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

Posted by: Anna   •   In: april lindner, romance, travel
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Thu, December 11, 2014

For Real by Alison Cherry Review + Giveaway

For Real book cover

For Real book cover

For Real
By Alison Cherry
Publication date: Dec. 9, 2014
Delacorte Press, 304 pages
Source: Publisher

From Alison Cherry, author of Red, a novel PW declares “sparkles with wit,” comes a terrific new book about two sisters and one big question: how do you know who’s for real?

No parents. No limits. No clue what they’re in for.

Shy, cautious Claire has always been in her confident older sister’s shadow. While Miranda’s life is jam-packed with exciting people and whirlwind adventures, Claire gets her thrills vicariously by watching people live large on reality television.

When Miranda discovers her boyfriend, Samir, cheating on her just after her college graduation, it’s Claire who comes up with the perfect plan. They’ll outshine Miranda’s fame-obsessed ex while having an amazing summer by competing on Around the World, a race around the globe for a million bucks. Revenge + sisterly bonding = awesome.

But the show has a twist, and Claire is stunned to find herself in the middle of a reality-show romance that may be just for the cameras. This summer could end up being the highlight of her life . . . or an epic fail forever captured on film. In a world where drama is currency and manipulation is standard, how can you tell what’s for real?

— Goodreads.com description

Romance takes a back seat to self-discovery, growth, strength, girl power and sisterly love in this story of two sisters on an Amazing Race-ish reality show. And I LOVED IT.

Yes, this is coming from the Queen of Kissing books, but I thoroughly enjoyed how engaging and just plain good For Real was.

The travel element and the reality angle were so interesting — I loved Claire’s theories behind the “philosophy” of reality TV (it sure as heck ain’t “for real”).

Anyhoo, highly enjoyable, I say. Have you read Red by Alison Cherry? Should I read that one too? If you want to give this one a try, it’s your LUCKY DAY! I’m doing a giveaway, and you can win your own copy. Enter below!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted by: Anna   •   In: alison cherry, breakups, family, road trip, sisters, travel
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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

AHHH I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS.

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

Posted by: Anna   •   In: boarding school, romance, stephanie perkins, travel
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Thu, May 15, 2014

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae Review

Wish You Were Italian book cover

Wish You Were Italian book cover

Wish You Were Italian
By Kristin Rae
Publication date: May 6, 2014
Bloomsbury, 323 pages
Source: Publisher

Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

— Goodreads.com description

At first glance, this books like fluff.

Look again.

Sure, it’s got romance. And summer. And travel. AND GELATO.

But it’s also filled with interesting characters, friendship and family issues and a beautiful young woman who pushes herself to try new things. It’s an inspiring story and one that transports you as a reader, whether you’ve been to Italy or not.

Absolutely recommended, especially for fans of Just One Day and Wanderlove.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: I couldn’t resist sharing some pictures of me in Italy — this book brought some nice memories back!

photo 1-2photo 2-2

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, kristin rae, romance, travel
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Mon, September 23, 2013

Just One Year by Gayle Forman Review

Just One Year book cover

Just One Year book cover

Just One Year
By Gayle Forman
Publication date: Oct. 10, 2013
Dutton Children’s, 336 pages
Source: Borrowed from my lovely friend Mitali

The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

— Goodreads.com description

Gayle Forman stunned me with If I Stay, then upped the game a million degrees and wrecked me with the emotional Where She Went. And I fell even deeper in love with her writing in Just One Day.

Then – bam! — Just One Year. Yet again, she’s surpassed my expectations. The storytelling here, you guys. I can’t even. It blew my mind.

We all fell a little bit in love with Willem through Allyson’s eyes in the first book. Sure, he was shrouded in mystery, but we thought we knew him – at least a little bit. Turns out we’d barely brushed the surface.

In Just One Year, Gayle chips away at Willem’s armor and reveals him to us bit by flawed bit. He felt much more REAL and raw and fleshed out in this story in a way that really opened my eyes to “the other side of the story.”

The thoughtfulness that went into it all — their backstories, the reveal of information, the interconnectivity of their worlds and the beautiful settings – it’s astounding. The first story – which I loved – has taken on so much more meaning after book two. Just One Year combines with Just One Day to create a real masterpiece.

Beautiful. Read it.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Also: Does this series not make you want to travel? It certainly didn’t help that I read this installment right after a trip to the Netherlands – gahhh I want to go back already! Here was the view from outside our apartment in Amsterdam…

amsterdam canal slvr gel 500

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, gayle forman, romance, travel
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