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: School Type: Boarding School

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Audio Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

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

Audio Review: Carry On by Rainbow RowellCarry On by Rainbow Rowell
Narrator: Euan Morton
Published by Macmillian Audio on 06 Oct 2016
Genres: Abduction, Adolescence, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Fantasy, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Witches & Wizards, Young Adult
Length: 13 hrs and 42 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible.com
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Fangirl

Place(s) Traveled To: Hampshire, England // London, England // Watford, England

First Line(s): I walk to the bus station by myself.

When talking with my friends after reading Rainbow Rowell’s FANGIRL (my review) it seems like I am one of the few that actually liked the little excerpts from Cath’s fan fiction story called Carry On. So when I heard that she was turning that into a book I was excited. Until I was not. CARRY ON is the name of Cath’s fan fiction but for this story its presented as the very last Simon Snow story and as such, I feel, as though it should have been titled something along the lines of Simon Snow and the <<blah blah blah>>. Although that may have been too close to HARRY POTTER which the Simon Snow story is clearly a  spoof of. Title aside though I still had some excitement but it all sort of fizzled by the time I had this very large book in my hands.

CARRY ON started off really really slow for me and I wasn’t a fan of the fact that they didn’t use a female narrator for the female POV chapters. Euon Morton does a fair enough job overall as the narrator but as with all male narrators female voices aren’t where he excels. I did like his vocal choices for Simon and Baz but the rest? Not as much. Speaking of Baz, this is a character that takes his own sweet time in showing up in the story. Things in CARRY ON do pick up a bit when he does but its still kind of a hot mess with little to no direction. There isn’t a whole ton of plot and the whole book is just sort of ramshackled together and I found myself rolling my eyes. A lot.

Carry On Quote

CARRY ON is also billed as this great M/M Romance and it fails there too because for a lot of the book Simon has a girlfriend. Then when he decides he likes Baz it just never feels real. Simon is such a surfacy 2D character that its hard to believe any of the emotions that he’s supposed to be feeling. And for a book that is a romance there should be more push/pull/something that happens between the characters. But with CARRY ON this doesn’t really develop until a good three quarters of the way through the book and then it just falls flat. A lot of this I think is due to the poor writing and the very mediocre narrator that was Simon Snow. I think if Baz had been telling CARRY ON I may have liked it a little more. Maybe.

From a fantasy standpoint, CARRY ON only barely squeeks by. Its just cobbled together with a bunch of tropes and its so very predictable. I guessed all the big twists very very early on and as such just sort of rolled my eyes at the attempted mic drop moments. I also felt that at times the POV just shifted way too rapidly that I almost got whiplash. I also didn’t get why certain characters were in the story at all since they did nothing to move the plot along and just bogged down the story. In the end, I was pretty disappointed with CARRY ON as I just expected so much more from this story. I think in the future I’ll still to Rowell’s contemporary works and turn to others when I am looking for a fantasy read.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Carry On

 

Add Wizard’s Hall by Jane Yolen to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

 

three-stars
Divider

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Blog Tour, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa YeeWonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee
Series: DC Super Hero Girls,
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on 01 March 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Middle Grade, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 240
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Metropolis // Paradise Island

First Line(s): It was barely the third week of school, and already someone had been expelled.

WONDER WOMAN AT SUPER HERO HIGH by Lisa Yee is the start of a new middle grade series set at the fictional Super Hero High in Metropolis. This is the school where all the young super heroes go to learn how to use their powers and how to be a super hero. Or maybe not as not all those who go to this school have good intentions in mind. Wonder Woman is a total fish out of water when she starts at Super Hero High having been home schooled and fairly sheltered on Paradise Island by her mother. She knows of the outside world but she misses a lot of social queues and doesn’t always get the joke. She’s a very literal girl and so this makes her a tad bit socially awkward and that is part of what makes Wonder Woman, or Wondy as she begins to be called, a relatable character.

