expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>
Knowledge of our past is our inheritance. What we do with that knowledge will shape our destinies...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Blood Moon Blog Tour: Review + Guest Post

Today will everyone please welcome Teri Harman to the blog! She's the amazing writer of the new, bewitching novel, Blood Moon and is here to talk about book promotion, especially for a first time author.

Promoting a first book is an intimidating task. It’s hard to strike a balance between useful, effective advertising and blatant, shameless, annoying self-promotion. I have found that the best way to promote your first book is to get other people to do it for you.

1 – Get to know your local, independent bookseller

I know it’s all digital, all the time now, but a good Indie bookshop with employees who care about you and root for you can still have a huge impact on helping your first book succeed. Shop in the store, talk to the employees, get to know them and let them know what you are doing with your writing. Ask for advice – these people really know the book business.

2 – Have a blog/website with your name as the web address

Most of us have blogs now (if you don’t, start one now!). One small piece of advice that can make a huge difference is to have the name of your blog be YOUR NAME. Don’t try to come up with something clever or cute, just YOURNAME.wordpress.com or even better YOURNAME.com. If it already exists, use AUTHORYOURNAME.com. This makes it so much easier for people to find you in a web search. And you want it to be easy for people to find out about you and your new book.
Also, be sure your blog looks professional and is very easy to navigate. It should only take seconds for people to find out about your book and where to buy it.

3 – Do book reviews on your blog and/or participate in blog tours

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Follow Friday + Week 7 of Mermaid Challenge Reviews

Welcome to Week 7 of the Mermaid Lit Summer Reading Challenge! Below is my review for this week. If you have one of your own, feel free to link up with us and be sure to visit the others to see what they thought of their reads for this week! You may join the challenge anytime you like. See rules HERE. (Follow Friday below!)


Source
For the challenge this week, I read The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler.

I chose this one this week, at least in part, because I knew I was going to have a busy week and this was a quick, light read.

It's actually the kind of book I usually don't enjoy because it's very juvenile. The stakes aren't high, the problems aren't adult, etc. But, that said, for a middle-grade book, I actually did enjoy it. I found it to be funny and a very touching story.

Emily is twelve-years old and never knew her father. Her mother is deathly afraid of the water and they live on a houseboat that doesn't have a bathtub, so Emily has never been fully submerged in water. Finally she talks her mother into letting her take swimming lessons. To her horror, when she gets into the pool, her legs stick together and become a fin! Learning about her mer-heritage may be not only the key to who her father was, but who she may become.

As I said, the book was pretty good, even if it was in an after-school-special kind of way. I would recommend it to anyone who likes mermaids, middle-grade, family-centered mysteries, or just wants a light, fun beach read. 

Follow Friday


Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!


What is your preferred reading format? Hardcover, eBooks, paperback etc?

I don't think I have a preferred format. I've always loved books, but reading in e-book format is super convenient, and because e-readers have lighting behind them, it's more easily done in the dark than with regular books. So, I do a mixture of both print books and e-books. I definitely am not a fan of hard-covers, though. They are more difficult to keep open while reading and more difficult to cart around. So I guess my answer is that I read a mix of e-reads and paperbacks, unless it's a library book or something. :D (Sorry. Total spaz over here. :D)

So, which format do YOU prefer?









Thoughts for Thursday--Opposition

Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

This week's theme is opposition.
For opposition quotes from more fantastical sources, check out my other blog.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Crime Tidbit: Australia's Beaumont Children

Did you know...?
Source


That there is a famous missing children case in Australia that goes back to the '60s? 

Here in America, most people are fairly familiar with unsolved crimes in our own country that became media darlings, as well as the major serial killer cases that captivated the nation while they were happening. And then there are the world-famous cases like Jack the Ripper than everyone knows about. Yet, famous cases in other countries tend to elude us. I'm sure that's true of most people in their respective countries.

So, this famous case, the disappearance of the Beaumont children, happened in Australia in January of 1966. The three Beaumont children--Jane, age 9, Arna, age 7, and Grant, age 4--left their parents' house to go to the beach. Jane, the oldest, was to watch the two younger kids. They left home about ten and were to be back by noon. When 3 o'clock rolled around and they still hadn't returned, their mother called police.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday--Top 2013 Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Books I've Read So Far in 2013. All covers courtesy of goodreads.com unless otherwise posted.

