Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Posts Tagged: Romance Level: Medium

Monday, March 16, 2015

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery LordThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury on 31 March 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Open Road Summer

Place(s) Traveled to: Oakhurst, Indiana // Anderson, Indiana

First Line(s): Of all the places to have something memorable happen to you, Oakhurst, Indiana, had to be one of the worst.

I first became aware of the amazingness of Emery Lord’s writing last year when I read her debut novel, Open Road Summerand the moment that I turned the last page I was desperate for more words by her. So you may have heard my squeals of delight when an early copy of The Start of Me and You showed up on my doorstep. This was a book that I received in August of 2014 and even though its release was so far away I knew that I wouldn’t be able to wait to read it. I knew that I would love it and had known of that fear that I normally do when reading the sophomore book of an author whose debut I loved. When I sat down to read The Start of Me and You I didn’t come up for air until I’d hit the last page and let me tell you, dear reader, I think that I loved this one more than Open Road Summer. Emery Lord is an absolute master at the written word she writes some of the most amazing friendship stories that I’ve ever read. All too often in YA contemporary stories the main characters BFF isn’t a real friend and at the slightest bit of trouble she’s turned on the MC and it is just so very frustrating to me as a reader.

But Lord’s friendships aren’t like that. They are the friendships that stand the test of time and are the ones the often echo friendships that the reader has in real life. Paige’s BFF Tessa is always there for her when she needs her. Tessa is there to give words of advice, a shoulder to cry on, and a good swift kick in the pants when one is needed. Prior to the start of The Start of Me and You Paige was in a relationship with her first real boyfriend and due to an unspeakable tragedy he died not long after. Paige was then left to deal with the loss of someone she liked but barely knew and Tessa was there to help guide her through all of her mixed emotions. Tessa was also there when a year later when Paige decided to make a list to help her reform her image from The Girl Whose Boyfriend Died to a new and happier Paige. One step in her plan is to date her long time crush Ryan and along the way she meets and becomes friends with Max. Sweet, wonderful, nerdy Max. Oh how I love Max. And Ryan. And Paige. And Tessa. And Kayleigh. And Morgan. And just everyone in this book!

The Start of Me and You is filled with so many wonderful feels. This story makes my heart ache in that good way that I love and its one that I’ve re-read several times already. Its a book that I pre-ordered and can’t recommend highly enough. Its a book that shows us that sometimes the thing you think you want may not be the thing that you really need. Its about looking at what is right in front of you as you think about your future goals. Its a story about love and friendship and its so very hard to put all that I want to say into words that are coherent. I loved Paige’s friends and all that they brought into each other’s lives. Its also a great story about loving parents who are maybe a bit too over protective at times but who will do anything they can to ease the troubles of their children.

With The Start of Me and You, Emery Lord has sealed her fate as an author that I will always auto-buy the moment that her next book is available for purchase. She has such a gift with bringing these very real characters to life and as I read her stories I am transported into the worlds she creates. She writes characters that you want to be friends with and boys that you want to fall in love with. She can break your heart into a dozen pieces but then just a quickly find a way to put it back together again. This is a book that I can’t recommend strongly enough and 5 stars aren’t enough to show how much love I have for this story. Each page is filled with magic and wonder and I am so sad that I’ll never be able to read it again for the first time. My only complaint is that the story had to end and I would gladly have read another 300 pages of Paige and her friends. I long for more of this story and hope that Lord will write one involving Tessa, Paige’s best friend. For I would love to see the world through her eyes and through her heart. As I can’t put into words what I want to say about this story all you really need to know is this. If you haven’t read an Emery Lord book yet then you need to drop everything and do so now. You will thank me for it later.

.

irishdarkblue

.

.

.

The Start of Me and You Quote

five-stars
Divider

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult0 Comments

Review: Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda JonesSeventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones
Series: Charlie Davidson,
Also in this series: Fifth Grave Past the Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge
Published by St Martin's Press on 21 October 2014
Genres: Adult, Angels, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Demons, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Ghosts & the Undead, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Fifth Grave Past the Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge

 Place(s) Traveled To: Albuquerque, New Mexico

First Line(s): If the howling from the backseat of Agent Carson’s black SUV weren’t already dead, I would’ve strangled her. Gladly.

Seventh Grave and No Body is the seventh installment in Darynda Jones’s Charlie Davidson series and picks up not long after Sixth Grave on the Edge ends. While I wasn’t thrilled with the previous installment I was looking forward to Seventh Grave as I thought that maybe some of the bigger story ARC mysteries would be dealt with. However, I ended up being more disappointed in this story than I’d hoped and think that its really losing steam. The start of this series was so fresh and unique and now its just dragging on and getting a little repetitive in its telling. Charlie is getting a little annoying with her constant naming of things and constantly rushing off into danger.

