Sunday, July 31, 2011

In My Mailbox 18

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever). This week, I got was thrilled to get three packages of bookish goodness:

For review from Little, Brown:
Guardians of the Dead by Karen Healey
Dark Parties by Sara Grant

Borrowed from Michelle (via Heidi) -- thanks ladies:
Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Hope you all had as, um, lively a weekend as I did!

T-Swift concert in Indy
Road trippin' from Indy to Central Illinois to Wisconsin
Baby shower for my cousin Angie

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, July 29, 2011

Everlasting by Angie Frazier Review

By Angie Frazier

June 1, 2010
Scholastic Press, 336 pages

Sailing aboard her father's ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a lady in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn't love in order to preseve her social standing. On her last voyage before the wedding, Camille learns the mother she has always believed dead is in fact alive and in Australia. When their Sydney-bound ship goes down in a gale, and her father dies, Camille sets out to find her mother and a map in her possession - a map believed to lead to a stone that once belonged to the legendary civilization of the immortals.

The stone can do exactly what Camille wants most: bring someone back from the dead. Unfortunately, her father's adversary is also on the hunt for the stone, and she must race him to it. The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar - a handsome young sailor and her father's first mate - who is in love with Camille and whom she is inexplicably drawn to despite his low social standing and her pending wedding vows.

With an Australian card shark acting as their guide, Camille eludes murderous bushrangers, traverses dangerous highlands, evades a curse placed on the stone, and unravels the mystery behind her mother's disappearance sixteen years earlier. But when another death shakes her conviction to resurrect her father, Camille must choose what - and who - matters most.

— description

First things first: I was sold the moment I saw the map background on this book’s cover. Just gorgeous, as it the story itself.

With a smoothly sailing plot (sorry, I can only resist the puns so long before one pops out), plenty of intrigue and beautifully descriptive writing, I was, well, swept away.

It sort of reminded me of the romance in the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie before all the craptastic sequels. A young woman on the high seas falls for a guy beneath her social standing. Ooohlala, I loved the romance here, but it definitely took a back seat to the mystery -- a treasure hunt that took me from the ships’ decks to the wilds of Australia.

Fans of historical fiction will enjoy!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: For more updates, click here to check out on Facebook.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness Review

The Knife of Never Letting Go
By Patrick Ness

September 9, 2008
Candlewick, 496 pages

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

— description

A boy from a village populated only by men who can hear every thought of every living thing around them stumbles upon two things he never thought he’d find: a girl and silence. It’s sci-fi, fantasy, horror and dystopian all rolled into one thrilling book.

Patrick Ness uses a dialect for the main character, but it’s hardly a stumbling point. The plot if so well-crafted and quick-moving that you have no choice but to get over it and read on.

The tension is just breathtaking as Ness describes his main character’s dramatic highs and shocking lows. Ness was recently awarded the prestigious Carnegie medal for a later book in this series, and it’s not hard to see why. This book was a brilliantly executed, haunting look at human nature that left me breathless for more. Yes, it's a cliffhanger ending.

Thankfully, the next two books in the series are out now, and I won’t have to wait long. Teen boys in particular will eat this one up.

I can't let this review without saying one last thing: MANCHEE!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: For more updates, click here to check out on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Not-So-Secret Love of Teenage Television

I think it's time for a confession that will surprise approximately none of you: I LOVE TEEN TELEVISION. 

Yes! Shocker! Grown-up lady who loves teenage books also cannot get enough ABC Family this summer.

It's an issue. But you can see why it appeals to me: Angst! Kissing! More angst! MORE kissing! These shows are like YA fiction come to life. Sometimes quite literally.

I mean, let's take Pretty Little Liars, based on the book series by Sara Shepherd. I haven't read the books, but the show is like crack, people. Especially the Caleb and Hanna story line. Wowsa!

And now Sara Shepherd's book The Lying Game -- which I have read -- is being made into a show too. Check out the trailer here:

I'm also into Switched at Birth, though I cannot stop calling it Separated at Birth. A lot of its characters took some warming up to, but a certain ROMANCE blooming of late is it. Makes me want to take a refresher course on the sign language class I took in college.

I'm trying out Nine Lives of Chloe King now too -- very paranormal! -- but the acting can be pretty wooden. Maybe it'll grow on me? 

And this one, The Secret Circle on the CW, is looking like it might make it onto my fall TV schedule (Witches! That girl from that one show where Liz from Roswell was unrealistically her mother!):

So, gang, speak up! Who else is a not-so-secret teenage TV show watcher? I know you're out there...

