Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tuesday Intros No. 11: The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, by Katarina Bivald

Welcome to First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros,
hosted by Diane @

Every Tuesday, each participant
shares the first paragraph 
(sometimes two) from a book
they're reading,
or thinking about reading.

The book I've picked this week is...

 The Readers of Broken Wheel
Katarina Bivald
Translated from Swedish by Alice Menzies 
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
Sourcebooks Landmark
January 19, 2013
Bibliophilia, Contemporary Fiction,
Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction


About the Book
Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory.

All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

Books 1 - Life 0

The strange woman standing on Hope's main street was so ordinary it was almost scandalous. A thin, plain figured dressed in an autumn coat much too gray and warm for the time of year, a backpack lying on the ground by her feet, an enormous suitcase resting against one of her legs. Those who happened to witness her arrival couldn't help feeling it was inconsiderate for someone to care so little about their appearance. It seemed as though this woman was not the slightest bit interested in making a good impression them. 

Her hair was a nondescript shade of brown, held back with a carelessly placed hair clip that didn't stop it from flowing down over her shoulders in a tangle of curls. Where her face should have been, there was a copy of Louisa May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Girl.  

I was at good ol' Barnes & Noble this past weekend, and this book immediately caught my eye. I love that cover! I glanced through it briefly, but didn't buy it. I was trying to be "good", since I had just spent my money on two books.....However, the memory of this novel has been torturing me since then, so I've looked it up on Amazon, and will order it as soon as my next paycheck arrives!
(I really don't need to ask if I should keep reading it because I definitely will!)

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Cozy Book Corner No. 7: Twilight-Inspired Book Covers for Classics

Welcome to my Monday 
bookish feature!

In each weekly post, I explore 
my thoughts on several 
book-related topics.

There is a series of five classics -- four novels and one play -- with covers that were 
supposedly inspired
by those of The Twilight Saga.
They were produced by Harper Teen, beginning 
from 2009 to 2011. They were meant to attract 
young adult audiences to the 
perennial classics of English Literature.

Some people were not very happy 
when these editions were published.
They somehow considered it insulting
that time-honored classics should have to be promoted under the Twilight banner.

I honestly don't see what all the fuss is about.
These covers are absolutely gorgeous!

So here they are -- "The Twilight Classics"!






These covers are very, very beautiful!!  
I can't say it enough!
The colors are indeed similar to those in 
The Twilight Saga's four volumes,
except for the rather obvious fact that 
the color green is not much in evidence
on the Twilight covers. 
If the same artist designed these,
as well as the Twilight ones, 
then it stands to reason that there would be 
some similarity of style.  
Well, there's nothing wrong with that!

If the publishers wanted a "similar look"
when they commissioned the covers 
for the classic novels, 
with the purpose of attracting a teen audience, 
I for one think this is a wonderful idea!
After all, these five books are love stories,
with the sole exception of Wuthering Heights,
which is really a tale of misplaced revenge. 
(The only thing I love about that book is the cover...)
Does putting such covers on these classics
mean that Twilight is on an equal 
literary footing with them?
Well, that's a loaded question...
If one looks at the writing styles in which 
the listed classics were written,
and compares them with the prose 
of The Twilight Saga, then obviously not.
However, if one looks at the dynamics of the plots
of these books, and the Twilight books,
one can't help but notice that 
the characters and events in all of them 
evoke some very, very similar
emotions.  They all touch the heart.  They all provide
that powerful catharsis present in all 
great literature, the grand drama that stirs the 
emotions, thus changing the reader forever.
These books all possess that elusive quality
that makes them timeless.
Is The Twilight Saga already a timeless classic?
Without a doubt.

So I am very pleased and happy that these 
five classic novels now have cover
 designed in this style.
Whether or not it's similar to that
of the Twilight books, it's still quite fitting.
Love, after all, has always been linked 
to the color red,
especially in such flowers as roses and tulips.

Of course, I am collecting all of these books, 
not only for the covers, but 
for what is contained within each book.
(This is not the case with Wuthering Heights,
however. I only like the cover of this book.)

The only classic I'm missing at this point is
Sense and Sensibility, but it won't be 
for long... it's in my Amazon 
Wish List, waiting for me to bring it home
with one swift click! 

What are your thoughts 
on this topic?
What do you think of these covers?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Tuesday Intros No. 10: The Deadly Sisterhood, by Leonie Frieda

Welcome to First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros,
hosted by Diane @

Every Tuesday, each participant
shares the first paragraph 
(sometimes two) from a book
they're reading,
or thinking about reading.

The book I've picked this week is...

 The Deadly Sisterhood: A Story of
Women, Power, and Intrigue
in the Italian Renaissance 
Leonie Frieda
Hardcover, 379 pages
HarperCollins Publishers 
April 2, 2013
Biography, Feminism, History,  
Nonfiction, Politics


About the Book
The book is one of drama on a grand scale, a Renaissance epic, as Christendom emerged from the shadows of the calamitous 14th century. The sweeping tale involves inspired and corrupt monarchs, the finest thinkers, the most brilliant artists, and the greatest beauties in Christendom.

