Thu, October 16, 2014

My True Love Gave to Me Review

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories book cover

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories book cover

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
Edited by Stephanie Perkins
Publication date: Oct. 14, 2014
St. Martin’s Press, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

— Goodreads.com description

There are 12 AWESOME stories in this book, and I wrote down my thoughts as I read…and I didn’t even edit them. Yeah! UNFILTERED REVIEW!

Rainbow Rowell:
Oh sweet Jesus that is some hot stuff. Kicking it off with a bang. If the whole book is this good…gah.

Kelly Link:
I have to Google who this is. A very mysterious story and I don’t get the ending but I like it. I want to know more.

Matt de la Peña:
Sweet. Made me feel thankful, which is a very X-massy thing. Why haven’t I read his books yet? Must remedy this.

Jenny Han:
ELVES! THIS STORY IS ABOUT ELVES! What! Jenny Han, who are you?! Also: Ahhh, the heartbreak begins. There you are, Jenny. It was only a matter of time before this book took a heartache turn…so good, though. Bittersweet! Can this be a Hallmark Channel holiday movie?

Mid-book thought: Can this book please never end?

Stephanie Perkins:
Sooooo her. Love her characters. And their makeouts.

David Levithan:
Ahhh, it reminds me of the uncertainty that comes with being a teenager.

Holly Black:
I should have read this book without knowing who wrote what and then guessed. This felt very Holly Black to me. Strange, but enjoyable.

Gayle Forman:
Finding myself dissatisfied that short stories means so little time with the characters. But I’m enjoying that the writers still get me to latch on to them and CARE so quickly.

Myra McEntire
Another sweet one. I like that she did a boy point-of-view.

Kiersten White:
I’m running out of ways to say these stories are “cute.” Again, I want to know more about these characters!!!

Ally Carter:
I liked the Hollywood stuff. These stories are going too fast!

Laini Taylor:
Again, I wish I’d read this blind. I think I’d know this was her in a heartbeat. Quirky ancient world-building.

OMG WHY IS THIS BOOK OVER I WANT 12 MORE STORIES AT LEAST.

Okay, so good. Read this. The end.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Fri, July 18, 2014

Mini Reviews

So many reviews, so little time!

For some reason, I never got around to doing full reviews on these books, but wanted to share my brief thoughts with you. Thus, “Mini Reviews” (aka, Anna Is Lazy)!

Fixing Delilah book cover

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

About the book:

Things in Delilah Hannaford’s life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can’t seem to keep it together anymore. Her “boyfriend” isn’t much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family’s painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

Rich with emotion, Sarah Ockler delivers a powerful story of family, love, and self-discovery.

My thoughts: A lovely book, and one I’m sad it took me so long to read! The writing was gorgeous, and I totally cried. Loved the family and friendship dynamics. It’s a contemporary I’d HIGHLY recommend.

Landline book cover

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

About the book:

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

My thoughts: Definitely not the Rainbow Rowell you associate with YA, which is fine by me, but probably not a good fit for actual young adults. It’s a quite dark story about the difficulties of marriage. Her writing is as sharp as ever, but I think you should definitely keep the tone and content in mind!

Sabriel book cover

Sabriel by Garth Nix

About the book:

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

My thoughts: Everyone loves this book, but like Tamora Pierce’s stories, it just didn’t pop for me. I think it’s the type of book I would have ADORED at, say, age 12. But it just came to me too late in life, I’m afraid.

Strange and Ever After book cover

Strange and Ever After by Susan Dennard (Something Strange and Deadly #3)

About the book:

In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus…all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.

My thoughts: The gothic/steampunk setting for this series never really worked for me. It’s just not my thing. But I like Dennard’s writing and thoroughly enjoy following her on Twitter, so I’m glad I gave it a go. I’m just hoping her next books have a setting/theme/topic a little more appealing to me. It’s not you, book, it’s me!

The Sound of Letting Go book cover

The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Kehoe Ward

About the book:

For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave.

But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?

My thoughts: I remember adoring the writing, but I actually remember very little of the plot specifics. If you love verse novels, I’d say absolutely read this one. It was quite well done. But because of my fuzziness on the plot, I wouldn’t start here if you’re new to the genre.

Have you read any of these books?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Thu, September 12, 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Review

Fangirl book cover

Fangirl book cover

Fangirl
By Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: Sept. 10, 2013
St. Martin’s Press, 433 pages
Source: Publisher

From the author the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

— Goodreads.com description

I adore Rainbow Rowell. Everything about her stories — from Attachments to Eleanor and Park and now Fangirl — feels so FRESH.