In the beginning you could almost excuse her leaps into danger as there was always a bigger end game going on. But this aspect was missing in Seventh Grave and when you add into it that Charlie is pregnant its just reckless and irresponsible. The mystery that is started in this book is mediocre at best and as with the previous installment not much is accomplished with the overall story ARC. Other than re-hashing things that happened before there wasn’t anything new here and so that made Seventh Grave all the more frustrating and I am really starting to question if I want to continue reading this series or not.

Seventh Grave and No Body Quote

There are still elements of the story that I like, I do enjoy the humor though as I said above I do wish that some things would get toned down. The secondary characters continue to shine though why they continue to put up with some of Charlie’s antics I’ll never know. So in the end I sighed more than I laughed in this one and it just took longer to get through than it should have. There were also moments in this book that were impossible to believe because its hard to feel tension and think that characters are in peril when there are 4 more books to come in the series.

For me, its starting to seem as though there is no end point to the series and I think that does this world and characters a disservice. It just drags things out too much and so not much really happens in the story. While I do like how there is less than a year to wait between the next installment I am just not sure if I have the time or the energy to devote to books 8, 9, 10 and 11.

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Seventh Grave
three-stars
Divider

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Audio Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Audio Review: The Way of Kings by Brandon SandersonThe Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
Narrator: Kate Reading, Michael Kramer
Series: The Stormlight Archive,
Also in this series: Words of Radiance
Published by Macmillian Audio on 31 August 2010
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adult, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Epic Fantasy, Espionage, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Magic, Mythology, People & Places, Politics & Intrigue, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, War & Military
Length: 45 hours, 37 Minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Words of Radiance

Place(s) Traveled To: Karbranth, Frostlands // Shatter Plains // Valath, Jah Keved (World Name: Roshar)

First Line(s): Kalak rounded a rocky stone ridge and stumbled to a stop before the body of a dying thunderclast.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson is the first book in the start of an epic fantasy that is expecting to span over ten books which is a huge commitment and one that I wasn’t sure I wanted to make. Especially when you consider that at the time I listened to Way of Kings only the first two books were available and at this time the third book isn’t expected to be available until 2016. Yet, despite this, I kept finding myself drawn to the book and so I downloaded the audio from Audible and embarked on a 45 hour listening journey that swept me away to a fantasical world that was rich and amazing and filled with possibility. The narrative of Way of Kings fluctuations between several characters and incorporating some others between parts in its interludes. The main POV characters in Way of Kings are Kaladin, Dalinar Kholin, Adolin Kholin, Shallan Davar, Navani Kholin, and Szeth with the main focus being on Kaladin. Kaladin is a slave and his chapters go back and forth and time and slowly reveal his origins and how he became a slave in the kings army. Of all the POVs in this book the ones I liked best were those of Kaladin and Dalinar as they were so rich and complex and my heart just broke for the various things these characters experienced. The character I liked least was Shallan, I just found her to be selfish, naive and annoying and was more intrigued by her teacher, Jasnah and wished that she was one of the viewpoint characters.

The Way of Kings is a hard story to break down into a review of a few paragraphs as there is just so much to it. As the first in a series there is a lot of history and world building to be down and Brandon Sanderson has done an amazing job of weaving in his worlds history and rules without bogging down the story narrative. As a fantasy novel there is much that the reader does not know at the start of the story and so things can be a bit confusing at first. But once the story really gets underway the full beauty of this world really shines through. Its so complex and detailed and the more you read the more realistic it all becomes. The longer I listened to this audio the more I wanted to know and I’d look for excuses to make road trips just so that I could drive and be immersed in this amazing land of Roshar. I loved how the characters interacted and I loved Kaladin’s journey. There were times when I hated for the narrative to change as Kaladin was often left in a precarious place and my heart just broke for him. Though, I felt similar emotions when in the narrative of the other characters as well and almost always disliked when we left one character for another.

The Way of Kings is the first book that I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson but I found him to be a master of his craft. I loved how this story was formed and even though it was 45 hours long (1000 pages) it didn’t feel like that. Every time I was in my car I was sucked away to another place and I hated when reality snuck back in. Kate Reading and Michael Kramer did a fantastic job in bringing all these various characters and this world to life. They seamlessly become all the characters whose voices they read including the world that this story is set in. Because Roshar is very much a character as well as the setting. If you are a fan of epic fantasy this this is a book that you want to pick up. Yes, its long and yes this is only the first book in a very long series but its the start of an amazing story and I am eager to see where Sanderson will take me as I dive into the next book.