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan Review

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
By John Green and David Levithan
April 6, 2010
Dutton Juvenile, 304 pages

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens - both named Will Grayson - are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history's most fabulous high school musical.

Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan's collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

— description

John Green + David Levithan = Pure goodness.

Sure, the goodness involves 16-year-olds spouting off a few words that even I, a professional word nerd, had to look up, but this is sort of what we all love and have come to expect from these brilliant authors. It’s like Dawson’s Creek, right? No one ever talked like that, but we all wanted to imagine that we, too, could be that charming and philosophical and cool.

This book is a love story, and though it involves romance – gay and straight! hooray! – it’s a love story about friendship. There are two Will Graysons in this book, but for me it was all about the friendship between "Original Will Grayson" and his best friend, Tiny “Too Fabulous to Sweat” Cooper. I love how Will describes his vision for their future friendship:

“I want you to come over to my house in twenty years with your dude and your adopted kids and I want our f****** kids to hang out and I want to, like, drink wine and talk about the Middle East or whatever the f*** we're gonna want to do when we're old."

Can I be their friend? I was chuckling aloud, and Will & Co. had me captivated throughout. I’d recommend this to fans of both authors, though not my favorite from either, so I wouldn’t pick it out as your first Levithan or Green read. First-timers should try An Abundance of Katherines and Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares.

Bonus: Will Grayson, Will Grayson introduced me to what is now officially my new favorite curse phrase ever: "f****** witch a** b**** mussolini al-qaeda darth vader non-entity."

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: For more updates, click here to check out on Facebook.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway Review

Audrey, Wait!
By Robin Benway

April 10, 2008
Razorbill, 320 pages

California high school student Audrey Cuttler dumps self-involved Evan, the lead singer of a little band called The Do-Gooders. Evan writes, “Audrey, Wait!,” a break-up song that’s so good it rockets up the billboard charts. And Audrey is suddenly famous!

Now rabid fans are invading her school. People is running articles about her arm-warmers. The lead singer of the Lolitas wants her as his muse. (And the Internet is documenting her every move!) Audrey can’t hang out with her best friend or get with her new crush without being mobbed by fans and paparazzi.

Take a wild ride with Audrey as she makes headlines, has outrageous amounts of fun, confronts her ex on MTV, and gets the chance to show the world who she really is.

— description

The topic is brilliant – a girl breaks up with her boyfriend, and he writes a hit song all about it. Suddenly, all of MTV’s cameras are on her.

Okay, so yeah, sounds unrealistic. But remember when “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s was just EVERYWHERE? Delilah was semi-famous then -- all my friends were all, “Delilah was on my soccer team from elementary school.” She had to come on MTV at one point to say “I have a boyfriend and I never even liked that guy!"

Same deal here. So it could happen. Anyway, I feel like everyone I know told me to read this book, always with the sidenote: “This book is SO YOU.” What does that mean?

Well, turns out it means: Love interests. Absurdity. Conversations over IM. Predictability, sure, but hilarity along the way. Pop culture references. And so on.


Truly, this book was nonstop entertaining. It fit right in with a lot of books I love. Definitely recommended for fans of Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan and Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.

Read it. Enjoy it. And especially enjoy JAMES! Love him. LOVE.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox 17

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever) this week.

A little late because I was busy doing this all weekend:

YAY! Anyway, books:

Not That Kind of Girl by Sibohan Vivian
Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

The last two books I picked up at an indy bookstore in Chicago thanks to a b-day gift card from my pals Steve and Sheila -- thanks, guys!

And I read and LOVED Not That Kind of Girl last year, but I've been meaning to pick up my own copy for ages. You can imagine my surprise when I found this copy, signed, brand new for $6.36 at this antique mall in Michigan:

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, July 22, 2011 Is Now on Facebook

Are you on Facebook?

Sure you are – everyone is! My high school German teacher is! My best friend’s childhood bear, Klaus, is! My mom is! Hell, my mom has TWO accounts so she can play double the Farmville.

See? Everyone. Ever.

Well, now so is Okay so it’s a weakling page right now, but links to my posts are updated whenever a new one goes up, so you’ll see it in you feed.

