Mon, January 12, 2015

Adieu

Dear friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you I’ve decided to step away from book blogging.

This four-and-a-half-year experience has forever altered me for the better, and I thank you all wholeheartedly for that.

Thank you to the publishing community for your partnership and the many once-in-a-lifetime experiences you’ve given me. You have taught me so much and I am forever grateful for your support.

Thank you to the many authors who have shared their stories with me, especially those who have contributed posts to this blog. I hope you know how very much your work is appreciated and that while your relationship with some book bloggers can be contentious, most of us do this out of pure love, pure love.

Thank you to my fellow book bloggers, past and present. You are my people and I love you. Please be good to each other.

Thank you to my readers for caring about what I have to say, for the book recommendations and for helping to bring my hobby to life. You’ve made reading an active, exciting, participatory experience, and I so appreciate that.

Part of the reason I’ve decided to step back is that I feel I’ve been less creative for you, and you’ve been less responsive to me in the past year or so as a result. I totally get that. That, combined with the increasing negativity in the community, means it’s time for me to try something new.

Don’t forget I’m still there to talk books on Twitter and Goodreads — and I have a week of reviews still scheduled through next Monday. But I’ll miss you. Work hard. Be nice. And remember that life is too short for rude people, negative thinking and bad books.

Happy reading.

xoxo2-1

PS: Marcus Flutie 4-eva.

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me
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Mon, January 19, 2015

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Review

Red Queen book cover

Red Queen book cover

Red Queen
By Victoria Aveyard
Publication date: Feb. 10, 2015
Orion, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

— Goodreads.com description

This dystopian/fantasy mix was a bit formulaic, but still quite enjoyable.

Things I enjoyed: Betrayal! I think it’s fun when you don’t know which characters to trust. And I liked how the book got me thinking about some ethical dilemmas — how far is too far? If it’ll help you stop the bad guys, is it okay to torture? To kill?

Interesting stuff.

I also liked the superpowers — very X-Men/Shatter Me.

But, some issues I had: It involves the type of love triangle that, as I wrote in my notes, “grosses you out and you hate but you also sorta get.” Know what I mean? Sigh.

I also didn’t love the book’s title — Red Queen. It misled me into assuming certain things would happen plot-wise, and I kept waiting and waiting, but no dice. And a few plot points (like quickie, too-good-to-be-true disguises) were too far-fetched.

Let’s put it this way: It’s totally readable…but if we were in the bookstore together, I would probably tell you you’re better off reading The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski if you’re in the mood for something like this. (Read my review)

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: dystopian, fantasy, victoria aveyard
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Sun, January 18, 2015

I’ll Meet You There Review

I'll Meet You There book cover

I'll Meet You There book cover

I’ll Meet You There
By Heather Demetrios
Publication date: Feb. 3, 2015
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 400 pages
Source: Publisher

If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

— Goodreads.com description

Gahhhh the romance in I’ll Meet You There is slow burn goodness.

I don’t have a personal relationship to the military, but I loved the portrayal here — it felt very real and authentic, respectful and well-researched. But holy hell it’s painful to read about Josh, his PTSD and his war injuries.

And it’s painful to read about Skylar’s poverty.

But it’s damn good.

This book is insanely well done and emotional. I was so impressed, and doubly so when I read the author’s note at the end about her inspiration and the research she put into telling this story. I’m looking up Heather Demetrios’ other books stat, because if they are as good as this one? Wow.

LOVED IT. Beyond recommended, especially for older-skewing YA readers.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: heather demetrios, mental health, poverty, romance
2

Sat, January 17, 2015

Geek Girl by Holly Smale Review

Geek Girl book cover

Geek Girl book cover

Geek Girl
By Holly Smale
Publication date: Jan. 27, 2015
HarperTeen, 384 pages
Source:

Geek + runway = a hilarious runaway hit! This bestselling UK debut is full of humor and high-fashion hijinks—and now it’s coming to America.

Harriet Manners is tired of being labeled a geek. So when she’s discovered by a modeling agent, she seizes the chance to reinvent herself. There’s only one problem: Harriet is the definition of awkward. Does she have what it takes to transform from geek to chic?

Geek Girl is the first book in a hilarious new trilogy. It was also the #1 bestselling YA debut of 2013 in the UK, where it was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Best Book for Teens. With all the humor and fabulous shenanigans of Louise Rennison’s Confessions of Georgia Nicolson and Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, Geek Girl is about to become an international superstar.

— Goodreads.com description

This quirky book made me laugh, so on that alone you know I’ll read the rest of the Geek Girl trilogy!

I liked Harriet’s relationship with her parents: her funny dad and how she takes after her stepmother. There’s a cute romance and a female friendship that, yeah, includes some major fighting, but stays strong through it all.

And I liked the message about being yourself. It’s something I really feel strongly about. I loved this quote:

“You need to stop caring what people who don’t matter think of you. Be who you are and let everyone else be who they are. Differences are a good thing. It would be a terribly boring world if we were all the same.”

Still, it was a bit too simple for me to totally fall in OMG WOW love with. There was one particular character who totally annoyed me and creeped me out and I had time getting over. I’d probably recommend it for younger teens — not quite middle grade readers anymore, but not quite ready for full-on mature YA.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, friendship, holly smale, romance
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Fri, January 16, 2015

Love, Lucy by April Lindner Review

Love, Lucy book cover

Love, Lucy book cover

Love, Lucy
By April Lindner
Publication date: Jan. 27, 2015
Poppy, 304 pages
Source: Publisher

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food…and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her “vacation flirtation.” But just because summer is over doesn’t mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.

— Goodreads.com description

Oh, how I adore a travel book. Love, Lucy captured my heart when I realized it would encourage girl readers to get out there and explore. I am a huge traveler now, but I wish I’d been more comfortable exploring at a younger age. If only I’d had books like this! It’s a great story about following your passions.

I haven’t read A Room with a View — which this book is apparently based on — so a lot was probably lost on me. Fortunately, it didn’t have any impact on my reading…unfortunately, it just means you’re not gonna get a deeper analysis from little ole me.

It won’t make it to the tippy-top of my Travel Books I Love list (that belongs to Wanderlove and Just One Day), but it’s still a great read if you love this type of book as much as me!

But, oh, PS: Be prepared for a major girl fight. It made me so uncomfortable! I hate when lady friends fight!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: april lindner, romance, travel
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Thu, January 15, 2015

On the Edge by Allison van Diepen Review

On the Edge book cover

On the Edge book cover

On the Edge
By Allison van Diepen
Publication date: Nov. 25, 2014
HarperTeen, 304 pages
Source: Publisher

From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami’s gangs.

Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back.

But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?

On the Edge is a compelling story about fighting for what’s right and figuring out where you belong. The novel showcases a gritty, realistic voice and earth–shattering romance that will intrigue readers of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin and captivate fans of Allison van Diepen’s other novels.

— Goodreads.com description

Ahhh, I don’t know about this one. It was totally readable and I had no problem finishing it. And I think those of you who love gritty, angsty NA kind of stories would like this one.

But here were some of the negative comments I wrote down while reading:
– No heart
– Judgey/insensitive toward anti-anxiety medications
– Too “this, then that”
– Glorifies gang activity when it’s “for the right reasons”
– Illegal activity and brutality

I don’t know, maybe I was in a MOOD when I read this, but it just rubbed me the wrong way. Have any of you guys read this? I’d really be curious what you thought and if I’m in the minority here!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: allison van diepen, gangs, romance
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