Anna and the French Kiss: Review

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Author: Stephanie Perkins

Publisher: Dutton

Summary: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss? (Via Goodreads.)

Review:

I don’t know how to talk about this book without gushing. It was just perfect.

I read this book shortly after I booked a trip to Paris which made everything so much better for me! This book has made Paris better in my eyes a feat I did not think possible given how much I love the city but it did it. Every setting of this book, from the Pantheon to the cinema to the cemetery is now on my list of places to see and I couldn’t be more excited!! (See: Extra exclamation mark means I’m really excited.)

But back to the book! Let’s start with the characters! The main characters are Anna and the utterly perfect Etienne St. Clair (Who has been added to my list of fictional husbands. Just so dreamy.) and I adored them. They were well rounded and portrayed as typical teenagers with typical problems namely their parents and being separated from them and they dealt wit these problems perfectly and authentically, so just amazing. The secondary characters of Meredith, Josh and Rashimi were also wonderful and I do wish we got to see more of them. Thankfully, Josh makes his return in Isla and the Happily Ever After!

The romance, however, is the best part of this book because it is described perfectly (You’ll notice that perfect is coming up a lot in this review.) The love story between Etienne and Anna is fluffy and cute but it’s also hard and awkward and everything I wan’t in life! (No really, find me an Etienne St. Clair universe!) This book perfectly captures what it feels like to be in love and I’m so sad it had to end. (The book not the romance.) Thankfully, I believe these two make an appearance in in Perkins follow up novels so yay!

I would recommend this book to everyone even if you’re not a love story kind of reader. I’ve actually recommended it to a few people already! It’s so adorable and wonderful and I am gushing again. See? I said this would be a problem!

I want to give this book 5/5 but I’m giving it 4.5/5 instead for two reasons. 1) I really wanted to see more of the secondary characters especially Rashimi and Bridget and Matt, hopefully they make a few guest appearances in future books and 2) Because Etienne St. Clair does not exist. (Ugly Crying.)

4.5/5

Now all I need is Isla and the Happily Ever After and Lola and the Boy Next Door to magically appear on my bedside table!

 

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Fangirl: Review

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Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Summary: 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? (via Goodreads.)

Review: I had some definite expectations for Fangirl when I started reading it, these expectations were of the fluffy and cute variety and Rowell did not let me down. However there was also a lot more to this book. Fangirl also dealt with alienation, anxiety, mental illness and parental abandonment and it did so beautifully while managing to keep the tone enjoyable and easy.

The characters in Fangirl were also wonderful, with two exceptions really; Nick and Laura who I hope get slapped by someone at some point namely Cath. I adored Cath and Wren and I loved that they were so different while at the same time being so similar. Levi was adorable and Reagan was a badass and I wish to be friends with her. The friendship between Cath and Reagan is one of my favourite parts of the book and I wish we got to see more of it!

The very interesting thing about this book is that it made me want to read a fictional series so I could read a fictional fanfiction about said fictional series. Seriously. I want to read Simon Snow and then I was to read Carry on Simon. I’m legitimately sad that this is not possible.  Damn you Rowell for making me want nice things! 

Overall, this book was beautifully written. It was sweet, charming and touching. The relationships resonated with you, it made you want to laugh and at some stages even made you a bit teary and in addition to all that it was an incredibly accurate representation of fanfiction and fan culture. Excellent.

4/5 Stars

(Taking off a star because Nick escaped the novel without a slap 😉 )

(Also Rainbow Rowell Favourited one of my Tweets. This has no relevance on the review it just makes me feel cool.)

April Releases I Am Excited For!

As if I don’t already have a towering TBR shelf here are some April book releases that I am particularly excited for:

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Author: Alexander Duncan

Publisher: Greenwillow.

Release Date: April 1st

Summary: Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe, by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood (vis Goodreads.)

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Author: Danielle Paige

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release Date: April 1st

Summary: I didn’t ask for any of this. I didn’t ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I’ve read the books. I’ve seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can’t be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There’s still the yellow brick road, though—but even that’s crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I’m the other girl from Kansas.
I’ve been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I’ve been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman’s heart.
Steal the Scarecrow’s brain.
Take the Lion’s courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die! (via Goodreads.)

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Author: Ann Brashares

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: April 8th

Summary: Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves. (via Goodreads.)

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Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: April 8th

Summary: In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever. (via Goodreads.)

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Author: Tess Sharpe

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Release Date: April 8th

Summary: Sophie Winters nearly died. Twice.

The first time, she’s fourteen, and escapes a near-fatal car accident with scars, a bum leg, and an addiction to Oxy that’ll take years to kick.

The second time, she’s seventeen, and it’s no accident. Sophie and her best friend Mina are confronted by a masked man in the woods. Sophie survives, but Mina is not so lucky. When the cops deem Mina’s murder a drug deal gone wrong, casting partial blame on Sophie, no one will believe the truth: Sophie has been clean for months, and it was Mina who led her into the woods that night for a meeting shrouded in mystery.

After a forced stint in rehab, Sophie returns home to a chilly new reality. Mina’s brother won’t speak to her, her parents fear she’ll relapse, old friends have become enemies, and Sophie has to learn how to live without her other half. To make matters worse, no one is looking in the right places and Sophie must search for Mina’s murderer on her own. But with every step, Sophie comes closer to revealing all: about herself, about Mina and about the secret they shared (via Goodreads.)

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Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publisher: Putnam Juvenille

Release Date: April 8th

Summary: Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him–and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth. (via Goodreads.)

 

On Beauty: Review

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Author: Zadie Smith

Publisher: Penguin Books.