Pretty please click here to make me feel liked and follow me on Facebook? Thanks, friends!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Supernaturally by Kiersten White Review

By Kiersten White

July 26, 2011
Harper Teen, 352 pages

Evie finally has the normal life she’s always longed for. But she’s shocked to discover that being ordinary can be . . . kind of boring. Just when Evie starts to long for her days at the International Paranormal Containment Agency, she’s given a chance to work for them again. Desperate for a break from all the normalcy, she agrees.

But as one disastrous mission leads to another, Evie starts to wonder if she made the right choice. And when Evie’s faerie ex-boyfriend Reth appears with devastating revelations about her past, she discovers that there’s a battle brewing between the faerie courts that could throw the whole supernatural world into chaos. The prize in question? Evie herself.

So much for normal.

— description

A Pseudoscientific Breakdown of What 
I Love About Paranormalcy and Its Sequel, Supernaturally:
  1. Evie is not afraid to be a girly girl, but she still kicks butt
    1. Not afraid to Tase a vamp or two
    2. Does so with a pink, bejeweled Taser she’s named “Tasey”
  2. Lend never misuses his supernatural abilities
    1. The guy can change his looks – look how rowdy he could get with that skill?
      1. Bank robberies, general thievery
      2. Intimate moments with supermodels
      3. World destruction, etc.
    2. But he doesn't, so kudos
  3. It offers something to everyone who likes paranormal reads
    1. Vampires
    2. Mermaid-like things
    3. Werewolves
    4. Fairies
    5. Trolls
    6. And many, many more, some of which you’ve never heard of
  4. All Evie really wants to do is put down the Taser, kick back her feet, and watch her favorite teen soap opera, Easton Heights
    1. Which is also what I want to do after a long day of work
      1. Vampire Diaries
      2. Pretty Little Liars
      3. Switched at Birth
      4. Nine Lives of Chloe King
      5. I realize this list is embarrassingly long, k?
  5. Evie says “bleep” instead of curse words
    1. This is hilarious
These books are cute reads that throw a splash of pink and a ton of glitter on a genre that sometimes takes itself a little TOO seriously.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Waiting on The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Pledge
By Kimberly Derting
335 pages
Margaret K. McElderry, to be released Nov. 15, 2011

In the violent country of Ludania, the language you speak determines what class you are, and there are harsh punishments if you forget your place—looking a member of a higher class in the eye can result in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina (Charlie for short) can understand all languages, a dangerous ability she’s been hiding her whole life. Her only place of release is the drug-filled underground club scene, where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. There, she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy who speaks a language she’s never heard, and her secret is almost exposed. Through a series of violent upheavals, it becomes clear that Charlie herself is the key to forcing out the oppressive power structure of her kingdom….

— description

Kimberly Derting blew it out of the water with her book The Body Finder, and I've got not doubt she'll do it again with The Pledge. I first heard about this book during a book blogger preview at Simon & Schuster, and it's the one book that stayed in the back of my mind since BEA. I cannot stop thinking about it, based on the description along. I mean, scroll back up and reread it. Need I say more?!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Top 10 Books Every Teen Should Read

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is
Top 10 Books You Believe Should Be Required Reading for Teens

1. The Giver by Lois Lowry

2. Speak by Lauren Halse Anderson

3. The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

7. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

8. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

10. And, saying screw it to the list above, I have to say that, most importantly, teens should be reading whatever the hell their brilliant, growing, emotional, pubescent, confused little hearts desire. While I believe it's important to be exposed to challenging books you wouldn't have selected for yourself (hello, that's why I'm in a book club!), I do think that avoiding censorship at all costs and trusting teens to make some of their own choices is the only way they're going to understand the pure JOY that comes with reading and find the answers they're looking for...

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, July 18, 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz Review

By Cara Lynn Shultz

June 21, 2011
Harlequin, 352 pages

Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Conner, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

— description

I’d place Spellbound into a category of books alongside Die for Me by Amy Plum and Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton. Quick paranormal reads with interesting main characters and premises.

I read a lot of these books -- loved their reincarnation themes -- but the problem is that I wouldn't describe any of them as “moving” or “shocking” or “life-changing.” Plus, Spellbound was so-so for me because of a slow pace and a little to many “honeys” and “sweethearts” from the romantic interest. I know I’m a romance freak, but that was just grating.

That being said, though, if this is your favorite genre, give it a look next time you’re at the bookstore.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Book source: Ebook for review from Netgalley and Harlequin

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In My Mailbox 16

"In My Mailbox" is a weekly post hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren about what new books we got in the mail (or library or whatever) this week.