Going to a new school is always hard be it a transfer in, a move from home school to public, or even going from middle school to high school. Its easy to get overwhelmed at times or to sign up for too much. Not to mention all the pitfalls of making new friends (or enemies as the case may be) along with being part of the social media generation. Wondy learns all of these things, often at a comical expense throughout the course of WONDER WOMAN. Her roommate runs HQTV (aka Harley Quinn TV YouTube channel) and so often captures Wondy’s mishaps along with her fellow students much to Wondy’s embarrassment but its something she learns to deal with and become aware of. To think before she acts because you never know who may be watching and to learn to accept that she can’t be perfect all of the time.

Wondy is a bit naive at times and that wasn’t always the easiest things for me to read as an adult but I think that this is something that will really help her appeal to a younger reader.  Wondy is also filled with so much heart and dedication to do well and to be the best friend she can be. She’s the sort of girl who wants to be the best at everything and to win all the awards but she’s also humble enough to know when to share the spotlight with someone else. Even if doing so means sacrificing something else.

There were times when WONDER WOMAN made me laugh at loud, usually at something Harley Quinn said, and times where it made me cringe. I loved all the various characters that were incorporated into this story along with the superhero triathalon. I liked how this was a girl power dominated story in a universe that is typically overshadowed by boys. I thought that the mystery element was a little weak, choppy and highly underdeveloped but that is probably not something that will bother younger readers. But will also help in teaching them the impoartance of making assumptions and why that isn’t always a good thing. There are a lot of great teachable moments in WONDER WOMAN and its a book that I look forward to sharing with my niece as I think she’ll like it a lot.

irishdarkblue

IR - Wonder Woman

 

Add Cinderella Stays Late by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams to Goodreads (Click here for my review)

Add Gotham Academy Volume 1 by Becky Cloonan to Goodreads.

four-stars
Divider

Monday, April 25, 2016

Review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

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

Review: The Dead House by Dawn KurtagichThe Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 15 Sept 2015
Genres: Contemporary (No Romance Focus), Death & Dying, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers, Young Adult
Pages: 400
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

Place(s) Traveled To: Somerset, England

First Line(s): I curse anyone who reads this book. If you touch it, hell will be waiting. Screw you. Happy reading.

THE DEAD HOUSE by Dawn Kurtagich is the a YA debut murder mystery story. Its told using mixed media or “found” documents after there is a fire at a boarding school that resulted in the deaths of a couple of students and another,Carly, to disappear without a trace. Twenty years after the events in question Carly’s diary is found and that is the main source material used to tell this story. The reader quickly learns that Carly isn’t your average teenager. Because at night she’s no longer Carly and she becomes Kaitlyn. The two girls, though they share a body, are two very different people and they lead two very different lives and yet they somehow manage to coexist. It is never clear throughout the telling of THE DEAD HOUSE which personality is the original and which is the alter.

THE DEAD HOUSE is a quick read because of its format and I thought that the story was well written and engaging as I was reading it. However, the more time that passes between my reading of the book the more story itself fades into the background. When I finished THE DEAD HOUSE I wasn’t sure what to make of the story and now a few months later I am still unsure of it. There didn’t seem to be much in the way of resolution and it felt a little open ended as if there might be a sequel at some point in the future. I also expected THE DEAD HOUSE to be a creepier story than it was and maybe the audio version incorporates the creep factor in better. Though I’m not sure how well this mixed media style would work in audio form.

The Dead House Quote

Overall, I was left a little underwhelmed with THE DEAD HOUSE. It was interesting and yet at the same time its also forgettable. I feel like I’m missing something when I see all the rave reviews of this story. Because for me there wasn’t a whole ton of substance. We got the facts and nothing but and we never really got a solution to the mystery at large. Who was Carly/Kaitlyn really? Where did she go after the fire? Or was she a victim that was never found? In the end I was left with more questions than answers so was left thinking that the whole story was just average.

Other than the main mystery of the fire, there are several other things going on from potential paranormal aspects to cults and mysterious events that happened years before the fire. There is a lot of detail given and yet not a lot at the same time. THE DEAD HOUSE is a weird little novel that I liked but didn’t love and maybe it is one that I should re-read to see if its one of those stories that makes more sense the more its read. Although, I really don’t have a whole heck of a lot of desire to re-read this one. THE DEAD HOUSE wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I was expecting either and so maybe that’s part of where my disappointment comes in. If you liked mixed media and ghost stories then maybe you’ll like this one too.

irishdarkblue

IR - Dead House

Add The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender to Goodreads.