Historical Tidbit: Idioms Caused by Viking Pirates

Do you know...?
Source


The origins of the phrase, Don't cut off your nose to spite your face?

This phrase is "used to describe a needlessly self-destructive over-reaction to a problem." (Source) This source has been around since as early as the 12th century and comes from many legends about women disfiguring their faces in order to preserve their sexual dignity.

The most well-known story is that of Saint Ebbe, the Mother Superior of the Coldingham monastery in Scotland. When the monastery got word that Viking pirates had landed on their shores and were ravishing the countryside, Ebbe gathered her nuns and told them to disfigure themselves in order to repel their would-be rapists. The residents of the monastery cut off their noses and upper lips as best they could. When the Viking raiders arrived, they were so disgusted that they didn't rape a single one of the nuns.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Mermaid Challenge Reviews, Week 6 + Follow Friday

I've added Bloglovin' to those who prefer it. Also remember, there's a free copy of my short story, The Hatching, to anyone who follows via email!
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Welcome to Week 5 of the Mermaid Lit Summer Reading Challenge! Below is my review for this week. If you have one of your own, feel free to link up with us and be sure to visit the others to see what they thought of their reads for this week! You may join the challenge anytime you like. See rules HERE. (Follow Friday below!)


Source
This week's mermaid-themed book was Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs. It was fabulous!

It's kind of funny because, in terms of genre, this book is everything I generally say I don't like in a book. The characters are teenagers, it's based around high school and boyfriend drama, and the stakes are, well, love, which is big, but not exactly life and death. Especially not when it's of the teenaged variety. 

That said, the protagonist in this book, Lily, is great! She manages to be a teenager, but extremely likable. She's hysterical! Totally self-centered, whiny, doesn't see the hot, sweet guy that's right in front of her, but you totally want to root for her anyway. She says things like:

"I mean, he has a special gifft for pushing my buttons. Too bad it's not a marketable skill." (pg. 148) and "Lord love a lobster, he has a beautiful chest. He's not body builder muscular, but clearly he's built enough to life whatever comes along." (pg. 82)

She uses a lot of fish/ocean/mere lingo. It would be over-the-top, except that it's so completely, endearingly incorporated into the character, that it works. In fact, it's charming. 

Don't get me wrong, this isn't a story of great originality and depth. It's really not much of a spoiler to say that this is a girl-likes-boy-that's-wrong-for-her-while-the-right-guy-fights-to-get-noticed-by-her story. Just one of those. A fun read that kept me turning pages and smiling the whole time.

If I had one complaint it's that it takes her sooooo long to clue into reality over the whole situation. I was fifty pages from the end and she was still sure she'd end up with the shallow guy she'd been crushing on for three years. And as far as reality goes, any sane girl would have left guy#1 for guy#2 after like, chapter 3. (I guess that was kind of two complaints, wasn't. it? Oh well.)

Overall, I really loved this book and want to read the sequel. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a light, fun, delightfully romantic summer read. It's all kinds of fishy fun. 


Has anyone else read Forgive My Fins? What did you think?

Follow Friday

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.

The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs!

How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!

Share your favorite literary quote! (There are too many great quotes from books to choose just one, so I went with one about literacy instead. I was lazy and used the same one on both my blogs, FYI)


Literacy is vital to democracy. For if the governed can neither understand their leaders nor distinguish truth from lies, then a democracy descends into oligarchy, a government by and for the elite few. --John Stauffer 

What's your favorite literary quote? 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Crime Tidbit: The Monster of Florence

Did you know...?
Source


That between 1968 and 1985, a barbaric killer stalked the countryside around Florence, claiming at least sixteen victims? The killer, who came to be known as the Monster of Florence has never been identified, though four different men were convicted of the murders at different times.

Though things might have changed today, but during the decades these murders took place there was a sub-culture at work in Italy that much of the rest of the world would have been unfamiliar with. In the Italy of that time, young women were not encouraged to be independent, at least not in their living situations. This was not a culture where a young woman, educated or not, went out and got her own place to live. She lived with her family until she got married, at which time she of course moved in with her husband. Because bachelor pads weren't en vogue either, young lovers wanting to engage in intimate relations had few places to go for privacy.