.

irishdarkblue

.

.

.

Way of Kings Quote

four-stars
Divider

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie PerkinsIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss,
Also in this series: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door
Published by Dutton on 14 August 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Parents, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled To: New York City, New York // Paris, France // Barcelona, Spain // Angouleme, France

First Line(s): It’s midnight, it’s sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodun, but that guy – that guy right over there – that’s him.

Like so many others I’ve been counting down the days until the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. We first met Isla back in 2010 in Perkins’s book, Anna and the French Kiss, and my heart went out to her character in that story. Long before we knew that the final book would be her book I was hoping that it would be as there was just something about this shy, awkward girl that resonated with me. It has been a long wait since Isla was first announced and while I was sad at the times when it was delayed I do think that she was worth the wait. There is just something so special about Isla’s story that is hard to put into words. Its just so poignoit and beautiful and I just want to live within its pages. I devoured this book the day it landed on my doorstep as I couldn’t wait to experience this world or Perkins’s writing again for the first time. But one reading wasn’t enough and before I leant it to a friend I did another slow read savoring the words and then a snapshot read reliving small moments as I recorded some of my favorite quotes.

Isla is a character that I think many can relate to. She’s smart and funny and yet also shy and insecure. She doesn’t have many friends and her relationship with her younger sister is awkward at the best of times. Isla is flawed and makes assumptions about others based on how she would approach things and so tends to judge a little too harshly at times when the people she knows aren’t as black and white as she wants them to be. And then there is Josh, this boy who seems more alone than any character I’ve met previously. All of his friends have graduated and as he built his entire SOAP experience around them the void they leave make being a thousand miles away from home all the more difficult. Like Isla he’s a shy person but he has hidden this aspect of himself as this loud, boistrous, adventourus persona that those around him forget the real person that he was back in Freshman year.

The story of Isla and Josh is heartbreaking and perfect and so very real. There are misunderstands and heartbreak but throughout their whole story is this real, genuine and lasting love story. These are characters that I think will stand the tests of time and be those high school sweethearts that are together forever. I loved the journey of Isla and Josh and my heart did that heart-achey thing that I just makes me feel all the feels. This book made me laugh and cry and when I turned then final page I just sat there and patted the back cover giving a little sigh of happiness at a well told story. One that I think fans of Stephanie Perkins will be happy with.

The thing I like best about Isla and the Happily Ever After is Isla’s growth as a character throughout the entire book. You see one version of her in Anna and the French Kiss and then over the course of the book she goes through new and different versions of herself. Who she is at the end of the story is different from who she is at the begining and yet she is still Isla through and through. Josh too goes through some great charater growth and I love him all the more for it. I also really liked how neither Isla and Josh were dating other people during the course of the book. Those were aspects of Anna and Lola and the Boy Next Door that I wasn’t thrilled with. And most of all I enjoyed the small cameos of the characters from Perkins’s other books in this one. I liked how they were true cameos and how none of them took over Isla and Josh’s story as Etienne sometimes did in Lola. I did think there was one moment that was a little corny and unneccessary but I think that it will bring joy into the hearts of fans of that story.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is a story that can be read on its own or you can read it as a companion to the other Anna and the French Kiss books. I like how singular it is and even if you don’t know who Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket are in their cameo scene you do get a sense of their personailties but you don’t feel as those you are missing something in that moment. Of the three books, Isla is my favorite as it just had the most depth and feeling for me and I am so happy that its out in the world but also sad because the story is over. Perkins is such a gifted story teller and you can be sure that I am eagerly awaiting her next book and will be buying it the moment that its available.

.

irishdarkblue

.

.

.

Isla Quote

five-stars
Divider

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Review: Forget Me by K.A. Harrington

Posted by Irish in 4.5 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Forget Me by K.A. HarringtonForget Me by K.A. Harrington, Kim Harrington
Published by Putnam Juvenile on 07 August 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Espionage, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: River’s End, Massachusetts // Littleton, Massacussetts

First Line(s): He lied to me.

Forget Me by K.A. Harrington is a contemporary mystery set in a small New England town. Its a book that is made for conspiracy therorists and mystery lovers alike. The story is told through the eyes of Morgan who witnessed the hit & run accident that killed her boyfriend Flynn a few months before Forget Me begins. Looking for some sort of closure she goes to post the one and only photo she has of him online and learns that he might not be dead after all. This leads her and her BFF Toni to start investigating this Evan Murphy to see if he is really Flynn. Now while Morgan and Toni are no Veronica Mars they don’t do a too terrible job at sorting through the facts. Though there are times when they are a bit more like Laverne and Shirly and so even as the tension rises there are still moments of humor.