Fangirl is a particularly lovely story, taking on the challenges of college in a much more realistic way than any of the other “new adult” novels I’ve read lately. It’s not an easy transition for anyone, and oy does Cath have a rough go of it.

Cath is very…different…but in this book, that’s not a bad thing. I really love that it celebrates her quirk, her wallflower nature and her love of writing and all things fanfiction.

Yes, portions of the story are actual pieces of the fanfiction Cath writes. If you are a geek girl (like moi), you will likely love this. If you aren’t familiar with or down with fanfiction, I do suggest you start with her other books first and work your way here.

As you can tell, though, for me the blend of romance, family issues and friendship challenges worked like a charm! As my friend Shanyn put it, “I wouldn’t mind reading this for forever.”

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: college, family, rainbow rowell, romance
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Mon, February 25, 2013

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell Review

Eleanor and Park book cover

Eleanor and Park book cover

Eleanor and Park
By Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: Feb. 26, 2013
St. Martin’s Press , 320 pages
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

“Bono met his wife in high school,” Park says.
“So did Jerry Lee Lewis,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be,” she says, “we’re sixteen.”
“What about Romeo and Juliet?”
“Shallow, confused, then dead.”
”I love you,” Park says.
“Wherefore art thou,” Eleanor answers.
“I’m not kidding,” he says.
“You should be.”

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.

— Goodreads.com description

I read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell right after my friend Magan and thank goodness I had someone to talk to about it because, you guys, it was SO GOOD. It was one of those books that I could not stop thinking about and needed to dissect IN DEPTH. Do we like or hate so and so? What was the deal with the ending? DID YOU LOVE IT AS MUCH AS I DID? Etc.

Like…I tried to write a review, but it was just so fangirly, I had to calm myself down. So, instead of a review, here are bits and pieces of my side of our gChat…I think you will get the gist of my love…

me: ok that book
is why i love to read
i sat down and would not get up for like 5 hours

me: i just really enjoyed being in his brain

me: they were both so fascinating and lovely

me: the whole time i was reading it i felt like somehow rainbow rowell was reaching out and grabbing my heart and that is really emo but it is also TRUE

me: holy mother of mercy magan
was that not the hottest thing ever

me: ugh that slays me
i love it
i love that book so much

me: it’s so hard when a book ends and you just want to imagine what the rest of their lives are like
but will never KNOW

me: can we make everyone ever read this and love it as much as we do?
i’m feeling evangelistic over it

me: oh man what do people do when they don’t have people to dissect books with them

So, basically, here’s what you need to do:

1. Read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I immediately preordered a hardcover version after I finished my Kindle version. Be prepared to do the same.

2. Then let’s discuss it even MORE. I’d be lost without bookish friends like Magan (mwah. xoxo.), so know that I am here for you too if you need to freak out as much as I did!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: abuse, family, rainbow rowell, romance
34

Thu, January 17, 2013

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell Review

Attachments book cover

Attachments book cover

Attachments
By Rainbow Rowell
Publication date: April 14, 2011
Dutton Adult, 323 pages
Source:

Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can’t seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he’d be sifting through other people’s inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can’t quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can’t help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? “Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you.” After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it’s time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can’t see exactly where it’s leading him.

Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it’s someone you’ve never met.

— Goodreads.com description

As we have established time and time again, when my friend Ginger tells me to read a book, I do. It’s pretty pathetic actually. “Read this book, Anna.” “Okay, yes ma’am, whatever you say ma’am.” OK, the language I actually used was more crude, aka calling myself her Book B****. But still, she told me I HAD to read Attachments by Rainbow Rowell and, per usual, I am so glad I did!

It’s an adult book. I don’t usually review the adult books I read, but I made an exception for this one for two reasons:

(1) Rainbow Rowell has a YA book coming out soon that’s getting a lot of buzz (Eleanor & Park)
(2) IT WAS SO GOOD.

The book is mostly a romance, the type of romantic comedy I get swept away in. But it’s also more than that: It’s about family and friendship, and it’s highly enjoyable.

Bonus points: It’s set in a newsroom. About three careers ago, I ran the night shift copydesk at a newspaper. Loved all the references to life in the news biz (before it mostly went online)!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: adult books, family, friendship, rainbow rowell, romance
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