book is one that hurts and is totally written for those of us who cry on a dime. The story is excellent and clever, but emotions! So many!

5) The Newsflesh Series by Mira Grant – Best zombie book series ever. It’s emotionally investing and draining. The characters just make you feel so damn invested, and I love this series. I can reread it and I will still have the same emotions I had the first time I read it.

TTT – Top Ten Worlds I’d Never Want To Live In / Characters I’d NEVER Want To Trade Places With


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.

Top Ten Worlds I’d Never Want To Live In OR Top Ten Characters I’d NEVER Want To Trade Places With

River’s top five

1. The Newsflesh series by Mira Grant — guys, if you know me, you KNOW I am deathly, terribly, horribly pee-my-pants-scared of zombies. It is literally my biggest fear in life (yes, I am being serious). In order to face my fears (because, how dumb am I?) Sam kindasorta forced me to read this series and holy. shit. I had some nightmares. This is my nightmare world.

2. Rowan from Me Since You by¬†Laura Wiess — This book broke my heart and I would wish Rowan’s situation on no one.

3. Monument 14 by¬†Emmy Laybourne — If the zombie apocalypse doesn’t happen first, then this is how I imagine the world ending. Giant balls of ice falling from the sky. Huge earthquakes. Loss of power. And then add in a government experiment leaking out (not zombies) into the world turning people into monsters (not zombies). Yeah, the world in this book… not something I’d ever like to experience.

4. Fia in Mind Games by Kiersten White — I love Fia, but I would NOT want to be her. I wouldn’t want to be inside of her mind, or do the things that she does. I also wouldn’t want to feel the way she does when she goes against her perfect intuition.

5. Not a Drop to Drink by¬†Mindy McGinnis¬†— NO WATER. This world was gritty and just, no thank you. I enjoy turning on the tap and having the water come out. I enjoy buying a bottle of water on a hot day for a buck fifty. I’ve lived through enough Michigan winters to know what it’s like to NOT have water and no, no thank you.

Sam’s top five

1. Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami — while it’s not a YA or MG choice, this is one of my favourite novels and it’s one that is in the mind of one man living in two different worlds… did I mention both worlds suck? Hardboiled Wonderland is a world where people are constantly on the run, fearing technology and other worldly disturbances, while End of the World is nomadic, desolate and malicious. Both worlds focus on the isolation of the protagonist, but they never give the reader a sense that either world is, in fact, ideal to live in. Having mentioned this book again, I feel like a reread is in order because it is SO AWESOME.
2. The Rule of Three by Eric Walters — Walter’s most recent novel exploits one of my greatest fears — a world without power. Not mental power, but electricity. Considering how much we depend on power for heating, air conditioning, to power our various needs (computers, internet, etc) it’d be terrifying in this day and age to live without it considering how spoiled a lot of us are by it. I don’t know if I could trade places with Adam and Todd and survive because admittedly I love my comforts of home. But of all the worlds I’ve recently read about, this one in particular sticks out in my mind because it has the most possibility of actually happening.
3. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami — Let’s face it, no one wants to live in a dystopian society where you’re asked to murder your fellow classmates on live television. For all of Shuya Nanahara’s troubles, he’s forced to witness the deaths of many of his friends and classmates in a deadly game presented by a hype Confucianist/Tyrannical society, and he is forced to relive memories of what made those people so good, yet do such dastardly things for the sake of survival. ¬†The Hunger Games really has nothing on this novel.
4. Any Heroine in a Courtney Summers novel, but particularly Regina in “Some Girls Are” — Let’s face it, Courtney Summers writes some of the ugliest girls in YA and does it with intense ease… it’s kind of terrifying really. Regina’s clique in “Some Girls Are” is probably one of the scariest I’ve ever read about in a novel because they come across fearless, unafraid of consequences, showing no signs of remorse. Regina when she leaves the clique really has her hands full, and for all the torment and fighting back, you get an ending in this novel that is just really unnerving. Anna Morrison (leader of the Fearsome Five) is legitimately one of the scariest girls I’ve ever read about.
5. Gotham City from Batman — I am huge Batman fangirl, but I never ever would want to live in Gotham. Gotham is one of the darkest cities to grace fiction and it’s one full of demons, ghouls, psychopaths and sociopaths, and yet it’s a world I always come back to because it gives me the chills. I’d never want to be in Bruce Wayne’s shoes because every day always feels like it could be the last — you never know who might try to take you down. It’s hard in some ways, because every author who takes on Batman has a unique way of showcasing Gotham but lately I’ve had a lot of love for Scott Snyder’s interpretation because it’s a genuinely horrifying version of Gotham. He treats it like there’s no escape, and that gives me the chills.

TTT – Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish.  

Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist (if you could make authors write about these things you would. Could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.)

River’s top five

1. Accurate foreign settings¬†– None of this ‘I googled all my info’ shit. Or ‘I ~lived~ there for a few months’. I ABHOR books that are written with a foreign setting that are clearly half done. Most of the time the author has the street level facts correct (anyone can google and zoom on google maps) but things always go WAY too well for our MC. Especially books set in Japan. These are the ones that grate on me the most. I want to see some culture shock. I want to see the actual struggles that foreigners (usually in the case of YA, young white girls from the USA) go through when they get taken out of their comfort zone and put into a foreign setting.

