Tue, October 28, 2014

Loop by Karen Akins Review + Giveaway

Loop book cover

Loop book cover

Loop
By Karen Akins
Publication date: Oct. 21, 2014
St. Martins Griffin, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him back to the 23rd century with her.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues—a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium—that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

— Goodreads.com description

Oh man, I adore time travel books, and this series is off to a great start.

Time travel books often focus on the scientific elements, on the many layers of time travel paradox or on traveling to ancient times. I like that Loop hit a real sweet spot for me I’m going to call “contemporary time travel” aka totally readable and more relatable/modern than your typical time travel novel…think more along the lines of Tamara Ireland Stone’s Time Between Us series.

Loved the futuristic gadgets and terminology, was ALL ABOUT the romance, was as surprised as the author wanted me to be by all the big revelations. As a reviewer I saw on Goodreads put it, it’s “light but not fluffy.”

As with many time travel books, the switches between the future and the present left me dying to understand all the good stuff that happened in the middle to turn present Bree into future Bree. Can’t wait for more!

Want to check it out for yourself? Enter below for a chance to win your own copy. Sorry international friends, this one is U.S. only because I am not made of money and, you know, postage. Whomp wha!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: karen akins, time travel
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Mon, October 27, 2014

Mini Reviews – Adult Books

I just plowed through a few adult books, and wanted to share my thoughts!

The Goldfinch book cover

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

About the book:

It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

As an adult, Theo moves silkily between the drawing rooms of the rich and the dusty labyrinth of an antiques store where he works. He is alienated and in love-and at the center of a narrowing, ever more dangerous circle.

The Goldfinch is a novel of shocking narrative energy and power. It combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmerizing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher’s calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.

My thoughts: LONG. But good long. There were such strong and interesting characters in this book that I just couldn’t put it down and was totally engrossed in their insane lives. The writing was fabulous — I could picture it all and just felt like I was really “there” throughout the book. My only downside? The ending was a total clunker. Whomp wha.

The Rosie Project book cover

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

About the book:

An international sensation, this hilarious, feel-good novel is narrated by an oddly charming and socially challenged genetics professor on an unusual quest: to find out if he is capable of true love.

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

The Rosie Project is a moving and hilarious novel for anyone who has ever tenaciously gone after life or love in the face of overwhelming challenges.

My thoughts: Funny and awkward and moving, this novel was a total win for me. Highly, highly recommended, especially for anyone who likes books like Attachments. The sequel comes out at the end of December and a movie is in the works. Again: SO GOOD.

The Fever book cover

The Fever by Megan Abbott

About the book:

The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie’s best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town’s fragile idea of security.

A chilling story about guilt, family secrets and the lethal power of desire, The Fever affirms Megan Abbot’s reputation as “one of the most exciting and original voices of her generation” (Laura Lippman).

My thoughts: One of those book club books that sounded great in the description but didn’t deliver at all. The plot was slowwwww-moving and a lot of things that seemed cool or could lead to crazy plot points just never went anywhere. A big bummer.

The Dinner book cover

The Dinner by Herman Koch

About the book:

A summer’s evening in Amsterdam and two couples meet at a fashionable restaurant. Between mouthfuls of food and over the delicate scraping of cutlery, the conversation remains a gentle hum of politeness – the banality of work, the triviality of holidays. But the empty words hide a terrible conflict and, with every forced smile and every new course, the knives are being sharpened… Each couple has a fifteen-year-old son. Together, the boys have committed a horrifying act, caught on camera, and their grainy images have been beamed into living rooms across the nation; despite a police manhunt, the boys remain unidentified – by everyone except their parents. As the dinner reaches its culinary climax, the conversation finally touches on their children and, as civility and friendship disintegrate, each couple shows just how far they are prepared to go to protect those they love.

My thoughts: If you are looking for something to read after Gone Girl, The Dinner is a great one to try. It’s got the same slow-revealing plot but (unlike The Fever) totally pays off as things are revealed. And it’s pretty disturbing/twisty. So it’s hard to say it’s the type of book you say you love…but definitely worth the read for the ride it takes you on.

Have you read any great adult book lately? Any recommendations for me or titles to stay away from? Happy reading!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: donna tartt, graeme simsion, herman koch, megan abbott, mini reviews
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Fri, October 24, 2014

This Week in Review – Oct. 24

thisweekinreview

what i did

LOTS! I went to California to visit my sister/brother-in-law/nephew.

I had a clothes swap with my ladyfriends:

IMG_6613

We do these two or three times a year and I HIGHLY recommend them. What we do is we each clean out our closets, then haul our bags over to my friend Courey’s house. We talk, drink, have a baked potato bar, then get to digging in.

We separate the clothes by pants/skirts/dresses/sweaters/etc. then go through and hold up each piece Vanna White style. First to speak up is first to try it on. Then, we have a little fashion show and any items that rejected are thrown back in again for the pickin’.

It actually works better than you think even though we’re all different sizes, because oftentimes the reason we’re giving up the clothes is it’s too tight/loose/etc. to begin with. So. Much. Fun.