Obviously family homes were out of the question. Because of this, there was an entire sub-culture of young people parking their cars in the pastoral countryside at night and enjoying private time together. 

True Crime Book about murders
Source
It was this un-talked-about scene that the Monster of Florence patrolled. It would have been easy for him to locate victims; easy for him to stalk and watch them for hours before striking. Much like the also-unidentified Zodiac killer, Il Monstro attacked couples, but often showed more anger toward the female victims than the male ones, sometimes mutilating the female genitalia. One victimized couple were both men--most likely gay lovers--and while the killer showed great anger to the victim who may have looked more like a woman from a distance, this was also the only time the killer changed his MO, leading police to believe he was angry and disoriented upon finding that neither of his victims were women. In another instance, the male victim even survived.

Not all the murders took place in cars, but the MO was always similar enough for a connection. In most cases, both lovers were shot with a .22 beretta. Sometimes they were stabbed as well. 

In all those years, more than ten thousand people were interviewed, and various people arrested and charged with the crimes, but nothing ever panned out. Most often suspects were released because more murders happened while they were in custody. To this day, the killer has never been positively identified.

Have you ever heard of the Monster of Florence before? What do you think this killer's MO says about his psychology?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday--Top of the TBR Mountain

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Ten Books at the Top of my Summer TBR List (in no particular order). All covers courtesy of goodreads.com unless otherwise posted.


Books I Want to Read Before the Movies Come Out in the Fall:



10. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card--This is one classic I've just never gotten around to reading.





9. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare--I've said this before, but I feel like I'm the only person on earth who hasn't read Cassandra Clare. Definitely reading this one before seeing the film!




8. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins--Okay, I've read this one. It would be a re-read for me, but I feel like I've forgotten a lot so I'd like a refresher read before seeing the movie adaptation.





Books that have been sitting on my shelf/kindle forever that I just really hope to get to in the next couple of months:


7. Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer--Book 2 of this was nominated for a best historical award on goodreads.com last year, and I think the plot sounds amazing, so I want to read book 1 so I can get to book 2. :D




6. Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson--It's been on my kindle forever, and I hear it's great!





5. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss--Have seriously had this on my shelf for like seven years. Dah! Really need to read it before it decays!




4. The Last Waltz by G.G. Vandagriff--My sister read it and says it's the kind of story I'd really like. She would totally know!





As most of you know, I'm hosting the Mermaid Lit Summer Read-Along Challenge. (You can still join in if you're so inclined, by the way.) These are the next mermaid reads I'm most looking forward to:


3. Luminaire (Florence Waverly #2) by Ciye Cho--I just really liked the first one.




2. Mirage by Jenn Reese--Ditto #3.





1. Forgive my Fins by Tera Lynn Childs--I've just heard good things about the series.



What are YOUR top TBR reads for the summer?

Historical Tidbit: Ivan the Terrible and Elisabeth I

Did you know...
Source


That Ivan the Terrible of Russia proposed marriage to Elizabeth I of England? This may not mean much to most Americans today, but it should. 

Ivan was one of the most violent and notorious rulers in Eastern Europe, and most especially in Russia. Like Vlad the Impaler, he liked to find new and more interesting (read: disgusting) ways to kill his own people and delighted in bloodshed. He ran his relationships, his  household, and ultimately his country into the ground, dragging everything and everyone around him into his own pit of madness. 


Source
Now just imagine Elizabeth I had taken him up on that offer. What might an alliance with Russia have done to England. Elisabeth was on the throne for forty-five years and was the most progressive thinker of her era. She instituted the first law of freedom of religion in Europe and was a feminist before the word existed. Her reign brought a golden age for her country and her people, which came to (somewhat) of an end upon her death.

What does this have to do with America? 

Elizabeth, indirectly if not directly, affected the colonization of America. Many who'd been born during her reign were used to having religious freedom. When she died, James VI of Scotland became James I of England and reverted to the us-vs.-them, Catholic-vs.-Protestant mentality that existed before Elizabeth took the throne. Once you've known freedom, it's almost impossible to give it up. That was true of many English subjects and they came to America seeking the religious freedom they'd known under Elizabeth.


