Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?
My rating: 5 stars.
Anna and the French Kiss?It's just going to be another cliche, right? WRONG! Despite the cutesy title and summary, Anna and the French Kiss has depth. Lots of depth - specifically the relationship/friendship kind. It's a whirlwind of wonderful.
The story's progression immediately caught me by surprise; it doesn't transpire in a short amount of time. Instead, it paces itself over roughly a year of time. Sounds crazy slow, but it isn't. It actually works like a big puzzle in which you can't wait to find the next piece to plug into place. It's this pacing that gives the plot sustenance. Without it, and in a much shorter timespan, the plot would come off cliche.
But the characters are supporting that long timeframe. Without them, the story would drag. The relations between Anna and her friends just work, to put it simply; their actions aren't forced or unflattering or awkward - although they are a tad predictable. They merely mesh together, and they're all imperfect. In fact, they seem real. What they say to one another is not unlike what you'd hear you or your friends saying (except maybe minus the French and British slang).
So essentially Anna and the French Kiss provides both good story and believability. And a charming love interest: Etienne St. Clair. (Warning: You won't be able to keep yourself from swooning just from seeing his name. He's that special.) What's best about him is that he's so unlike other male characters. He's not simply the Knight in Shining Armor or the Bad Boy or anything inbetween. He's a collaboration - really well-rounded.
My advice? Don't knock it for the romance-y premise. At all. Go read it!
For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit - more sparkly, more fun, more wild - the better. But even though Lola's style is outrageous, she's a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door.
When the family returns and Cricket - a gifted inventor and engineer - steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.
You're going to think I'm crazy for not having read Anna and the French Kiss, but oh well. Bloggers seem to be RAVING about this one almost as much as Anna, so I'm going read Anna now, and impatiently wait for Lola. (Assuming I'll love it as much as everyone else!)
Yep, you heard right. Today is TGR's first birthday! I honestly can't believe it's been an entire year since I started this blog. But at the same time, I can. I feel much more immersed in this awesome book blogging community now. Which brings me to my next point: 400 followers! Um, WOW?! Seriously, you guys are awesome. I know 400 seems like a strange milestone, but I never expected to get so far. I can't thank you enough.
Okay. Now the part you're really interested in - the giveaway! Because it's TGR's first birthday and all, I'm honoring my favorite reads of the new year. (Trust me, if I had a copy of The Iron Knight to give away, I would. It's been my absolute favorite read so far. If you haven't gotten to read it yet, you should!)
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa
But I Love Him by Amanda Grace (AKA Mandy Hubbard)
You waited in line at midnight for the books and movie premieres. Now, 14 years after it all began, you can revisit the magical world of Harry Potter!
Join us (myself & Sarah, at Writer, Reader, Dreamer) as we reread the Harry Potter series (books 1-7) throughout the month of August*!
Each week we’ll cover two books and share our favorite quotes, scenes, characters and memories, as well as asking and answering discussion questions. (Don’t worry – you can post about the movies, too!)
We’d love to get as many participants as possible, so make sure to spread the word! And if you have any questions about the reread, feel free to contact Sarah or me. You’ll find the schedule below:
THE GREAT HARRY POTTER REREAD SCHEDULE
*Don't feel obligated to reread all 7 books!
If you only want to reread one or two, you can still sign up!
Sunday, August 7th:
Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone,
Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets
Sunday, August 14th:
Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban,
Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire
Sunday, August 21st:
Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix,
Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince
Sunday, August 28th:
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
Sunday, September 4th:
Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows
Now, it's YOUR turn! If you'd like to participate and reread along with us, sign up so we can follow your posts, too!
Grab some fabulous buttons to show your participation!
*The reread will continue into the first week of September, as a grace period. We realize 7 Harry Potter books is a lot to read and that seeing the movies can take just as long!
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han. It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han. We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han.
I was thrilled to get this series this past week, but I just finished The Summer I Turned Pretty and wasn't blown away. Now I'm unsure whether I want to actually finish the rest of the series. Does anyone know if they get better?
Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer — they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.
My rating: 3 stars.
Belly might have felt the magic of summer, but I, unfortunately, did not. The Summer I Turned Pretty is rather plain and dressed down, which at first has the perfect making of a cute summer read. Quickly, though, it fizzles out - the magic, the summer, the fun... it all fizzles.
I was immediately caught off guard and detached from Belly, the main character, because of her young age. The story takes place during her sixteenth birthday, but is also told through memories from when she was as young as ten. In the context of the story, this didn't work for me. Her age + the romance = lackluster and Awkward (with a capital A).
None of it really made sense to me; I struggled to find its purpose. The issues between the parents, friends and siblings don't work cohesively. While they come together in the end, they don't explain why other events are necessary. Simply put, I don't understand how we get from point A to point B.
The Summer I Turned Pretty is a big question mark to me. It's cute and summery at times, but it doesn't do much in terms of plot or character.
I came across the Hop and Follow Friday while I was blog hopping - how appropriate! - and decided to join in on the fun.
The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. Follow My Book Blog Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. If you're a new blogger like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!
Weekly question:What's one genre that you wish you could get into, but just can't?
Dystopia. I try and try and try, but it never gets any better. They always sound cool, though! Which is why I feel like I have to give them a shot.
I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.
Not really a fan of the whole book-is-a-letter thing, but Daniel Handler (aka LEMONY SNICKET) is awesome, so I'm expecting this to be a good one.
Fury by Elizabeth Miles. Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry. Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst.
Clean by Amy Reed.
Finny by Justin Kramon.
Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth by J.V. Hart.
Seems like a really strange haul this week, I know. But I won Finny a while ago, and Capt. Hook was recommended to me by a friend. I'm a total Peter Pan junkie. The remaining books are from the Simon and Schuster galley grab!
It's a way for bloggers to celebrate the end of the week with a nice re-cap of their weekly posts and to answer a random question.
Book Blogger Appreciation: Which book blogs have inspired you or made a difference in your blogging experience?
Bibliophilic Monologues - I discovered Nafiza's blog not long after I started my own. I've always loved her passion for reading and that she speaks her mind. Reading her posts made me realize that it was okay to use my own voice in my posts, rather than a straight-up boring professional tone. I think it's made all the difference.
i swim for oceans - Melissa was the first well-known blogger I discovered. From her, I've learned ways to conduct my blog. (If that makes sense.) She is always calm, cool and collected. She makes the professionalism of her blog fun. Don't be intimidated by her popular blogger status!
writer, reader, dreamer - Sarah was probably my first blogger friend. We bonded over food, our shared reading interests, and other random things. She made me feel welcome, rather than distanced, in the blogosphere, and that has helped me reach out more to other bloggers.
Planet Print - I've followed Liz's blog now since I started TGR. It's been awesome to watch both of our blogs grow. She's crazy fun - and easy - to talk to on Twitter for obscene amounts of time, and because of that she's also made me feel more welcome in the blogosphere.
Muggle-born - Cialina's blog is one I've only recently discovered, but I'm so glad I did. She's so sweet and her blog always looks super pretty. I loved our brief chats about internships (she's pretty helpful in that department). Her blog designs inspire me to continually try and better my own.
Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.
Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.
My rating: 4 stars.
Sisterhood Everlasting is a constant struggle. Even now I am still sorting through my feelings about it.
Having read and followed all of the girls throughout the Traveling Pants series, I do have an attachment to them. How can I not? I followed them for four summers of their lives, and am now transported ten years into their future. There is a reader-story-character bond going on.
That said, I think it's this bond that threw me for a loop with Sisterhood Everlasting. To a reader that's never encountered Bridget, Lena, Carmen or Tibby before, the story will just appear heartbreaking, depressing, sad. But to me, as someone that has followed them, it's utterly devastating; there is no relief from what these girls go through. But while I don't believe every story needs a happy ending, this just seemed very out of place to me. The mood in Sisterhood Everlasting is incredibly - surprisingly- painful. Sure, the Traveling Pants series showed their fair amount of pain and strife, but not to this degree. This, to me, seemed overdone and like overkill.