Add Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Friday, April 1, 2016

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

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

Review: Bloodlines by Richelle MeadBloodlines by Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines,
Published by Razorbill on 23 August 2011
Genres: Abduction, Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Friendship, Mystery & Detective, Paranormal, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 421
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice

Place(s) Traveled To: Palm Springs, California

First Line(s): I couldn’t breathe.

BLOODLINES is the first book in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy spinoff series and focuses on alchemist Sydney who we meet in those books. As the events in this book directly relate to how LAST SACRIFICE (my review) ends I strongly suggest that you read the Vampire Academy books before moving on to BLOODLINES. In the Vampire Academy books I wasn’t a huge fan of Syndney so I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy a series that revolved around her and so was a little reluctant in picking these books up. But friends I know and trust say that this series is better than Vampire Academy so I thought why not take the plunge now that I’ve finally finished VA and this series is fully available in stores.

As a first book in a series, even a spinoff series, I found BLOODLINES to be really slow. It took a bit to find its groove even though there were many returning characters from the Vampire Academy books. There were also some new ones introduced and they were complete douche nozzles and I just wanted to set fire to those pages. Like for real, Sydney’s dad and the ‘golden boy’ Keith were terrible terrible characters who frustrated me so much that I almost DNF’d this book because of them. I don’t expect all characters to be likeable but my stars at least have some potential for redemption! But its really had to come back from being an asshole so I think we are stuck with them as they are. *le sigh*

Bloodlines Quote

There were many things in BLOODLINES that I found really predictable and so when the big reveals happened I was left underwhelmed. I also thought that the main plot lines/mysteries were very anticlimatic in how they were wrapped up and dealt with. So much time was spent on the tattoos that these normal teenagers were getting and then instead of a bang it was all resolved in a wee little poof. Not even a poof….more of a puh. And then the story dragged on longer than I expected it to with other big moments that really weren’t ending in what I think was supposed to be a mic drop moment but left me going…eh, why do I care?

The main bright light in this book was Adrian, I adored him as always and I kind of hate how he’s tied to Jill. That kind of squicks me out a bit since there is such an age and personality difference between them. I also really liked how Adrian and Sydney interacted with each other. She added some grounding that he needed and he made her character a lot less annoying that she’d been in previous books. I do also think it helped a bit that we got this story from her POV but she’s still not a favorite character of mine. Nor is BLOODLINES a favorite book that I’ve read. I was left underwhelmed and I don’t know when or even if I’ll continue with this series.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Bloodlines

Add Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill to Goodreads.

Add City of Bones by Cassandra Clare to Goodreads.

three-stars
Divider

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Review, Young Adult1 Comment

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle MeadSpirit Bound by Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy,
Also in this series: , Last Sacrifice
Published by Razorbill on 18 May 2010
Genres: Dating & Sex, Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Politics & Intrigue, Romance, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 512
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Last Sacrifice, Bloodlines

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairbanks, Alaska // Unnamed, Montana // Bethleham, Pennsylvania // Las Vegas, Nevada // Unnamed, Pennsylvania

First Line(s): There’s a big difference between death threats and love letters – even if the person writing the death threats still claims to actually love you.

I first discovered the Vampire Academy series in late 2009 and found myself quickly devouring all the books that were out. Then I had to wait for Spirit Bound and I was nervous and antsy and rushed out to my local Borders (RIP pretty book store) and snapped up a copy the day it was released. But then I realized there would be a wait until the last book would be released and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle it so I held off reading until I had a pretty copy of Last Sacrifice sitting on my bookshelf. AND that’s where my fear of endings started to take hold of me because once I read the last two books in this series then they would be over. That’s it. No more Rose. No more Lissa. No more Dimitri. And I. COULD. NOT. HANDLE. THAT. So I ignored the books and knew in my heart of hearts that all was well as this series wasn’t over just yet. At least, not for me.