IMG_6630

We had some Book & Wine Club action too. This month we read The Dinner by Herman Koch, which is slow building and disturbing and great for anyone who liked Gone Girl.

And now I’m off to the next round of trips: Nashville and Vegas. Will check back in soon!

links i loved

PEEEETAAAA!

(AKA: Did you see the new Hunger Games trailer?)

Speaking of trailers: The trailer for the Morganville Vampires Web series is out! It premieres Oct. 27 and I gotta say, it looks better than I thought it would for a Web series.

books i added to my shelves

Let’s see: For my Kindle I got Most Likely to Succeed by Jennifer Echols (thank you, Simon Pulse) and I got a silly romance novel from the library.

In the mail…

Photo

The kind folks at Scholastic shared with me the entire Raven Cycle series. You guys are big fans of this one, right? Let me know!

Plus:
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Shutter by Courtney Alameda
Save Me by Jenny Elliott
Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #2)

Thanks to Harper Teen, Feiwel & Friends, Swoon Reads and Disney Press!

books i read

Many of these are coming your way soon as reviews…
Loop by Karen Akins
Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Black Ice by Becca Fitzgerald
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Stay with Me by J. Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout
The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
The Dinner by Herman Koch
Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

Can you tell I’ve had a lot of airport reading time???

halloween giveaway

And last but not least…it’s almost Halloween time, and you know what that means. Tricks? Treats? Nope. SCARY BOOKS!

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers has four great titles for Halloween and I’m excited to give you the chance to win all four!

The giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada and includes these books:
Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga (Jasper Dent #3 – OMG SO GOOD serial killer books)
Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper (witches!)
Unmarked by Kami Garcia (The Legion #2 – ghosts/spirits!)
The Young World by Chris Weitz (mystery sickness that isn’t ebola but sounds scary too!)

AHHHHH! Check the widget below for info on how to win these spooky reads. Happy reading and Happy Halloween, my pretties!

xoxo2-1

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 2.29.21 PM[1]

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31

Thu, October 23, 2014

Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle Review

Famous in Love book cover

Famous in Love book cover

Famous in Love (Famous in Love #1)
By Rebecca Serle
Publication date: Oct. 21, 2014
Poppy, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen.

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…

When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.

— Goodreads.com description

Eep, I keep mixing up this book in my head with Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan!

I loved the concept on this one — how Paige is plucked from obscurity and thrown into stardom and how that affects her current relationships and point of view.

Paige is cast as the star in a movie based on a book trilogy…and I hear Rebecca Serle is going to write that book next. What a fun twist!

As for the book itself, I liked the behind-the-scenes setting, but I just didn’t get Paige’s romantic motivations. It was a love triangle of the roughest kind: blurred lines, maybe cheating, and an odd ending I still haven’t processed.

So: Good concept, fun meta book-in-a-book thing, Hollywood setting. But, blech love triangle and iffy ending. TORN!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: celebrity, rebecca serle
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Wed, October 22, 2014

The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris Review

The Fine Art of Pretending book cover

The Fine Art of Pretending book cover

The Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending #1)
By Rachel Harris
Publication date: Sept. 30, 2014
Spencer Hill Contemporary, 256 pages
Source: Publisher

According to the guys at Fairfield Academy, there are two types of girls: the kind you hook up with, and the kind you’re friends with. Seventeen-year-old Alyssa Reed is the second type. And she hates it. With just one year left to change her rank, she devises a plan to become the first type by homecoming, and she sets her sights on the perfect date—Justin Carter, Fairfield Academy’s biggest hottie and most notorious player.

With 57 days until the dance, Aly launches Operation Sex Appeal and sheds her tomboy image. The only thing left is for Justin actually to notice her. Enter best friend Brandon Taylor, the school’s second biggest hottie, and now Aly’s pretend boyfriend. With his help, elevating from “funny friend” to “tempting vixen” is only a matter of time.

But when everything goes according to plan, the inevitable “break up” leaves their friendship in shambles, and Aly and Brandon with feelings they can’t explain. And the fake couple discovers pretending can sometimes cost you the one thing you never expected to want.

— Goodreads.com description

Well, I can’t relate to Aly on the surface: I am not good at being friends with dudes. I never had a lot of guy friends…only my girl friend’s boyfriends or my boyfriends’ boy friends.

But, you don’t have to be “just one of the guys” to connect to Aly’s plight — trying to get people to notice you in a new, open way is an all-out toughie. So I enjoyed the comedy and romance of watching Aly try to stumble through that.

Important to note: This book is crazy predictable. Also important to note: When I’m in the mood for a book like this, I couldn’t care less about predictability. If you’re feeling critical — ALERT ALERT — this book is not for you.

Anytime I started to think critically about this one I did get irked, as I do with any makeover story (cough She’s All That cough). I mean, if it takes a makeover (looks AND personality) for a guy to notice you, is he really the guy you want? I don’t know.

Regardless, it’s cute. Don’t think too deeply about it, and you’ll have a fun time reading it. But also don’t expect a WOW.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: rachel harris, romance
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