Meg Waite Clayton’s The Four Ms. Bradwells


The Four Ms. Bradwells: A Novel | Jorie’s Reads Store @ Amazon

Clayton, M. W. (2011). The four Ms. Bradwells: A novel. New York: Ballantine Books. 9780345517081

Reasons for Reading: As I browsed the Overdrive Digital Media Collection for eAudio, I rediscovered the cover bearing a young woman wearing pearls. Drawn by the cover and the description, I downloaded it to my iPhone. A little ways into listening, I decided I wanted to read the book in the old-fashioned format from HCPL.

Summary: Fifty-something best friends Mia (the Savant), Laney (the Good Girl), Betts (the funny one), and Ginger (the rebel) gather in Washington, DC over a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the highest court in the land. Christened “the Ms. Bradwells” in their very first class at Michigan Law in ’79, these four friends have been through it all together – marriage/divorce, birth/death, job promotion/termination.

When Betts seemed all but sworn in as the newest Supreme Court justice, a nasty skeleton peeks out of the closet. This is about that fateful spring break to the summer house on the Chesapeake in ’82. This buried secret rises  to the surface to the point that the Ms. Bradwells can no longer ignore it. Yet, as good friends do, they confront it together.

What I Liked :  I liked that these different, intelligent women remained loyal and true to their friendship. The mystery was compelling and I liked the roles not only played by the Ms. Bradwells but by their mothers. The scenes which took place in Ann Arbor were crystal-clear to me. Then, there was the sense of their daughters carrying on the torch of the Ms. Bradwells.

What I Disliked: One reason I gave up on the audio in favor of the print was because of the narrator. Yes, I realize Laney was from Alabama but did she really have to have her parts read in such an affected accent. Also, the narrator rendered Mia rather whiny. When I switched to the print, I struggled differentiating between the four voices. I was further flummoxed by back-to-back sections narrated by the same character. Another thing which bothered me was that Laney’s mother became a footnote rather than a catalyst of the action. I wanted to know more about her! Before I forget, the pearls described in the novel looked nothing like those on the cover.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: fun.: We Are Young ft. Janelle Monáe [OFFICIAL VIDEO] – YouTube

Setting:  Ann Arbor Michigan, Washington DC, Cook Island

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Siobhan Vivian’s The List


The List by Siobhan Vivian | LibraryThing

Vivian, S. (2012). The list. New York: PUSH. 9780545169172

Reasons for Reading: When perusing other bloggers’ Top Ten Tuesday lists, I stumbled upon Siobhan Vivian’s The List. The conflict described appealed to me so much that I sought the title at my library. When I found the book online, I requested in via HCPL.

Summary: Every year, some anonymous soul posts The List all over Mount Washington High during Homecoming Week. The List shares the names of eight girls, two from each grade – the prettiest and the ugliest. As the summary inside the book says:

ABBY’S joy at being named to the list is clouded by her sister’s resentment.

DANIELLE worries about how her boyfriend will take the news.

LAUREN is a homeschooled girl blindsided by her instant popularity.

CANDACE isn’t ugly, not even close, so it must be a mistake.

BRIDGET knows her summer transformation is nothing to celebrate.

SARAH has always rebelled against traditional standards of beauty, and she decides to take her mutiny to the next level.

And MARGO and JENNIFER, ex-best friends who haven’t spoken in years, are forced to confront why their relationship ended.

These eight girls struggle throughout the book, confronting their social stature as defined in print in eight different ways. While written in third person, the reader becomes privy to the thoughts of these eight girls.

What I Liked: The mystery of who was posting The List compelled me to read this so quickly I nearly suffered paper cuts. While I figured out the culprit well before I hit the back cover, I wanted to know the motives. Author Vivian formed intriguing characters and dealt with true issues such as: popularity, bullying, eating disorders, and self-esteem. I cared about some of these girls, especially Lauren and Danielle.

What I Disliked: The ending (which will remain unspoiled by this reviewer) left me dissatisfied. I wondered if this was the birth of the series as there were some thread left looser than I would’ve desired. Also, eight different characters was at least four too many characters in my opinion. The author could’ve pleased me by focusing on the story of ex-best friends Margo and Jennifer. Lastly, I sure didn’t like most of the parents featured in this book. Dishonorable mention goes to Abby’s parents, Lauren’s mother, and Candace’s mother.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Maroon 5 – She Will Be Loved – YouTube

Setting: United States

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Richard Peck’s Princess Ashley


Princess Ashley by Richard Peck | LibraryThing

Peck, R. (1988). Princess Ashley. New York: Dell. 9780440202066

Reasons for Reading : I remember reading this book in junior high. When I decided I wanted to look at Princess Ashley again, I realized that I would have to request it through Inter-library Loan (ILL).

Summary: Chelsea Olinger begins high school in a new town. She plan to blend in with the wallpaper. Chelsea remains true to this plan until she glimpses Ashley Packard, queen bee of the sophomore class. Shortly, Ashley handpicks Chelsea as a member of her clique. Chelsea can’t believe her luck and ignores the words of wisdom of her mother and devoted friend Pod Johnson regarding Ashley’s true character.

Review : Normally, I don’t care much for male writers telling a female’s story in first person narrative. Yet, I think Peck overcame this pretty well. I appreciated Peck’s description of fads and trends as well. These characters stand out for the familiarity.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Song: Mean Gurl by Gina Rene and Gabriel Rene – YouTube

Setting : I’m guessing somewhere in the Southwest USA.

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June 14: Top Ten “Awww” Moments In Books (those cute lines, charming actions, kisses, or any other sentimental moment that made you say “AWWW!”


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

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.

Click here to see the upcoming topics!

June 14: Top Ten “Awww” Moments In Books (those cute lines, charming actions, kisses, or any other sentimental moment that made you say “AWWW!”

I’ve listed titles only since I don’t want to reveal endings of books – the “Awww!” moments in these books. I welcome comments. 🙂

1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

2. Eat, pray, love: [one woman’s search for everything across Italy, India and Indonesia] by Elizabeth Gilbert

3. Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

4. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

5. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding

6. The Graduate by Charles Webb

7. Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

8. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

9. Miss Pettigrew Lives for the Day by Winifred Watson

10. No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith