Wed, January 14, 2015

When by Victoria Laurie Review

When book cover

When book cover

By Victoria Laurie
Publication date: Jan. 13, 2015
Disney-Hyperion, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Maddie Fynn is a shy high school junior, cursed with an eerie intuitive ability: she sees a series of unique digits hovering above the foreheads of each person she encounters. Her earliest memories are marked by these numbers, but it takes her father’s premature death for Maddie and her family to realize that these mysterious digits are actually death dates, and just like birthdays, everyone has one.

Forced by her alcoholic mother to use her ability to make extra money, Maddie identifies the quickly approaching death date of one client’s young son, but because her ability only allows her to see the when and not the how, she’s unable to offer any more insight. When the boy goes missing on that exact date, law enforcement turns to Maddie.

Soon, Maddie is entangled in a homicide investigation, and more young people disappear and are later found murdered. A suspect for the investigation, a target for the murderer, and attracting the attentions of a mysterious young admirer who may be connected to it all, Maddie’s whole existence is about to be turned upside down. Can she right things before it’s too late?

— description

I like not knowing where a plot is going…but it felt like there were almost too many false leads and mysterious clues in When. A bit too all over the place for me, plus a little too “show, not tell.”

Aaaand you know how I feel when there isn’t as much romance as I’d like.

But still, this paranormal/mystery/suspense had me just enough intrigued to keep me reading. I really appreciated how FREAKED OUT it made me about how easily someone could frame you for murder. OMG HUGE FEAR OF MINE AHHH.

A mixed bag! Totally not mad I read it, but not a total fan.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: mystery, paranormal, suspense, victoria laurie

Tue, January 13, 2015

The Darkest Part of the Forest Review

The Darkest Part of the Forest book cover

The Darkest Part of the Forest book cover

The Darkest Part of the Forest
By Holly Black
Publication date: Jan. 13, 2015
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

— description

I love it when characters are supposed to be evil…but end up surprisingly good!

And I love it when there is weird faerie business going on.

And a beautiful LGBTQ relationship. And positive sibling love.

And funny writing and a thrilling plot and great charcterization.

The Darkest Part of the Forest has it all. Not to mention a beautiful cover (made out of actual plants)! This one was a nice, pleasant surprise for me. I’ve read Holly Black books before and just didn’t “get” them. But this time? Aha! I get it now! Totally enjoyable, and perfect for fans of Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: fairies, family, holly black, romance

Mon, January 12, 2015


Dear friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you I’ve decided to step away from book blogging.

This four-and-a-half-year experience has forever altered me for the better, and I thank you all wholeheartedly for that.

Thank you to the publishing community for your partnership and the many once-in-a-lifetime experiences you’ve given me. You have taught me so much and I am forever grateful for your support.

Thank you to the many authors who have shared their stories with me, especially those who have contributed posts to this blog. I hope you know how very much your work is appreciated and that while your relationship with some book bloggers can be contentious, most of us do this out of pure love, pure love.

Thank you to my fellow book bloggers, past and present. You are my people and I love you. Please be good to each other.

Thank you to my readers for caring about what I have to say, for the book recommendations and for helping to bring my hobby to life. You’ve made reading an active, exciting, participatory experience, and I so appreciate that.

Part of the reason I’ve decided to step back is that I feel I’ve been less creative for you, and you’ve been less responsive to me in the past year or so as a result. I totally get that. That, combined with the increasing negativity in the community, means it’s time for me to try something new.

Don’t forget I’m still there to talk books on Twitter and Goodreads — and I have a week of reviews still scheduled through next Monday. But I’ll miss you. Work hard. Be nice. And remember that life is too short for rude people, negative thinking and bad books.

Happy reading.


PS: Marcus Flutie 4-eva.

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me

Sun, January 11, 2015

Split Second by Kasie West Review

Split Second book cover

Split Second book cover

Split Second
By Kasie West
Publication date: Feb. 11, 2014
HarperTeen, 368 pages
Source: Library

Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

— description

Oooh, I love Kasie West. Have you read my reviews of On the Fence and The Distance Between Us? So. Good.

And I loved Pivot Point (my review is here)…so I’m not sure why it took me almost a year to read the sequel, Split Second.

Again: So. Good.

Okay, at first I had trouble remembering what happened in the first book. But as soon as I got caught back up, I loved it.

Oooh, two good romances! Bad guys! An awesome friendship between two girls! Fun paranormal times!

Loved it. Totally worth getting this series from your library/bookstore — just don’t wait as long as I did between reading them. Okay? Okay. Trust me.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, kasie west, paranormal, romance

Fri, January 9, 2015

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven Review

All the Bright Places book cover

All the Bright Places book cover

All the Bright Places
By Jennifer Niven
Publication date: Jan. 6, 2014
Knopf, 384 pages
Source: Publisher

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

— description

This book made me feel hollow. It’s quirky and well-written, but damn is is HARD. And important and good and frustrating and sad and scary…it’s a lot of things all at the same time.

Which is why it’s awesome.

All the Bright Places is about mental illness — I love the positive messages about getting help, erasing the stigma. Talking/reading/writing about these issues is so important if it can help people see they aren’t alone and if it can help others to better recognize warning signs in their loved ones.

Finch. Oh, he is scary as hell — a manic pixie dreamboy who is more manic than dreamy. But also lovable and romantic, which makes it even harder to see him suffer. It’s painful every time you get a beautiful slice of his personality, then see him disappear and slip away into himself.

Phew. So good. But, in a “holy hell that was rough” way. A movie adaptation is the works with Elle Fanning signed on to play Violet…but it’ll be a toughie to watch if it was THIS hard to read. Ahhhhhh.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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Posted by: Anna   •   In: Jennifer Niven, suicide