Then earlier this year I was looking for a book and stumbled over Spirit Bound and it looked so sad sitting on the shelf unread and I thought that maybe now was the time to finish this series. Or at least, get one step closer to finishing. So I picked it up, dusted it off, and after five years of waiting I cracked open its pages and was sucked back into this world. Oh how I missed this world and these characters and just everything about it. I was mad at myself for waiting so long to read but I think that the wait made it all better and I savored the words more as a result. You might think that it would be hard to pick up a series after five years and I will admit there were a few things I didn’t remember. But Richelle Mead’s little reminders in the text on the backstory quickly cleared up any issues I had. For while I may be terrible with names and faces I have an excellent memory for things I’ve read.

Spirit Bound Quote

Spirit Bound was filled with action and feels and I found it hard to put down once I picked it up. This story finds Rose graduating from school and starting her adult Dhampir life. There are threats all around her and she’s reeling from a bad break up (to put it mildly) and trying to move on with someone new. And oh my stars was I not so happy about that at first but then I accepted and cheered and had my heart broke. Because evil authors are evil and Richelle Mead really knows how to write stories and characters that you get invested in. Though the worst part of this whole book was its ending. That was just so very evil!! Not Orphan Queen (my review) level of evil but bad enough to make me glad that I didn’t read this one right when it came out. I would have struggled with the wait to learn what happens in Last Sacrifice after that.

Let’s also just pause for a moment and think on the title, Last Sacrifice, I just…I just can’t. So it should come as no surprise that I haven’t picked that one up yet. But I want to because I need to know what happens to Rose next because seriously….that ending! Those final words!!! Killer!!! I’m still struggling with my endings phobia but I think that soon. Very soon. I’ll be able to give that one a go. After all I do have the Bloodlines series to keep me warm and living in the Vampire Academy world.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Spirit Academy

 

Add Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

four-stars
Divider

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Review: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Middle Grade, Review0 Comments

Review: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon HaleThe Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
Series: Ever After High,
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on 08 October 2013
Genres: Adaptation, Adolescence, Books & Libraries, Fairy Tales, Folklore, & Legends, Fantasy, Friendship, Girls & Women, Middle Grade, Royalty, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 305
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Place(s) Traveled To: Fairy-Tale World

First Line(s): Once upon a new school year, Raven Queen was packing.

The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale is the first book in the Ever After High series which was created by the same people who did Monster High and is a spin off of sorts. Though instead of “monsters” this story is filled with the children of the fairy tales we grew up listening to. We quickly learn that all the children in this story have a destiny that they need to fulfill and that destiny is to live out their fairy tale story as written and as determined by the Storybook of Legends. If your mother was an Evil Queen then you are supposed to grow up to be one too, even if you don’t feel so very evil. Which is Raven Queen’s dilemma as the new school year starts. This is her legacy year, the year she signs the book of Legends and seals her fate. Only she doesn’t want to be evil and wonders just what will happen if she doesn’t sign the book after all.

Along the way you meet her friends and a girl named Apple White, the daughter of Snow White, and the girl that Raven is supposed to grow up and poison so she can have her happily ever after. Apple is supposed to be good but what I love about this book is that the lines are blurred between good and evil and just because someone is perceived to be good doesn’t mean that they are. I really liked how fun and imaginative this story was and I did so enjoy the youtube cartoon tie-in as well. I liked all of the characters and the mystery that was contained in its pages. It was a fun fairy tale retelling and one in which I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

 

Storybook of Legends Quote

While I enjoyed the story I did get a little frustrated at times because I couldn’t understand why if each fairy tale character had two parents then why did Raven have to follow her mother’s path when her father was a good king. And what about the fairy tale characters that had multiple children? How do their stories play out as if there are 3 girls then they can’t all be Cinderella, can they? And just what happens if you don’t follow your destiny but instead forge your own path? These are all questions that I hope get answered as the series moves on. But for now, I was happy with it and do think that younger readers will enjoy it as well.

 

irishdarkblue

 

IR - Storybook of Legends

Add The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy to Goodreads. (Click Here for my review)

Add Kat, Incorrigable by Stephanie Burgis to Goodreads. (Click Here for my review.)

three-half-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

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