Source
So, if she'd married Ivan, how would history have been different? Chances were he would have found a way to taint both England and its queen. What if he had killed Elizabeth or refused to respect her policies of religious freedom? It would have changed the way in which America was colonized and who knows where we would be today?

Luckily, anyone who knows anything about Elizabeth Tudor knows that would never have happened. She was far too independent to let any man rule over her and she probably knew exactly who and what Ivan was, which means she was entirely too smart to entangle herself with him. 

Under Elizabeth, England flourished and became one of the top powers in the world. Under Ivan, Russia slid into darkness, chaos, and brutality, falling even farther behind the rest of the world than it already was.

So, how do YOU think the world would have been different if Elizabeth had married Ivan?

Citadels of Fire, Book 1 of Kremlins will be available in September 2013, courtesy of Jolly Fish Press.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Follow Friday + Week 5 of Mermaid Summer Reading Challenge

Welcome to Week 5 of the Mermaid Lit Summer Reading Challenge! Below is my review for this week. If you have one of your own, feel free to link up with us and be sure to visit the others to see what they thought of their reads for this week! You may join the challenge anytime you like. See rules HERE. (Follow Friday below!)


Source
The mermaid book I read this week is called Fathomless by Jackson Pearce. This is the first book I've ever read by Pearce, though I have her other two fairy tale retellings on my TBR list. 

And I gotta say, I LOVED this book!

I've been so impressed with the mermaid books I've read lately. So far they've all been creative, well-written takes on the legend. I've also been impressed at how well the authors incorporate aspects of the true mermaid legend that those who are only familiar with the Disney version wouldn't know, like that mermaids are supposed to get a human man to fall in love with them in order to win themselves a soul.

Well, this book went above and beyond. Pearce has a style of writing that is full of emotion. She hooks you right around the heart and makes you feel for the characters. More than any of the other mermaid books I've read, I was so invested in this story! Once I got to 2/3 of the way through it, I simply couldn't stop reading, and my heart really hurt for the characters.

This is written in a unique way as well. We get POVs from three characters, though its really only two people. I'm not gonna tell you why. It's a unique take on the mermaid legend that I couldn't even begin to explain, but whatever you're thinking from what I just said, I guarantee its more complicated than that.

And the climax of the story was so epic! Not only was plot and the action and the emotion at a high point, but there was a hurricane happening. The wind was blowing, people were shouting to be heard, there were monsters. It was fabulous! 

Anyway, can't wait to get my hands on Pearce's other novels now because if they're all as good as this one, she may just be my new favorite author of fairy tale retellings.

Has anyone else read Pearce? What do you think of her? (Remember to link up below if you have a mermaid review this week. :D)



***Hey Everyone, I have a new email form for those who would like to follow via email. Those who follow via email will get my short story, The Hatching, which usually sells on Amazon for $0.99 for FREE! If you are currently following via GFC, will you follow via Linky, Networked Blogs or email anyway? Thanks a ton! Happy Friday!*** 


Follow Friday

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.


The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs! 


How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!


Q: Activity: Spine Poetry. Create a line of poetry with your book spines (take a picture). Not feeling creative? Tell us about your favorite poem.



Fun question! These are some print books I've had stacked on my shelf for months (save the two mermaid titles which are relatively new) but haven't gotten to yet. So here's my poem (Disclaimer: I've never claimed talent in poetry!)

The name of the wind,
The fatal shore,
The first king of Shannara.
Insurgent, fathomless mirage.
Blood meridian?
Only time will tell.

How did everyone else do with their poems?

Thoughts for Thursday: Fathers

Thoughts for Thursday is a new meme hosted by Musings on Fantasia and LKHill.  In this meme, we share thoughts or quotes that we know or have recently come across. Each week there is a specific subject or theme. These can be quotes from books, quotes by famous people, (quotes by YOU, perhaps ;D). Anything from anywhere is game, though we do ask that you keep your quote to a few sentences at most. Don't quote, for example, entire passages of a book or essay. These can be funny quips, cool sayings, hair-raising antidotes, movie lines, any kind of quote you can think of!

