Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody Review

My Life Undecided
By Jessica Brody

June 7, 2011
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 320 pages
Source: Library

PLEASE READ THIS! MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!

Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.

Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure.

But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else decide which book I read for English. And whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated!

Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever.

But don’t take my word for it. Read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.


— Amazon.com description

Score! Another book I’d describe as an “Anna Book.” What do I mean by that? Must contain all of the following:

1. A misguided main character
2. A sweet boy to fall for
3. Tons of humor
4. Hijinks
5. Main character makes a lot of mistakes but learns some VERY IMPORTANT LESSONS in the end
6. Kissing
7. Completely unrealistic situations that still ring true

I just love a main character who makes a total fool of herself, as long as she makes me laugh along the way. And Brooklyn definitely fit this description. Oh, sweet child, I feel bad for you but it was enjoyable to follow you on your journey of self-discovery. Y’all will enjoy this quick, fun read.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, November 28, 2011

Top 10 Books on My TBR List



It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is
Top 10 Books on My TBR (To-Be-Read) List 


My apologies to all the GREAT NetGalley books I've got stored up, but here are the next 10 I'm dying to read off my shelves:


Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe
Truth by Julia Karr
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
Pure by Julianna Baggott
Thumped by Megan McCafferty
The List by Siobhan Vivian
The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes
Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Anna Reads young adult book blog

The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski Review

The Sweetest Thing Christina Mandelski book coverThe Sweetest Thing
By Christina Mandelski

May 10, 2011
EgmontUSA, 336 pages
Source: Publisher via NetGalley

A delicious confection for Sarah Dessen fans.

In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.

But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems—only her dad’s about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys,
The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients.

— Amazon.com description

Delicious! What a sweet book. Oh, I’m so punny. Ignore the cheese. What I mean to say is that this was a totally delightful contemporary read.

Sheridan Wells is a hot mess, but lord the girl sure does try. She’s coping with boy troubles, school dramarama, a runaway mother and a father who’s threatening to pack them up and move to New York City to film a reality series. And I totally enjoyed every minute of it.

Plus, I was also thrilled to see the book lived up the cover – much of The Sweetest Thing centers on cake decorating, bakeries, pastries and more. Yum!

Fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy this one.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In My Mailbox 29



"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 Heidi:


WHAT!? I know.

The List by Siobhan Vivian
Thumped by Megan McCafferty

But wait...there's more...


I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Huge thanks to Heidi for being such a lovely, thoughtful friend. And to Megan McCafferty for indulging me in my insanity by signing so many books for me. 

Borrowed:


The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

Thanks to my friend Jillian -- she's the best!



From Publishers:



Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott
New Girl by Paige Harbison
After the Snow by S.B. Crockett

Thanks to NetGalley, Harlequin Teen, Candlewick Press and Macmillan!


Guantanamo Boy by Anna Perera
Poisoned House by Michael Ford
The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal

Thank you so much to Albert Whitman!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, November 24, 2011

So Much to Be Thankful For

Happy Turkey Day! Today, I'm feeling quite thankful for...

Bookish/bloggy friends whose kindness, humor and generosity stuns me daily. I love you guys and have been so blessed that this blog led me to so many great friends. I couldn't do this without you.

• The folks at the Story Studio here in Chicago and my teacher M. Molly Backes, who encouraged me to begin work on my own novel (!!!!!).

• Publishers who have graciously sent me some of my favorite reads this year.

• Living and working so close to Tara, who is always willing to join me for an adventure (from Naperville to NYC, trapeze class to sign language school). I couldn't ask for a better partner in crime.

• A book club that, despite my many objections, continues to push me outside of my reading comfort zone. (I will read Game of Thrones this week. I will. I mean it. Kinda.)

• Authors who wake up every morning and write write write, despite all the fun things happening on TV and the interwebs. Your dedication wows me.

• My family, husband and best friends, who brag about my blog to everyone they meet. I couldn't ask for better cheerleaders.

• And, last but not least: you, dear readers.

I'm beyond thankful to each and every one of you for visiting AnnaReads.com. You have no idea how much your support, friendship, book recommendations and conversation fulfill me!

 Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Waiting on This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers



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

This Is Not a Test Courtney Summers book cover
This Is Not a Test 
By Courtney Summers
St. Martin's Griffin, to be released June 19, 2012

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up.

As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life–and death–inside.

When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


— Goodreads.com description

YES! MORE APOCALYPSE BOOKS! Have you heard how much I love them? No? Click here.

I'm also a Courtney Summers fan. Granted, I've only read one of her books, but I was very impressed with the dark side of Fall for Anything so am eager to read more from her.*

Anna Reads young adult book blog

*Though, I do have to comment on the cover. What the heck. Is her neck snapped?!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Top 10 Authors I'd Invite to Thanksgiving





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


I asked my husband if I should Photoshop the author's faces onto this image. But he determined "That would be creepy." OMG no one "gets" me! Hahaha.

I’d most want to hang with my favorite queens of contemp at Thanksgiving, or any gathering really. These funny, smart ladies would really know how to kick it:

1. Siobhan Vivian (Not That Kind of Girl)
2. Megan McCafferty (Sloppy Firsts)
3. Leila Sales (Past Perfect)
4. Sarah Mlynowski (Ten Things We Did)
5. Sara Zarr (How to Save a Life)
6. Lauren Barnholdt (One Night That Changes Everything)
7. Jennifer Echols (Forget You)
8. Elizabeth Scott (Stealing Heaven)
9. Simone Elkeles (How to Ruin a Summer Vacation)
10. Stephanie Perkins (Lola and the Boy Next Door)
11. Lauren Oliver (Before I Fall)
12. Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty)
13. Gayle Forman (If I Stay)

Oh, like I could stop at 10. Besides, only 75 percent of the people you invite to an event actually show up. If any of you are looking for some good reads...look no further than the list above. They're all very much "Anna Books."

Authors, see y'all at Turkey Day. I’ll bring the stuffing!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, November 21, 2011

Young Adult Book Holiday Gift Guide

Have a YA reader in your life? Don't know what to buy? FEAR NOT, ANNA IS HERE!

Gift Cards


Okay, I'm not going to lie, any book lover would be very happy to have an Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. You might worry it's impersonal, but truly all we want is money for books, books, books galore! Oh sweet Santa, it doesn't get better than book money!

Bonus points if you score gift cards to our local indie book store.


Reading also goes well with coffee, so Starbucks gift cards are great too.

Box Sets


For younger girl readers: 
The Anne of Green Gables books by Lucy Maud Montomgery. Middle-grade romantics will love.


For boys: 
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. But girls like it too, don't get me wrong. Bonus: It's in a treasure chest-y thing! So cool!


For paranormal fans: 
The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. Werewolves done right!


For Potterphiles: 
The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Who wouldn't want to own this beautiful set? Again, treasure chest. So fun!


For Twilight fans: 
Ready to move on to the next thing? Try the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead.

Standalone Books


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (for romantics)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (for thrill-seekers)
If I Stay by Gayle Forman (for the more serious type)
Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (for a holiday theme)

These are just some of my faves that I think may have universal appeal. But if you're giving a book, pick one that meant something to you, a story you feel compelled to share. It's much more meaningful to share the emotion behind a book choice rather than just a book itself.


Also: Any of the Penguin hardcover classics designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith would make for a beautiful gift. They are gorgeous!

For Fun








Visit Etsy and find a crafter who will put a line from your loved ones favorite book onto a piece of jewelry. Ginger did this for me for my birthday (quote from Sloppy Firsts) and I burst into tears when I opened it. A good present, to say the least.


This bookmark won't slip out. Plus, align the finger to mark the exact spot you left off. Fun!


A Mockingjay pin from The Hunger Games!


Bookstop. Look, Ma, no hands!

Multimedia








Soundtracks
DVDs from Masterpiece Theatre -- I haven't caught Downton Abbey yet (though I'm dying to), but I freak out every time an Austen or Brontë adaptation comes on PBS, so I'm assuming most other readers would too.

Big-Ticket Items


A Nook or Kindle -- I don't think you can go wrong either way.

Or a case for them! To see my favorite for my Kindle (comes with a light!), click here.


A trip to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando -- OK, it's outlandish. But, eek, what a fun gift that'd be! See pics from my trip here.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

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