Sun, December 21, 2014

Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay Review + Giveaway

Princess of Thorns book cover

Princess of Thorns book cover

Princess of Thorns
By Stacey Jay
Publication date: Dec. 9, 2014
Delacorte Press, 400 pages
Source: Publisher

Game of Thrones meets the Grimm’s fairy tales in this twisted, fast-paced romantic fantasy-adventure about Sleeping Beauty’s daughter, a warrior princess who must fight to reclaim her throne.

Though she looks like a mere mortal, Princess Aurora is a fairy blessed with enhanced strength, bravery, and mercy yet cursed to destroy the free will of any male who kisses her. Disguised as a boy, she enlists the help of the handsome but also cursed Prince Niklaas to fight legions of evil and free her brother from the ogre queen who stole Aurora’s throne ten years ago.

Will Aurora triumph over evil and reach her brother before it’s too late? Can Aurora and Niklaas break the curses that will otherwise forever keep them from finding their one true love?

— Goodreads.com description

I loved Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay. LOVED it.

It has so many Things I Like in Books:

– A character who dresses up in a gender-bending disguise
– It’s a fairy-tale retelling
– There’s a slow-burning romance that is so good this is what I wrote in my notes: “HOLY HECK FIVE ALARM FIRE”

HAHAHA I am such a nerd in my notes that I crack myself up when I go back to them later.

Anyhoo, if you’re like me and you like any and — even better — ALL of these things, you should definitely check this one out. And, lucky you, I can help you do that! Enter below to win a copy of your own. Good luck and happy reading!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted by: Anna   •   In: fairy tale, fantasy, romance, stacey jay
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Thu, December 18, 2014

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas Review

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless book cover

Top Ten Clues You're Clueless book cover

Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless
By Liz Czukas
Publication date: Dec. 9, 2014
Harper Teen, 304 pages
Source: Publisher

Top Five Things That Are Ruining Chloe’s Day

5) Working the 6:30 a.m. shift at GoodFoods Market

4) Crashing a cart into a customer’s car right in front of her snarky coworker Sammi

3) Trying to rock the “drowned rat” look after being caught in a snowstorm

2) Making zero progress with her crush, Tyson (see #3)

1) Being accused—along with her fellow teenage employees—of stealing upwards of $10,000

Chloe would rather be anywhere than locked in work jail (aka the break room) with five of her coworkers . . . even if one of them is Tyson. But if they can band together to clear their names, what looks like a total disaster might just make Chloe’s list of Top Ten Best Moments.

— Goodreads.com description

Top five things I liked about Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas:

1. The Breakfast Club vibe
2. Takes place in just one day — Christmas Eve (’tis the season!)
3. Set in a grocery store (loved that in Love and Other Perishable Items too!)
4. There’s a MYSTERY!
5. It’s a quick, sweet and easy read.

Aaaand, I’m a sucker for lists so I also loved that the list trope carried on from the description all throughout the book!

Okay, so I totally saw the mystery coming, but it was still a fun book filled with romance and friendship. Cute stuff.

PS: Read my review of Czukas’ Ask Again Later: It was fun, funny, easy, romantic, light-hearted and wrapped up just perfectly.”

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, holidays, romance
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Mon, November 3, 2014

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers Review

Mortal Heart book cover

Mortal Heartbook cover

Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3)
By Robin LaFevers
Publication date: Nov. 4, 2014
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 480 pages
Source: Borrowed from a generous friend (ILU!)

Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn’t mean she has.

But across Brittany, the tides of war are drawing ever nearer, with France pressuring the beleaguered duchess from all sides. Annith’s search for answers threatens to rip open an intricate web of lies and deceit that sit at the heart of the convent she serves. Yet to expose them threatens the very fabric of her existence and risks an unforeseen chance at love, one that she can no longer deny. Annith must carefully pick a path and, gods willing, effect a miracle that will see her country—and her heart—to safety.

— Goodreads.com description

If the His Fair Assassins series was never-ending, I’d be quite happy. I truly can’t imagine ever getting enough of these books — they are THAT enjoyable.

Ismae, Sybella and Annith are all so different but I love the uniting factor that really makes their stories shine: All three girls are hella strong.

There’s cloaks! And horseback rides! And the making of camp! And while there is nothing I’d probably enjoy LESS in real life than being woodsy and wearing heavy, drapey clothes and not having a car…I can’t get enough of it in books.

Plus, romance and action and history and SURPRISES and all of my favorite things. I loved Annith just as much as I came to love the other two girls. Friends, put this series on your must-read lists. Trust me.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: fantasy, r.l. lafevers, romance
2

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

Posted by: Anna   •   In: rachel harris, romance
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Wed, October 8, 2014

Like No Other by Una LaMarche Review

Like No Other book cover

Like No Other book cover

Like No Other
By Una LaMarche
Publication date: July 24, 2014
Razorbill, 352 pages
Source: Library

**A Publishers Weekly Best Book of Summer 2014**
**A Summer 2014 Indie Next List Pick**
**A 2014 Junior Library Guild Selection**
**A Los Angeles Times Summer Reading Guide Selection**
**An Entertainment Weekly YA Novel to Watch Out For**

Fate brought them together. Will life tear them apart?

Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing.

Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters).

They’ve spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did.

When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection.

Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up?

In the timeless tradition of West Side Story and Crossing Delancey, this thoroughly modern take on romance will inspire laughter, tears, and the belief that love can happen when and where you least expect it.

— Goodreads.com description

Think of all the books you’ve been told were perfect for fans of Eleanor & Park.

Now think of how many times you’ve been disappointed as a result, when the book doesn’t hold up to those standards.

Now listen up: This book really IS a good “what to read next” pick for fans of Eleanor & Park. Would I lie to you?!

Two quirky but good, kind kids fall in unexpected love. Life circumstances keep them apart. You feel their love and excitement and frustration all jumbled up on the pages. Ahh, forbidden love, you get me every time!

It’s dreadfully romantic and heartbreaking and…well…unsettling, frankly. I could not stop thinking about what happened next, unable to let the characters go. Devorah! Jax! What are you doing right now? I NEED TO KNOW. I have such a love/hate relationship with that feeling. It’s like “Una LaMarche, do you enjoy making me feel so miserable?!”/”Una LaMarche, thank you for making me feel so miserable!”

See? Jumbled. But good jumbled regardless.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: I will say I know nothing about Hasidic Judaism and wonder if having a personal connection to that world would have changed my viewpoint? I’d be curious to hear from someone who read it with more background than me.

Posted by: Anna   •   In: romance, una lamarche
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