About: Howard Belsey is an Englishman abroad, an academic teaching in Wellington, a college town in New England. Married young, thirty years later he is struggling to revive his love for his African American wife Kiki. Meanwhile, his three teenage children— Jerome, Zora and Levi—are each seeking the passions, ideals and commitments that will guide them through their own lives.

After Howard has a disastrous affair with a colleague, his sensitive older son, Jerome, escapes to England for the holidays. In London he defies everything the Belseys represent when he goes to work for Trinidadian right-wing academic and pundit, Monty Kipps. Taken in by the Kipps family for the summer, Jerome falls for Monty’s beautiful, capricious daughter, Victoria.” But this short-lived romance has long-lasting consequences, drawing these very different families into each other’s lives. As Kiki develops a friendship with Mrs. Kipps, and Howard and Monty do battle on different sides of the culture war, hot-headed Zora brings a handsome young man from the Boston streets into their midst whom she is determined to draw into the fold of the black middle class – but at what price? (via Goodreads.)

Review: I just want to say the word Flawless over and over again. Flawless. Flawless. Flawless. 

Now, I’m not the biggest adult-novel reader shall we say, I do tend to prefer YA, but I adored this novel! It’s 445 pages long but I easily could have read a few more hundred pages about the Belseys.

I do find it hard to explain what this book was about, I don’t think the summary (above) was very relevant, because despite the big deal made of the feud between Howard and Monty Kipps it’s not at the forefront of the novel. It is still important and it rears it’s head every now and again but mostly this book is about the family Belsey and their struggle to remain a family when every one of them is so vastly different. And it is wonderful.

The odd thing for me is that I liked this book despite not really liking any of the main characters! They are all so deeply flawed and some just downright unlikeable but I loved them anyway and it just made the novel better.

The plot, is rather basic I guess, feuding families, philandering academic, teenagers trying to discover who they are independent of their families, and some of the plot points were rather predictable, like Howard’s second mid-life crisis, and  Levi and the painting, but that is a testament to Zadie Smith. That she could take the mundane and make it seem extraordinary all the way through.

I wanted more pages to this book. Simply put, I didn’t want it to end and Zadie Smith’s remaining novels have all been added to my TBR pile.

(Also, I want to be called Zadie.)

What did everyone else think of On Beauty?

5/5

The Isobel Journal: Mini Review

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Author: Isobel Harrop.

Publisher: Hotkey Books.

Mini Review:

I ordered the Isobel Journal from Waterstones about two weeks ago, started reading it on a Wednesday and finished it about ten – fifteen minutes later. If you are expecting a novel, or even a short story, re-evealuate right now. I was slightly disappointed by the lack of words in this book, but perhaps that’s my fault, I should have done a bit more research and as I bought it online I didn’t have a chance to flip through the pages and see that I was only really paying for illustrations.

That being said, I did adore this. From the few sentences that appear in the book, which include gems such as “Sometimes people look like owls and you have to capture that.”, it was breathtakingly clear to me that Isobel Harrop is my spirit animal and I want to be friends with her.  And if she wrote a book, or a collection of short stories, or a napkin, I would read it.

The illustrations are the main draw of this book. They are beautiful and lovely and other synonyms! And they do make the book worth it’s price tag. As Harrop herself says, “Sometimes pictures say more than words ever can.”

Overall, I adored this book. It’s quirky, fun and really reflects what a teenager’s (or someone in their early twenties. cough. cough) life is like. Well worth a read or look as the case may be.

4/5

An Abundance of Katherines: Review

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Author: John Green.

Publisher: Dutton

About the Book: When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself (via Goodreads.)

Review:  Now, I admit to being a bit of a John Green/Vlogbrothers fan. I liked Looking for Alaska, The Fault in our Stars, I enjoy the Vlogbrother videos and was definitely obsessed with The Lizzie Bennett Diaries so I had some very definite expectations for Katherines.

These expectations were not met.

Katherines, for me, was a disappointment.

The book had potential but it never quite lived up to it due, in no small part, to the fact that the main character is just so unlikable. Colin, the child prodigy, who, like the book, hash’t lived up to his potential spends the majority of the book whining about this fact and trying to “make his mark” by coming up with a theorem to explain why some people break up with others. Again sounds like it could be interesting; it was not, after a few chapters the theorem becomes quite tiresome as does Colin.

Colin’s talent for anagrams also feels a bit lifeless and like Green was trying to repeat what he did with Miles and last words in Looking for Alaska but it doesn’t work here (mostly because they anagrams are not very good anyway.) This book made me hate anagrams and footnotes! At first the footnotes at the bottom of the page were fun and entertaining but after a few chapters they just became distracting.

There was also an excessive amount of math. At one point Green even promises there will be no more math. This is too a lie. It kept going. 

The plot as well just became incredibly slow once the road trip ends, which for the record this lasts about one chapter, and Colin arrives in Tennessee. In the end all that happens is that Colin kisses a girl not named Katherine.

All of that said, the book does have some redeemable moments, namely whenever Hassan appears. Hassan is the gem of the book. He is responsible for the moments that did make me laugh out loud, all three of them. He’s also the reason why I hated the book. His friendship with Colin is very one-sided. All Colin ever does is complain to Hassan but he’s never there when Hassan needs to do the same. There is an incident when Hassan confronts Colin about this, and Colin apologises but nothing changes as a result so it makes the entire thing feel empty.

Ultimately, Katherines is lacking in almost every aspect, decent plot, character development and I would not recommend it to anyone. Actually, if this had been the first John Green I’d ever picked up, I probably wouldn’t have read any others.

2/5.