Forget Me is a book of abandoned places and creepy clowns, its filled with lies and misdirection, there is mystery and drama and everything else in between. There is a romantic storyline but its not the dominate feature of the story. There are excellent secondary characters in Toni and Reece and I just loved all the scenes they were in. I loved Morgan for her doubts and for those things she knew to be true. I loved her relationship with her parents and how real it was. I especially loved the banter between Morgan and Toni and how they complimented each other as friends. I also adored Evan and there were some moments in this story that made my heart ache in that way that I love.

The mystery is fast paced and there are some red herrings thrown in along the way but its not so super complicated that those well versed in mysteries can’t figure things out before the big reveal. But neither is the story so obvious that it can be figured out on page 2. Forget Me is a fun mystery with some edge of your seat moments and I am going to miss this world that Harrington has created. I liked this town and I liked these characters and I kind of wish this was the start of a series just so that I could see more of them all. Though at the same time everything ends in a good place so I am totally satisfied and I turned the final page with a happy sigh that only comes when finishing a good book. All in all I think that this is my favorite Harrington book to date and its one that I am sure will be re-read at some point in my future. If you are a lover of a well-told story then you should totally pick this one up!

.

irishdarkblue

.

.

.

 

forget me2
four-half-stars
Divider

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda Kenneally

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Breathe, Annie, Breath by Miranda KenneallyBreathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally
Series: Hundred Oaks,
Also in this series: Jesse's Girl, Defending Taylor
Published by Sourcebooks on 15 July 2014
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 306
Format: ARC
Source: Book Expo (BEA-ALA-et al)
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Jesse's Girl, Defending Taylor

Place(s) Traveled To: Thousand Oaks, Tennessee

First Line(s): As a kid, I had the worst mile time ever.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally is the first book of hers that I’ve read and I almost didn’t read this one as I didn’t realize that it was part of her Thousand Oak series. But after consulting with Twitter I was told that you didn’t need to read the others in order to read and understand this one so I decided to give it a shot. Breathe, Annie, Breathe was a quick read but I did find it hard to get into at first as I just couldn’t connect with with the main character. She was just all over the place with her emotions and seemed to transfer them onto others as well. I get that she was dealing with grief but she seemed to take it to the extreme. I know that everyone experiences grief differently but it just seemed over the top and took me out of the story. And if the grief was real then I really wish that she was in counseling for it as she wasn’t coping very well and as a result made some poor life choices.

I also didn’t really connect with Jeremiah either because he was such an ass in the beginning. He and Annie randomly hook up at the very beginning of the book and then he ignores her and doesn’t treat her very well. She then mopes about until he has a change of heart and then she is on the way to repeating her behavior with her dead boyfriend. In that, she wants to wrap her entire life up, in, and around his to the exclusion of all others. So for the first half of this book I really just wanted to smack these two characters up the head sideways. But then, they both seem to have this epiphany and the whole tone of the book changed for me. All of a sudden I began to like both Annie and Jere more and became invested in their story.

I experienced those heart achy moments that I so love experiencing in books and it just made me happy. So for me, the ending is what made this book and I was glad that I had stuck with it. As I said it was a quick read and there were moments of it that I liked. I liked how Annie grew over the course of the book because I don’t think I would have been able to finish it if she hadn’t. I admired her drive to want to do something for her deceased boyfriend even though I didn’t really agree with her reasons for it. I also liked how over time it because less what he would have wanted and more about what she wanted to do for herself. And while I didn’t always like Jere I do think that he and Annie compliment each other.

I enjoyed Kenneally’s writing and the world that she has built so I will probably read the previous books in the series. I think it will be interesting to see how they all connect with one another. Breathe, Annie, Breathe will never be a favorite book of mine but in the end I don’t think that my time was wasted in visiting Thousand Oaks.

.

irishdarkblue

.

.

.

Breathe Annie Breathe2

three-stars
Divider

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult4 Comments

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie PerkinsLola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss, Book 2
Also in this series: Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After
Published by Dutton on 29 September 2011
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, GLBT, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 338
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled to: San Francisco, California

First Line: I have three simple wishes.