Just have fun, collect awesome sayings by awesome people, and try to be inspired!

With this Sunday being Father's Day, I thought it appropriate that this week's theme be quotes about Fathers. (I chose green in honor of my father. It's his favorite color. ;D)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Crime Tidbit--Villisca Axe Murders (If creepy stories scare you, you may want to read this in daylight!)

Source
Have you ever heard the story of the Villisca Axe Murders committed in Iowa in 1912? It's a creepy, sinister story. *Warning: if you get scared reading creepy stories, maybe read this post in the daylight. You've been warned!!!*

In June of 1912, the Moore family, consisting of parents Josiah and Sarah and their six children, lived in the small town of Villsca, Iowa. They were well-to-do and well-liked in their community. On the night of June 9, two extra children from the community were invited to spend the night at the Moore house.

The next day, the neighbor noticed that there was no activity coming from the house. The Moores, like most of the small Iowa community, were early risers who had chores to take care of. They were generally scene moving around the house and yard quite early in the morning. When 7 a.m came and went, the neighbor became concerned knocked and the doors and windows, but received no answer. She let out the Moore's chickens and then called Ross Moore, brother to Josiah. Ross Moore came straight over and knocked on doors and windows but also received no answer. He used his copy of the house key to enter the residence and discovered the bodies of his brother, sister-in-law, their six children, and their two house guests. 

Source
All had been killed, shortly after midnight, by being bludgeoned with an ax. It appeared that all except one of the house guests, Lena Stillinger, were asleep when killed. Lena was found laying cross-wise on her bed, with a defensive wound on her arm. She probably awoke and tried to fight back.

The shocking murders were front-page news and over the next several months, a handful of viable suspects emerged, though none were ever convicted. The only clue to who the murderers were was two extinguished cigarettes found in the attic. None of the Moore's smoked. The town's peace officers believed that two assailants hid in the attic until everyone was asleep, then went downstairs. They used an ax that belonged to Mr. Moore himself to commit the murders, then disappeared into the night.

Suspects:

  • Andrew Sawyer was a transient who left town in a hurry the morning the bodies were discovered and remained obsessed with newspaper coverage of the murders and whether the police had any suspects.
  • George Kelly was an unbalanced minister and probably a pedophile. He and his wife left town the day after the murders. Kelly was tried twice for the crimes. One trial resulted in a hung jury; the other in acquittal.
  • Frank F. Jones was a townsman and prominent senator whom Mr. Moore had worked for for many years before leaving to start his own business. Mr. Moore took a great deal of business away from Jones, and Jones was quite bitter about it. Many historians believe he master-minded the murder, but hired others to actually carry it out.
  • William "Blackie" Mansfield was an unstable man who murdered his wife, child, and parents-in-law with an ax two years after the Villisca murders. He was also the prime suspect in several other ax murders that occurred up and down the Southern Pacific Railroad line. Detective James Wilkerson put together a case against him and brought it before the grand jury. Ultimately Mansfield was acquitted because he had an alibi, though the alibi was flimsy, there might have been political pressure involved and there was at least one witness who was supposed to testify that never showed up.
  • Henry Lee Moore was another suspected serial killer who killed his mother and grandmother with an ax only months after the Villisca murders. He was also a suspect in several of the other ax murder cases Mansfield was suspected in.
  • Sam Moyer (Josiah Moore's brother-in-law) often threatened to kill him, though an alibi exonerated him in the eyes of the law.
The investigation went on and on. No one was ever convicted and the case remains open. To this day, the Moore house still stands and is one of the most haunted houses in America. Children growing up in the house have testified to a dark energy centered in the attic and strange things happening in rooms when no one was in them.

I've always thought the image of the two smoking cigarettes in the attic was a creepy one. 

What do you think of this story? Who do YOU think is the most likely suspect?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Historical Tidbit--Crusade Alliances

Source

Did you know...

That for a very brief time period during the first crusade, Muslim and Jewish resistors briefly joined forces to defend Jerusalem against Christian crusaders?

Just a random factoid, but an interesting one. Those two groups are an odd pairing, especially considering the politics and social climate of the middle ages. 

