Tue, August 19, 2014

A Stephanie Perkins Tour Guide


To celebrate the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After, I’m joining in on the #IslaIsComing blog tour and taking you on a tour of my own — to the settings of the books. I’ve been blessed to visit each of the major cities our beloved characters visit and thought it’d be fun to share some tips, some pictures, some quotes…enjoy!


“The only French word I know is oui, which means “yes,” and only recently did I learn it’s spelled o-​u-​i and not w-​e-​e.”
― Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

“The serpentine river and crumbling cathedrals and sprawling palaces and everything, yes, everything is visible from here.”
― Stephanie Perkins, Isla and the Happily Ever After

Eiffel Sprawling

What to eat

Coffee — there’s no better way to people watch than to sit in a Parisian cafe, where the chairs face out to the streets and it’s completely expected for you to stare as crowds go by.


What to see

The view of the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.


What to do

Download some Rick Steves, plug your headphones in, and let him take you on a private tour of some of the world’s best museums.


“I am trying really hard not to use the word ‘fabulous’ right now.”
― Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door


What to eat

Ghiradelli Chocolate, of course. But you’ve also gotta have an In-N-Out burger, animal style.

SF Full House

What to see

The neighborhoods. And, okay, the Full House house. As Lola taught us, SF is full of quirk. Explore that quirk for yourself!


What to do

Hike! Okay, so my own hike failed because I’m a flatland city girl and my heels couldn’t handle the incline. But still! Next time! So here’s a view from Coit Tower instead.



What to eat

Pizza. Pizzapizzapizzapizza. Pizza so big you have to fold it in half to fit it in your mouth.


What to see

Everything. Drinks on a rooftop — Manhattan or the boroughs — is always a good way to take in the view.


What to do

See a Broadway show. Go shopping. Traipse around Central Park. Visit some museums. Pick an neighborhood and explore the shops.


“The jumble of the city stretches to every corner of the horizon, sharp rectangles of brown and gray and yellow and red. Towering above it all are the spires and construction cranes of Sagrada Familia, but directly below us, there’s a seemingly endless path winding its way down through a landscape of Mediterranean greens.”
― Stephanie Perkins, Isla and the Happily Ever After


What to eat

Haha! More like what to DRINK! Sangria, sangria, sangria.


What to see

Sagrada Família, a gorgeous Roman Catholic church designed by Gaudí. Actually, the more Gaudí you see in Barcelona, the better.


What to do

Wander. Are you starting to see a pattern here?

My favorite thing to do when I travel is to explore. Immerse yourself in the city and let yourself get lost. That’s why I love these books so much — Stephanie Perkins has a beautiful way of immersing us in her settings. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff.


(Me, lost in Paris.)

Happy wandering, happy reading.


PS: Click the links below to read my reviews of the books…
Anna and the French Kiss
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Isla and the Happily Ever After

Tour Schedule:
Anna and the French Kiss
7/31 – Paper Riot (Anna Readalong Kick-Off)
8/01 – Novel Sounds
8/04 – The Book Addict’s Guide
8/05 – Alexa Loves Books
8/06 – A Bookish Sinister Kid

Lola and the Boy Next Door
8/07 – Cuddlebuggery (Lola Readalong Kick-Off)
8/07 – GReads!
8/09 – Book Revels
8/12 – Rather Be Reading
8/13 – Finding Bliss in Books

Isla and the Happily Ever After
8/14 – The Perpetual Page-Turner (Isla Readalong Kick-Off)
8/15 – AndiABCs
8/18 – Writer of Wrongs
8/19 – Anna Reads
8/20 – Good Books and Good Wine

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me, stephanie perkins

Mon, August 18, 2014

Four Years of Anna Reads

In the scale of life’s dramas, it’s nothing. But, let’s be honest: It can be damn hard to run a blog.

There are technical glitches and jealousy (no matter how silly that is) and stats to watch and overcommitments and books you just plain hate and creativity blocks and paranoia that zero comments means no one likes you. It can feel like you’re putting a piece of yourself out there for the world to see…but no one is noticing.

But today, in reflecting on four years of AnnaReads.com, I’m making a commitment to forget all of that and focus on my overwhelming gratitude for what this journey has brought me.

There’s a quote I think about often: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” My battles my be small, but your kindness has a huge impact on them. I hope you know how much every comment, tweet, email and follow brightens up my days.

Thank you for four years of books, friendship and support. It’s staggering the people, joy, amazement and opportunity this silly little book blog has brought into my life. To everyone reading this: Thank you.


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Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me

Fri, August 15, 2014

This Week in Review – Aug. 15


what i did

Um, what didn’t I do over the past two weeks? They’ve been super busy, especially in terms of housework. We rewired our dining room and put up this cool new chandelier:

photo 1

That’s me enjoying a beer with my friend Jake afterward — let’s be honest, he did most of the hard labor.

And we also got this CRAZY big new couch.

photo 2

And re-landscaped our front yard. Soooo yeah. LOTS OF WORK.

links i loved

Frozen’ Director Jennifer Lee to Adapt ‘A Wrinkle in Time’

In a Balm of Space and Time, Healing
Just when you think you can’t love Gayle Forman any more…her If I Stay origin story.