From the Library:

Monster of Men by Patrick Ness
The Unidentified by Rae Mariz (whoops posted this last week too)
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta
Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta
White Cat by Holly Black

Soooo I need some help. Here's my bookshelf: 

Totally full, right? So I got another bookshelf entirely devoted to books I have yet to read. But I need help -- any thoughts/recommendations on which should move to the top of my list? And, yes, I have read Hunger Games ... that's just in there because I need to reread it for book club this month. 

Thanks in advance for sharing your opinion!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy Harry Potter Day

My husband and I finished our six-day Harry Potter movie marathon last night. 
You know what this means, right?


Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jennifer Echols Lovefest + Giveaway

If you've been reading my blog, you're probably familiar with Jennifer Echols' name and the book titles above because I LOVE LOVE LOVE her. Haven't had a chance to pick up the books despite my best effort? Now's your chance! Thanks to Big Honcho Media, I'll be giving away a set of both books (two of my FAVES), plus her latest, Love Story. Good luck!

About Love Story: If you read my blog a lot, you probably recognize these book titles because I cannot shut up about them. Going Too Far and Forget You are both reread-worthy for me -- and I hope by now you've check them out. If not, now is your chance! Thanks to Big Honcho Media, I'll be giving one lucky winner a copy of both books, plus Jennifer Echols' latest, Love Story. Good luck!
She’s writing about him. He’s writing about her. And everybody is reading between the lines.

For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?

Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true. Click here to learn more.

About the author:
Jennifer Echols is the author of romantic dramas for MTV and romantic comedies for Pulse. She currently lives in Birmingham. Visit her on the web at

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Waiting on The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Signed Copies on Preorder

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to shine a spotlight on upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Fault in Our Stars
By John Green
272 pages
Dutton Juvenile, to be released May 1, 2012

The title, The Fault in Our Stars, is a reference to the famous line in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves, that we are underlings.” The Fault in Our Stars, a novel about teens dealing with terminal illnesses, features Green’s first female narrator, 16-year-old Hazel Grace Lancaster, who is battling thyroid cancer.

— Per Publisher's Weekly

So I couldn't even find a full description of the story, and there's no cover art. But who cares!? It's John Green! Though, granted, I do love some of his books more than others, his are some of the smartest, funniest and most heartfelt young adult novels out there today. Right now, I'm reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson (co-written with the fabulous David Levithan), and it's clearly another winner.

Bonus? Green just announced he'll be signing every preordered copy of the book. Every. Single. One. Is he not the nicest? And so freakin' innovative. Read all about it here on Can't wait!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Top 10 Authors I'd Die to Meet

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is: 
Top 10 Authors I'd DIE to Meet

I start thinking of my favorite authors and, holy heck, it just hit me: I’ve met most of them already: Meg Cabot, Lauren Oliver, Maggie Stiefvater, Sarah Mlynowski, Julie Kagawa, the list goes on. Good lord, I feel blessed. Click here to see my pics with authors.

But there are plenty of authors who are still at the tippy-top of my wish list and a few others on my fantasy “too bad they are dead” list. Hey, a girl can imagine! 
Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Jane Austen Dream list! I’d love to kick it with Jane in the corner during a ball.

John Green Let’s be friends, John.

3. Megan McCafferty I. Love. Her. Why haven’t I met her yet? Though, to be honest, I’m pretty sure I’d just totally fangirl if I ever meet her and embarrass myself.

4. Suzanne Collins Would love to hear her speak on her inspiration for
The Hunger Games. Such a brilliant and original series – wonder what she’s got up her sleeve for her next project?

5. J.K. Rowling I am aware that the closest I’m going to get to this happening is when I go to Wizarding World of Harry Potter this fall. And I’m okay with that.

Cassandra Clare Eeek! I’d just say thankyouthankyouthankyou for writing a post on my blog. You are fabulous.

7. Madeleine L’Engle She’s unfortunately passed, but her books were some of my favorites as a child.

8. Stephenie Meyer Only rule here: That it be just us. I’d love to chat with her, but I don’t think I could handle being in the same room as a bajillion screaming Twi-hards. Rob can come too. If he wants. No pressure.

9. Jennifer Echols Another contemporary fave. Let’s be friends, too, Jennifer!

10. Gayle Forman I hope she hasn’t gotten sick of “What happened to Mia and Adam next?” questions. Because I would ask about 50 of them.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: When I made these pictures, my husband goes: "You know people are going to read this, right?" Whatever. You guys think I'm funny not weird, right? Right. (Or so I tell myself.)
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