It was a short-lived alliance, though. The crusaders breached the city after a two-week siege. Most of the Muslim soldiers fought to the death. For a long time, it was believed that the Jews were gathered into a synagogue (or went there voluntarily to prepare for death) and had the synagogue burned down around them. More recently found records indicate that, while the synagogue was burnt down, it was probably empty. Jewish prisoners were forced to clear the corpses from the city.

Still, it's an interesting story. You have to wonder how such different, feuding groups came to the decision to work together. How difficult was it for them? Did they abandon one another when the city fell, or continue to fight a losing battle? This would make interesting historical fiction, don't you think?

Would you read a historical story set against the backdrop of these events?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Follow Friday + Mermaid Challenge Review, Week 4

***Hey Everyone, I have a new email form for those who would like to follow via email. Those who follow via email will get my short story, The Hatching, which usually sells on Amazon for $0.99 for FREE! If you are currently following via GFC, will you follow via Linky, Networked Blogs or email anyway? Thanks a ton! Happy Friday!*** 

Welcome to Week 4 of the Mermaid Lit Summer Reading Challenge! Below is my review for this week. If you have one of your own, feel free to link up with us and be sure to visit the others to see what they thought of their reads for this week! You may join the challenge anytime you like. See rules HERE. (Follow Friday below!)


Source
This week I read The Forbidden Sea by Sheila A. Neilson. And once again, I am simply floored by how well-written a lot of these books are! I LOVED Forbidden Sea! It was delightful! 

So Adrianne is a fourteen-year-old girl who pretty much supports her entire, destitute family. Her father was killed several years ago in a tragic accident, and ever since then, she's been running the household. She looks after her broken soul of a mother, her sweet--if a bit spoiled at times--younger sister, and her mean-tempered Auntie who she can never seem to please.

Meanwhile, she's crushing hard on the boy who's been her best friend since they were both teeny-boppers, but who sees her as a friend and sister. At the beginning, her younger sister Cecily, after learning that the family can no longer afford to feed their dog and must sell the animal, runs away to the sea to cry and gets herself caught on some dangerous rocks in a storm. Adrianne is the only one who knows her sister well enough to find her, and when she does, she is attacked by a beautiful mermaid that leaves a scar on Adrianne's wrist. 

The rest of the novel is her hearing the mermaid call to her from the sea and avoiding her fate with terror. Something similar happened to a young woman of legend a hundred years before, and she was never seen again. Adrianne has no plan to share that woman's fate. Meanwhile, she's picked on by the rich of the island who look down on her for her poverty, all while fighting to feed her family and keep her Auntie's constant ire from coming down on her. Denn, her crush, often stands up to her, but never in a way that spells romance.

I found this story to be refreshing. It totally kept my attention. I empathized so much with Adrianne. Hers is the plight of any young woman struggling to shoulder a burden too heavy for her shoulders, all while feeling worse than invisible--like the ugly duckling that people can't help but notice. In a bad way. Meanwhile, her young girl heart still dreams of the boy she likes. And now she's got a mermaid after her! 

I pretty much read this in one sitting. I started reading it one day, but only got about twenty pages through it. The next day, I sat down to read...and finished it. Just totally loved this book. It was so touching and well-written that I even got misty-eyed a few times. It's especially surprising that I connected with the main character so much because generally I prefer adult characters to YA ones, but I loved this girl! 

Overall, I totally loved this book. I would recommend it absolutely anyone who is looking for a great read.

*Remember to put your URL in the linky if you did a mermaid review this week!

Has anyone else read The Forbidden Sea? What did you think of it? What other mermaid novels have you read lately?



Follow Friday

Gain new followers and make new friends with the Book Blogger Feature & Follow! If this is your first time here, welcome! You are about to make some new friends and gain new followers -- but you have to know -- the point of this hop is to follow other bloggers also. I follow you, you follow me.


The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. Each host will have their own Feature Blog and this way it'll allow us to show off more new blogs! 


How does this work? First you leave your name here on this post, (using the linky tools -- keep scrolling!) then you create a post on your own blog that links back to this post (easiest way is to just grab the code under the #FF picture and put it in your post) and then you visit as many blogs as you can and tell them "hi" in their comments (on the post that has the #FF image). You follow them, they follow you. Win. Win. Just make sure to follow back if someone follows you!