These girls don't bloom - they plummet. They plummet deep into the worst parts of themselves, unable to get a grip on how they once were. Actually, they're struggling to be what they once were, utterly unable to let go of the past. Honestly, it was painful for me to read. Their transformations are like nothing I ever expected. So, of course, this ruined the entire finale for me.
But I can't pretend that Sisterhood Everlasting is a bad read. It is, in fact, a good read. A very good read. The pacing is tremendously slow, and the story drawn out, but the emotion cuts so deep and so true. Brashares has this way with words that works to present the girls out of their teenage years; the writing is truly beautiful and thought-provoking.
Just don't expect a feel-good experience. This is rough, deep and will leave you with a heavy heart.
Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.
Unless he can earn a soul.
To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.
Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her
irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.
With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.
To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.
And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Okay. If you read my ravingreview at all, you'd know how excited/thrilled/antsy/ECSTATIC I am to read this book. Seriously. Couldn't be more excited. This is one series where my interest skyrocketed (The Iron King was a bit shaky for me, then The Iron Daughter had me hooked.). So now I'm as loyal a fan as ever; I love to see a story progress as much as this one has.
....Oh, and have I mentioned they put it up on NetGalley?!
Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is--and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.
Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....
My rating: 4 stars.
Very, very, very poignant.
Stay is one of the most insightful reads in the YA circuit, dealing with relationship issues of all kinds - friends, family, significant others. It's chilling and not at all a light read. It makes you question things; it makes you think. When a book can do that, you know it's special. Stay is special.
Caletti handles the topics of abuse well, almost tenderly. Her writing is smooth and soft. She incorporates soothing images into difficult themes, which keeps the book moving. The balance created between the two levels the bad with the good.
Clara is an annoying character at times because it's almost like she purposely frustrates the reader; every decision she makes, every little word she says, it's all unbelievable. But the deeper into the story you get, the more you understand why. This is what I enjoyed most about the story: it develops. It's not a swift, action-packed tale. It's heartbreak, it's discovery, it's learning, it's healing. It's all of these feelings packaged into one, and while that comes off messy and unsettling to dive into, Caletti manages them so seamlessly.
Stay is a story you won't easily forget. It's troubling, but it resonates.
It's a way for bloggers to celebrate the end of the week with a nice re-cap of their weekly posts and to answer a random question.
Blogger Confession: What's the last book you could not finish? (or had a hard time finishing?)
Going Bovine by Libba Bray. I know, I know. It's an amazing book. It won the Printz award, after all. Plus the writing is catchy. And a kid with mad cow disease? What's not interesting about that? I was hooked until I got about halfway through, and then everything just quickly fell flat for me. I like creepy, crazy, funny, strange. But not the kind that Going Bovine offers. For lack of a better way to say it, the story basically unraveled, along with my interest.
I haven't completely abandoned it, though. I hope to return to it sometime in the future, because it is in no way a "bad" book. I'm just not feeling it at the moment.
A vlog, or video blog, is a blog post that contains video content. Sounds simple. Making one? Not so simple.
But vlogs are invading the book blogging blogosphere (Say that 3x fast!) like crazy. They come in handy for talking about all things related to books - and for sharing squeals of excitement, bloopers and even pets (I've seen some really cute puppies.). Mostly they're used for memes such as, and most notably, In My Mailbox. You know you've seen 'em or have made one.
I haven't taken that extra step yet. I actually haven't been convinced that vlogging is the way to go. Is it necessary? Do other bloggers prefer it to regular posts?Why?
So that's where you guys come in. I wanna know: do you prefer vlogs to regular posts? Why or why not? (I know, that sounds like an essay question. Ew.)
*As if it wasn't obvious enough, I'm trying to decide whether I should incorporate vlogs on the blog. I'd really appreciate your feedback!