50 Signs You’re Addicted to Reading
True. So, so true.

New Adult: A Book Category For Twentysomethings by Twentysomethings
I thought this article was a really interesting look at NA — well worth the read.

books i added to my shelves

OK, maybe I went a little crazy at my library’s book sale. Books were 50 cents! HOW COULD I NOT? It’s sort of a big deal — the line to get in was all the way down the block!

photo 3

Here’s my YA stash:

photo 4

I’ve actually read most of these but never owned my own copies till now! Oh! And Sixteen a compilation of stories that includes A JESSICA DARLING STORY I NEVER KNEW EXISTED. And I called myself a fan! Sigh!

All of the Harry Potter books
All-American Girl by Meg Cabot (LOVE)
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Losing It by Cora Carmack
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Then, Tara and I went a little loco and bought up a BUNCH of romance novels. I mean, at 50 cents…why not?!

photo 2


On to the real stuff…

From Jamie:




For my Kindle (thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin):

Sway by Kat Spears book coverMy True Love Gave to Me book cover

Sway by Kat Spears
My True Love Gave to Me, holiday stories by YA authors compiled by Stephanie Perkins

In the mail:


365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Book of Precepts by R.J. Palacio
Sublime by Christina Lauren
The Time Fetch by Amy Herrick
Taken by David Massey

Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Algonquin Young Readers and Chicken House!

books i read

The big one: Last week I got an early copy of Isla & the Happily Ever After from a VERY generous book friend. So I read and devoured that immediately. (read my review)

photo 3

I also read:
The Fever by Megan Abbott (book club pick!)
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (read my review)
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (read my review)
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley (enjoyed, but more to come on that later)
Losing It by Cora Carmack (didn’t love it as much as I wanted to — so it goes with me & NA)

Also worth noting: I did the math, and I am reading books at a rate of half a book per day so far this year. GOODNESS.

other fun stuff:


I got this for my car:


And this case for my phone to highlight my Pride & Prejudice love:


I think the irony of who is saying the highlighted quote is hilarious…I really hope the people who made thing did it in a tongue-in-cheek way vs. ignorant. I think it’s funny to REAL P&P fans.

Hope your week went well. TGIF!


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Posted by: Anna   •   In: this week

Thu, August 14, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins Review

Isla and the Happily Ever After book cover

Isla and the Happily Ever After book cover

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)
By Stephanie Perkins
Publication date: Aug. 14, 2014
Dutton, 339 pages
Source: Borrowed the galley from a lovely book friend

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

— Goodreads.com description


GOOD feelings (albeit complex) for those of you who were concerned. I’m happy to report that Isla and the Happily Ever After is well worth our wait for it.

Because I fail at organizing my thoughts, here they are at random:

- Stephanie Perkins is hilarious

- I loved Kurt

- I will never ever ever send my kids to boarding school

- This book is more ADULT than I remember the other being and yes I mean that in the ALL CAPS way

- Barcelona is described perfectly; Stephanie Perkins so wonderfully captures setting in her stories

- Josh cries a lot (not judging, just observing)

- The romance is really overwrought, but um, that’s sort of the point; I mean, look at the title of the book

- There were about 100 things about the book and the romance specifically that, as I said above, would have driven me INSANE were it not so damn well done

- Most of this was a big ole case of Old Lady Syndrome, especially when Etienne and Anna came back into the picture

- But again, it was like “This should be bothering me but it ISN’T so maybe Stephanie Perkins is a sorcerer because I don’t know what else explains it”

- PS: I don’t remember Cricket and Lola being so OUT THERE; I still love them best

- Even though I definitely don’t love some of her other characters, Stephanie is so fantastic at making me “get” them — which I think it more important than loving them

Wow. This was probably a very un-useful review if you couldn’t follow my train of thought. To sum up: Did I love every little thing? No. Did I love the sum of those parts? Absolutely. If you wanted to you could pick it apart, but the writing is so superb and the tone so perfect that it overwhelms anything else. You guys will not be disappointed.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: boarding school, romance, stephanie perkins, travel

Wed, August 13, 2014

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid Review

Let's Get Lost book cover

Let's Get Lost book cover

Let’s Get Lost
By Adi Alsaid
Publication date: July 29, 2014
Harlequin Teen, 352 pages
Source: A gift from my friend DJ! Thank you, sir!

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

— Goodreads.com description

I love road trip books. I love love love them.

And Let’s Get Lost was a unique one — instead of just following Leila on her road trip to see the Northern Lights, the story follows four people she meets and whose lives she touches along the way.

It’s quite lovely how it shows the impact you can have on someone’s life if you are as open-minded and as giving of your time as Leila. And I love her spirit — she’s a force, that girl!

But we didn’t get to know her at all until the very end, which made her too manicpixiedreamgirl for my tastes. I am just not into that. And then when we did get to know her…her story was so far-fetched and underdeveloped that it didn’t sit well with me.

I was definitely a fan of the spirit of this book and the creativity in its telling, but my lack of connection to Leila meant I didn’t love love love it.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: adi alsaid, road trip