Q: Have you broken up with a series? If so which one and why.


Source
You know, I can't think of one. I know when I was in high school and got really into high fantasy, I picked up a few off the shelf, and didn't even finish them because they turned out to be thinly disguised porn. But I don't remember what they were.

Other than that, I don't think I have. Not lately, anyway. I have a bit of a completion complex. If I like the first book in a series enough to finish it, I'll probably end up reading the entire series sooner or later. Neurotic? Yeah, probably. But it's okay. I don't mind. :D



(After writing the above, I thought of one. I'm not sure it counts just because I actually read the entire trilogy, but I freaking hated the Millenium trilogy (i.e. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). I enjoyed the whodunit of book 1, and read the 2nd and 3rd books hoping it would get better. I was immensely disappointed in the end of book 3. I felt like the author set us up for something and then changed his mind twenty pages before the end. So, if you can break up with a series after having read the whole thing, I'd go with that one. (Yet another example of my completion complex.) :D

How about you? What series have YOU broken up with lately?

Fast and Furious 6 Movie Review

Fast and Furious 6

Source
I also saw Fast and Furious 6 this weekend. Let me say up front that I didn't think this film was quite as good as the last, but that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it. :D The latest installment of the adventures of the gang that crashes sweet cars was about what you'd expect: fast-paced, fun, and full of adrenaline. I read an article in EW Magazine about how this is the most unlikely of franchises. Why? Because it's completely unapologetic about what it is. And it doesn't pretend to be anything but a superficial action film about muscle cars and the dare devils that drive them. Yet, everybody loves these films! (Don't worry: I include myself in that group.) But why do we love them? Probably lots of reasons, but mostly I think it's just refreshing to have something unpretentious and unapologetic about what it is. It's for fun; nothing more!

We open with Dom (Vin Diesel) and Brian (Paul Walker)and their crew in different parts of the world, living the high life after getting away with a crap-load of money at the end of Fast Five. Federal Agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) seeks them out to help him catch another crew that's wreaking havoc that he hopes they can help catch. A crew that may or may not house a former member of their own crew previously thought dead. (Michelle Rodriguez) To be completely honest, I thought the set-up at the beginning of this film was a bit hokey. (Not that I expected all kinds of depth and realism. Who am I kidding, right? But still!) I didn't mind the whole FBI asking them for help thing. It's not uncommon to call in experts to consult on such things, no matter which side of the law they're on, but in reality, they would have been just that: consultants. In this, they're treated almost like cops themselves. As in: go get 'em, guys! And as I said, I never expected extreme realism, but I would have liked it if it were at least addressed.

Source
After the initial set-up, though, things get good fast. Lots of fast cars, lots of cool chases. I actually really liked the way they handled the Dom/Leddy story. My sisters didn't particularly like it. They hoped she was still undercover and protecting the old team. Sorry for the slight spoiler, but that's not the explanation they go with. I won't say what it is, but I actually thought it was kind of original. Risky, but they pulled it off. 

There was plenty of comedy (especially using the camaraderie of the crew playing off and razing one another). Memorable line: "" I really hope not all guys need to be shot at to take the  hint! They also threw a little bit of tragedy in at the end, which I thought added depth. 

Overall, is this film overly concerned with reality? Um...no. (This won't make sense until you see the film, but can we all say convenient bridge-catch and 50-mile runway?) But it's fun, fast-paced, and definitely gets your adrenaline pumping. One of my sisters said she wanted to go out and do something bad and rebellious after seeing it. The other one wanted to go running to rap music. Me? I just felt the urge to sit down and write an awesome action scene. :D (Our personalities didn't show through on that one at all, did they?) 

As has become the custom over the past few films, they add in a little kicker at the very end to set up for the next film. Being film 6, this is being called the unofficial end of the second Fast and Furious trilogy, but from what I understand, our pal Vinnie is all for making more trilogies. As long as the films continue to do well, I'm sure we'll see more of them, which is just fine with me. :D

Has anyone else seen this film? What did you think?