From the moment that I finished Anna and the French Kiss I’ve been looking forward to reading the companion book Lola and the Boy Next Door.  The moment I received the book from a friend I started to read it and got lost in the new world that Stephanie Perkins created. I fell in love with Cricket….the uber sweet boy next door. Lola on the other hand as a bit of a hit or miss character for me. I wanted so much to love her as much as I did Anna but that never happened. I did love her quirkiness and sense of style. I loved her confidence in herself and how she didn’t care what others thought of her outfits. I also loved her dads. I loved how they were a very active part of her life.

I didn’t love how Lola seemed to use the people around her, especially Cricket. And I didn’t like how her story as a bit of  Anna and the French Kiss in reverse. I loved the cameos of Anna and Etienne in the book but I feel that Etienne was in the story a bit too much. I think I would have liked things more if it was Anna who had the bigger role rather than Etienne. Though I still enjoyed Anna and Etienne’s relationship. Even though at times Etienne seemed to be around Anna a bit too much. Though that is more of my need for some personal space rather than any sort of unrealistic aspect of two teens in love.

In the end while I liked this book I didn’t love it as much as I did with Anna there was just something missing in this story for me and I didn’t lose myself in it completely. It might have been that I was setting the bar a bit too high for this sophomore novel by Perkins, Anna is a tough book to compete against…even when the book is written by the same author. I still loved Perkin’s writing style and I really look forward to reading Isla and the Happily Ever After. I really hope to see more cameos of characters from her previous books make an appearance in that one. After reading Lola I have a strong suspicion on HOW that might happen but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s what actually happens.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
Divider

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult14 Comments

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss,
Also in this series: Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After
Published by Dutton on 02 December 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Love & Romance, People & Places, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled to: Paris, France // Atlanta, Georgia

First Line: Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amelie and Moulin Rouge.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is a book that I first heard about on Twitter where it seemed like everyone was buzzing about. This peaked my curiosity and I hated that I would have to wait until it was released to read it. Then the book gods smiled on me and not only did a friend send me her copy to read but I also received a copy for review from the publisher. I went from a serious Anna drought to positively bursting with copies and I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait to read it.For me, the book started off a little slow and I was wondering what all the fuss was about. Then at some point, I can’t even begin to tell you when it happened, I just got so completely and utterly sucked into this story. I loved all the characters – Anna is just brilliant and Étienne is so flawed and confused and so totally swoon worthy. The supporting cast were also all so wonderfully drawn that everyone felt real and dare I mention the setting? Most of the book takes place in Paris, France where Anna is sent to boarding school because her father (a Nicolas Sparks-like author) thinks the experience will be good for her. Anna initially thinks this is a great tragedy because 1) she doesn’t speak French and 2) its her senior year and she’s been exiled from her friends, her almost boyfriend and her best friend. But then she meets Meredith, Josh, Rashmi and Étienne (known as St Clair to his friends.)

Anna adjusts to life in France and delights in learning all the wonders that the city holds. She also becomes drawn to St Clair and he to her. But this isn’t your straight boy meets girl love story because St Clair has a girlfriend. You then get this tragically beautifully story where everyone is trying to do the right thing…or what they think is the right thing…and so there are denials and miss-communications and even some missed opportunities. As a reader you want there to be a happily ever after but at the same time you don’t want any of the characters to become a douche and hurt anyone else just so that they can find happiness.

Stephanie Perkins is such an amazingly gifted writer and she conveys so much information about each character without them saying too much about themselves. Through their actions she shows all their little quirks and mannerisms and its these little details that really turn the characters from 2D words on a page into 3D people that you see just out of the corner of your eye as you read. In the end, Anna and the French Kiss, made my heart ache. Not in a bad way but in that oh so wonderful way it does every time I read Pride and Prejudice. I am so glad that Perkins wrote this book and that I was able to read it. I am so glad that its now out there in the world so that other people can know just how wonderful this story is. This is a book that I had to run out and buy when it was released because just having the ARC wasn’t enough. Its a book that I have bullied people to read and one that has made my Top 12 List.

I am truly amazed that Anna and the French Kiss is Perkins’s debut novel because its just so brilliantly executed. Anna is one of those few books that I could gush about forever. Its earned its place on my permanent bookshelf and I know that it is a book that will be re-read several times. Its a story that I wished would never end because I don’t think that I could ever get tired of these characters. Which is why I’m so excited that even there will be two companion books, titled Lola and the Boy Next Door (Fall 2011) and Isla and the Happily Ever After (2014). I can’t wait! But until those books are in stores you really should go out and buy Anna. I think that everyone should read it and I can’t recommend it enough. So go forth and now the awesome that is Anna and the French Kiss.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
Divider