Here is the story of eight of its most remarkable women, who were all joined by birth, marriage and friendship, and who ruled for a time in place of their men-folk: Lucrezia Turnabuoni (Queen Mother of Florence, the power behind the Medici throne), Clarice Orsini (Roman princess, feudal wife), Beatrice d'Este (Golden Girl of the Renaissance), Caterina Sforza (Lioness of the Romagna), Isabella d'Este (the Acquisitive Marchesa), Giulia Farnese ('la bella', the family asset), Isabella d'Aragona (the Weeping Duchess) and Lucrezia Borgia (the Virtuous Fury). The men play a secondary role in this grand saga; whenever possible the action will be seen through the eyes of our eight heroines.

These eight women experienced great riches, power and the warm smile of fortune, but they also knew banishment, poverty, the death of a husband or the loss of one or more of their children. As each of the chosen heroines comes to the fore in her turn, she is handed the baton by her 'sister'. Acclaimed author Leonie Frieda recounts the role each woman played in the hundred-year drama that is THE DEADLY SISTERHOOD.


She-Wolf of the Romagna

 14 April 1488

During the late afternoon of Monday, 14 April 1488, inside the ruler's palace at Forli, a family party had just finished their cena. Caterina Sforza, the twenty-five-year-old countess of the small state, rose from the table. At the same time, the tall and fashionably slender beauty, whose long, fair hair framed her renowned features, glanced at her mother and two half-sisters, recently arrived from the mighty Sforza dominion of Milan. Her expression told them to follow her lead. Upon reaching the flabby figure of Caterina's husband, Girolamo Riario, Count of Forli, Lord of Imola and nephew of the late Pope Sixtus IV, the three guests each dropped a deep curtsey, taking their leave. Finally, Caterina made her usual elegant révérence and retired. She would not see her husband alive again.

I won this book in a blog giveaway a couple of years ago, and can't believe I haven't read it yet! I don't usually read much history, but this one is definitely very interesting. History textbooks don't tell the stories of empires and nations from women's point of view, so I do want to read this one!
What do you think? Would you continue reading? 

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Cozy Book Corner No. 6: Sudden Book Love, Part II

Welcome to my Monday 
bookish feature!

In each weekly post, I explore 
my thoughts on several 
book-related topics.

Love at first sight, as I stated in my first post on this topic last week, can hit book lovers, as well.  Furthermore, it can be just as pleasantly surprising as it is between two human beings. 

Last week, I concentrated on one book, with which I actually fell in love, sight unseen. It was a guote from that book that actually reeled me in. It was such a beautifully-written quote, and expressed such a timeless truth, that I was struck with literary love..... You can access that post HERE.

This week, I want to explore this topic further, but from another angle: falling in love at first sight with a book cover.

All of us book bloggers have heard the old adage: "Don't judge a book by its cover." It is indeed true that some books have very beautiful covers, yet, the inside content is totally unappealing. Conversely, there are books with very ugly covers that contain breathtaking content. I am very well aware of this. Still, I do tend to get hooked by gorgeous book covers! Of course, if the plot and characters of the book -- in the case of a novel -- do not thrill me, then my love affair with the book will be very brief indeed. The same goes for nonfiction books, which, for some reason, don't seem to have covers that are immediately appealing, for the most part.

If I happen to have fallen in love with a novel (or a nonfiction book, for that matter) that has an ugly cover, then the solution is simple. I merely search for an edition with a more appealing cover, and donate the one with the ugly one to my local Goodwill store. Lol. 

In fact, I have been known to prefer buying an edition with a cover I love, even though I have to pay more, than a cheaper edition with a cover I can't stand! This is because I'm a bibliophile just as much as a bookworm!!  

Here are some books with covers that I think are GORGEOUS. I have not read all of them, but they are definitely on my mind.  I could pick one of them up at any moment. 


I featured this book in my most recent Tuesday Intros post, which you can access HERE. I LOVE horses, as well as the color blue, so I fell in love with this book HARD. Not only is the cover beautiful, though, but so is  the prose style, as well as the plot.

I own this book, and really need to get to it very soon!!


I find this cover to be absolutely exquisite! The composition, the colors, the font....everything just reels me right in! This one also passes the test of having a great plot, as well as wonderful prose! It's sitting on my shelves, and I hope to be able to get to it sometime this year.....


This is another stunning horse cover! The horse is absolutely GORGEOUS! I can see that it was influenced by a drawing done by Leonardo da Vinci, interestingly enough. The overall composition is just enchanting, as the horse floats over the stormy ocean waves. 

This book is a collection of fantasy stories, all dealing with horses, hence the title. The contributors are the very BEST in fantasy writing, too: Anne McCaffrey, Jennifer Roberson, Mercedes Lackey, Judith Tarr, and others. While I don't own this treasure, I am already looking for it online. It seems to be out of print, but that won't deter me!


This cover is just breathtakingly beautiful!! Of course, it immediately reminded me of King Arthur drawing the famous sword, Excalibur, from the stone. The subject matter of this novel is books, naturally, as one can see, not only from the cover image, but also from the title. I own this one, and love the plot and writing, as well!


I absolutely ADORE this cover! In this particular case, I read the book years ago, and wanted to find an edition with a cover I could love. So I looked and looked online, until I came across the above! Not only does it have a LOT of blue in it, but is very elegantly designed. The book arrived covered in Mylar, too, which was a HUGE plus! 

This is a collection of stories written by the great SF master, Ray Bradbury, so I have more than one reason to love this book!

What are your thoughts 
on this subject?
Have you ever fallen in love
with a book at first sight?
What drew you in?
What do you think of these covers?