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.

— 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.


Okay, so good. Read this. The end.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Wed, October 15, 2014

Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan Review

Not in the Script book cover

Not in the Script book cover

Not in the Script (If Only… #3)
By Amy Finnegan
Publication date: Oct. 7, 2014
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 392 pages
Source: Publisher

Millions of people witnessed Emma Taylor’s first kiss—a kiss that needed twelve takes and four camera angles to get right. After spending years performing on cue, Emma can’t help but wonder if any part of her life is real anymore . . . particularly her romances. She’s been burned by heartthrobs (and the press) one too many times, but there’s something about Emma’s co-star on her new TV show Coyote Hills that is irresistible. Jake Elliott is gorgeous, smart and actually cares about Emma’s charitable foundation. But she’s sworn off on-set relationships. They always end badly . . . don’t they?

This third novel in the deliciously fun If Only romance line proves that the best kinds of love stories don’t follow a script.

— description

Sure, Not in the Script was predictable, but it was also sweet and fun. And, in my book, “sweet and fun”” rules all. So there!

The romance was Disney Channel movie-esque, which may not be your thing, but frankly it’s JUST what I need sometimes. And don’t pretend you’re too cool for school and don’t know what I mean by that.

Bonus: Jake and Emma were both nice and flirty-fun and seemed like genuinely GOOD people…which you don’t get too often in books that portray Hollywood.

So I’ll keep this short and sweet, just like the book. If you’re in the mood for something sugary but not saccharine (there IS a difference), check this one out.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: Uncategorized

Thu, October 9, 2014

This Week in Review – Oct. 10


what i did

Did a little fall apple shopping in Wisconsin with the fam…mmm.

photo 1

…and had all our relatives over for a housewarming party (finally)! Check out the beautiful cookie tray my mom made:

photo 2

Oh! And I saw Gone Girl with my book club. LOVED it. Have you guys seen it yet?

links i loved

Raise Your Hand If You Were A BOOK IT! Kid
Me!!! Pizza Hut’s Book It program is back — alums can sign up and get a personal pan pizza like in the golden olden days. You know I was a kid who read read read, so I was all about this.

Did you see the SNL parody of The Fault in Our Stars? Hilarious!

An Articles Club
Our book club passed around this post about an articles club another group of girls started. It’s a great idea, and this part reminded me why I love my book club so darn much:

The fascinating thing about an articles club is how close you get to—and how much you learn about—the women in the group. The conversations get intimate pretty quickly—we’ve talked about marriage, breakups, parenting, career goals, what success means, the saddest and happiest times in our lives, depression, body image, aging, feminism, religion, everything under the sun. I’ve learned things about my friends that I hadn’t known after years and years of friendship, since we end up talking about such specific, deep topics. It’s wonderful.

And last but not least, this is Judy Blume’s house for sale. Let’s all pitch in and buy it together and summer there and read books and pretend we’re Judy. Who’s in?

books i added to my shelves

Many thanks to my friends at Delacorte Press, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Poppy, Balzer + Bray, Henry Holt and Co. for these books for my Kindle:

For Real by Allison Cherry book coverThe Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black book coverLove, Lucy by April Lindner book cover

For Real by Allison Cherry
The Darkest Park of the Forest by Holly Black
Love, Lucy by April Linder

The Pretty App by Katie Sise book coverFinding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark book cover

The Pretty App by Katie Sise
Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios book coverLoop by Karen Akins book cover

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Loop by Karen Akins

And thanks to Feiwel & Friends, Henry Holt and Co., Macmillan, Harper, Bloomsbury, Swoon Reads and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for sending me these goodies in the mail:

photo 3

The Queen of Bright & Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier
Skandal by Lindsay Smith (Sektret #2)
Boys Don’t Know by T.S. Easton

photo 4

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey and Nils Johnson-Shelton
Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin
Clariel by Garth Nix
Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis
And the sequel, In a Handful of Dust
Soulprint by Megan Miranda


The Boy Next Door by Katie Van Ark
The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Trilogy #2 OMGGGG)
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver

Ahhh. So MANY. Are you looking forward to reading any of these?

books i read

These three books are coming up in reviews soon — keep an eye out:

Not in the Script by Amy Finnegan
The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris
Famous in Love by Rebecca Searle


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Posted by: Anna   •   In: this week

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.

— 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.

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: romance, una lamarche

Tue, October 7, 2014

Wildlife by Fiona Wood Review

Wildlife book cover

Wildlife book cover

By Fiona Wood
Publication date: Sept. 16, 2014
Poppy, 400 pages
Source: Publisher

During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.

New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can’t help but be drawn back into the land of the living.

Fans of Melina Marchetta, Rainbow Rowell, and E. Lockhart will adore this endearing and poignant story of first love, true friendship, and going a little bit wild.

— description

My thoughts on this one are all over the place, so I’ll just lay ‘em out for you:

– Fiona Wood knows some really big words that I don’t know; or maybe it’s just an Aussie thing?

– Love love love Michael and Sib and Lou — some brilliant secondary characters here.

– But also some brilliantly HORRIBLE characters; Holly is the worst. HATE HATE HATE. So hard to read this bullying and justification and nastiness from supposed friends. At the same time, who can’t relate?

– This book makes me want to go hiking.

– My galley eBook copy didn’t have formatting to help me see there were two points of view…which really messed things up for me. Wildlife got off to a crazy slow start for me because I had to go back and reread after I worked out the two narrators a few chapters in.

– This cover is to die for.

So, really a formatting thing that made this a toughie for me. Plus, it hit a little close to home on the toxic friendship thing. Been there, done that. But it was brilliantly portrayed and the setting was lovely. Pros and cons!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: aussie, camp, fiona wood, friendship