2.¬†Male POV – I really love books told from the male POV. But most of the time the ones that I’ve read feel forced. I’m not saying that female writers can’t write a convincing male voice, but most of the time it’s like a few ‘bros’ and ‘dudes’ and references to their genitalia is enough to write a convincing male voice. And it’s not.

3. Less ‘slept with a guy once, didn’t use protection, oops havin’ a baby’ more ‘I made bad choices and I accept this… it happens’ plots¬†– Guys, I know how reproduction works. I know that it ‘only takes once’. And while I really don’t like pregnancy stories, I cannot stand the ones where the MC got pregnant after having unprotected sex just once. I know that this is done so the MC doesn’t look like a slut and can keep some of her innocence intact/ make it seem even more like an accident, but it drives. me. crazy. Maybe because it just feels too forced. I want the MC to own up to their bad choices.

4.¬†Space pirates – HAHA! I’m totally copying Sam on this, but I love space, I love pirates. I love sexy swashbuckling men owning their space ship being all sassy and… okay I love Firefly. I don’t want copies of Firefly, but this theme is great.

5. Bff stories РEspecially male/female friendships! And not always ones that lead to romantic relationships. One of the things that I adored in the Under the Never Sky trilogy was the relationship between Aria and Roar. I loved their strong friendship and how it never turned into a love triangle. I would LOVE more of this.


Sam’s top five

1. Cancer Stories Done Right – One of my biggest issues with a lot of books (YA and not) is that they often don’t try to strengthen their characters who have cancer or an illness. They often get written with this mentality that “omg my life is over,” which yes can be a real possibility, but why does it have to be? Why can’t we have characters who suffer from cancer and who have kick ass attitudes on how to cope with it? I mean, most cancer patients attempt to live a normal life, regardless of what stage they are, so why do we keep going back to this “woes me” characterization? I don’t like it personally, and I find as a reader who has a parent with cancer that a lot of the time it’s unrealistic for me.
2. Space Pirates / Sky Pirates – I just love the idea of sky/space pirates.Then again, I may just be a huge fan of pirates. Yar. Also space ships and air ships are always huge pluses in my books!
3. A genuinely ugly boy/girl – If there’s one YA stereotype I hate it’s the “super hot girl who doesn’t know she’s hot and tries to play it off like she’s not” card. It’s awful and unrealistic – don’t do it. When I say ugly, I mean ugly personality or even just unattractive. The reason I love Courtney Summers’ books is that she writes these ugly girls who think they are hot but totally are not – they are ugly, malicious, and just plain awful.Not every boy/girl is going to be super attractive, and I just hate that whole “I’m not pretty but omg boy has insta-love feelings for me.” I just find it frustrating.
4. More circus stories – maybe this is just more of a personal preference, but as much as I hate clowns, I LOVE the circus.I love the positive energy circus’ provide – the thrill, the daring, the exciting, the fun.I just adore it!
5. Alien stories with actual aliens, not hot boys posing as aliens – I like alien stories and I feel like they always get toned down in YA because it’s always a boy who is SUPERHOT who looks human and isn’t, instead of like, an actual alien. I wasn’t fond of <i>I Am Number Four</i> for this reason, though I understood why the author chose that method. I dunno, I just want less hot boy aliens and more Farscape style aliens.


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read so far in 2013

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

So at the start of 2013 I had decided that this was THE YEAR OF READING or something like that. And now I’m up to 56 books and the year is only half over. I’ve read A LOT of really amazing books, and I’m proud to say that I’m even branching out a bit! Picking my top 10 was super easy because there have honestly been a lot of great books, but only a few have made the ‘mind blowing’ cut. So here are my top 10 books that I’ve read this past year. I HIGHLY¬†recommend¬†them ALL!

anna and the french kissmindgames
Anna and the French Kiss — Stephanie Perkins
This book has ALL. THE. FEELS. omg and it was the inspiration for my current novel!

Mind Games — Kiersten White
I know that this book has gotten a lot of negative reviews, but I thought it was amazing. I loved the prose and the flashbacks. I loved the sisters and how fucked up everything was. I can’t wait for the next one!!!

Clockwork Princess — Cassandra Clare
Best read of the year HANDS DOWN. Best end of to a series EVER. I basically sobbed hysterically through the last like. 100 pages. So many emotions. If I think about it too much I STILL tear up.

Golden — Jessi Kirby
My first Jessi Kirby book and I was blown away. The story, the writing. Everything was perfect and beautiful.

Monument 14¬†— Emmy Laybourne
Amazing end-of-the-world survival book. Great characters and gripping story! So much love for this book, and Max!!! Never have I read such an amusing young child in a book before, oh god.

Dangerous Girls — Abigail Haas
I read this week ago and I STILL can’t wrap my head around the ending. Mind-fucking-blowing.

Fangirl — Rainbow Rowell
Emergency Kanye Dance Party. Need I say more?

Also Known As — Robin Benway
A sassy, witty, HILARIOUS teenage spy?!?! Maggie is my new FAVORITE YA heroine.

Through the Ever Night — Veronica Rossi
Such an amazing follow up to UNDER THE NEVER SKY. I am DYING for the next one now!!!

Smart Girls Get What They Want — Sarah Strohmeyer
This book was SO much fun. I loved the friendships, the humor, the families… just everything.

Have you read any of these? Were they top favs too???