Monday, January 30, 2012

Good Books to Read in Book Club

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is:

Top 10 Books That Would Make Good Book Club Picks

In the past year or so, my book club has read:

  • A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
  • Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
  • The Girl Who Feel from the Sky by Heidi Durrow
  • Bossypants by Tina Fey
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
  • Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Aaaand about a dozen or so others that I don't remember because I didn't really attempt to read them. What? You know you're guilty of this too!

The best discussion from all of the above? Hands down, The Hunger Games. We all read the book, and everyone brought friends to join in the discussion.

Why? I think because it was a book with a lot of buzz – something everyone could easily get their hands on and something we were all eager to read.

In my opinion, the key to a good book club selection is twofold: affordability and broad appeal. We try not to pick books that are only available in hardcover and we vote to narrow down the host’s selection to one monthly pick so we're all likely to be happy with the choice. Book club should not feel like homework!

A few books that I haven't read but am likely to put up for a vote next time I'm hosting wine book club…

Don't have a book club? Check out my post on how to set one up.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

My First Fictional Crush - A Tribute to A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle meant so much to me as a child. Eighteen years later (whoa), I the paperback edition I stole from my sister in 1994 is still sitting on my bookshelf.

I only know this because it has her nameplate in it. Whoops. Sorry, sister.

I was 10 years old and thrilled to find a book that was smart, made me think and, yeah, introduced me to new vocabulary words. Do you think I knew what mitochondria were until Charles Wallace got stuck inside one a few books down the line? No. See, SMART BOOKS RULE!

It was my first sci-fi read, and -- of course -- Calvin was my first fictional crush. Like I said in the video, I was just captivated by him. He was nice and polite, smart and sensitive. DREAM BOY.

I can't believe Madeleine L'Engle's book is now FIFTY years old, but I'm thrilled to be a part of the "50 Years, 50 Days, 50 Blogs" tour, highlighting the book that had such a huge impact on so many people's childhoods.

I really, really urge you to share this book with your kids and try it out yourself. A beautiful 50th anniversary hardcover edition is out now with a beautiful new cover and pretty deckled pages. Check it out...

About the 50th Anniversary edition:

The 50th Anniversary Commemorative edition features:
  • Frontispiece photo*†
  • Photo scrapbook with approximately 10 photos*†
  • Manuscript pages*†
  • Letter from 1963 Caldecott winner, Ezra Jack Keats*†
  • New introduction by Katherine Paterson, US National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature †
  • New afterword by Madeleine L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlotte Voiklis including six never-before-seen photos † 
  • Murry-O’Keefe family tree with new artwork †
  • Madeleine L’Engle’s Newbery acceptance speech
* Unique to this edition        † never previously published

If you don't know why this is so significant, check out some previous versions, including my own, which is first:

Oh man, these remind me of a childhood spent (no surprise here) with my nose in a book.

Learn more about A Wrinkle in Time by checking out the complete 50-blog tour and the Wrinkle in Time Facebook page!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, January 28, 2012

In My Mailbox 36

"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.

On Monday, I went to Anderson's Bookshop in Naperville with Tara to meet Marissa Meyer (Cinder) and Megan Miranda (Fracture), whose books I read and looooooved.

I purchased hardcover versions of both books (I'd read them as eBooks or ARCs before) and had them signed for my collection.

Plus, Marissa gave me this cute Cinder hand mirror for my purse. Love it.

Megan gave me a little something something too -- this Fracture shirt to give away to one of you! A lucky winner who fills out the form at the end of this post will win my SIGNED ARC of Fracture plus this size L t-shirt. Fun! Thanks, Megan!

A few more goodies from my week...

This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers and Partials by Dan Wells were my NetGalley scores this week. Thanks NetGalley, St. Martin's Press and Harper!

Plus, a finished hardcover version of The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison and an ARC for Trafficked by Kim Purcell came in the mail as surprises from Egmont and Penguin. Thank you so much!

Happy reading to sure to check out the giveaway below.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, January 27, 2012

Everneath by Brodi Ashton Review

Everneath Brodi Ashton book coverEverneath
By Brodi Ashton

Jan. 24, 2012
Balzer + Bray, 384 pages
Source: Publisher & NetGalley

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen.

As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen.

Everneath is a captivating story of love, loss, and immortality from debut author Brodi Ashton.

— description

This wasn’t my favorite book, but I think it will appeal to a lot of you, so I’m sharing the link for you to read up on it. It’s a cool premise, a mix of underworld stuff, Greek mythology and demony things. I’m a quite worn out on this genre, so despite some fresh twists and an interesting love story, I had a hard time connecting. But check it out above if it’s your thing!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe Review

The Way We Fall Megan Crewer reviewThe Way We Fall
By Megan Crewe

Jan. 24, 2012
Hyperion Book CH, 320 pages
Source: Borrowed from the lovely Mrs. Heise!

When sixteen-year-old Kaelyn lets her best friend leave for school without saying goodbye, she never dreams that she might not see him again. But then a strange virus begins to sweep through her small island community, infecting young and old alike. As the dead pile up, the government quarantines the island: no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for the island's dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Poignant and dizzying, The Way We Fall is the heart-wrenching story of one girl's bravery and unbeatable spirit as she challenges not just her fears, but her sense of what makes life worth living.

— description


This book is about a contagious disease that sweeps across a small island community (outside Canada maybe?)

Holy heck. Every cough had my hair standing on end. This is sort of an apocalypse book – it’s just a small area, but for this community, it’s as though the world were coming to an end. And, hello, no one is stepping in to save them! Where is the government? Or aid groups? Scary as hell.

So right in the middle of reading this suspenseful, thrilling book, I went to get a massage. And my masseuse kept sniffling, and right there in the middle of all the monk-ish music and zen atmosphere, I started having a freaking Megan Crewe-induced panic attach that a contagion was just introduced into the air and then I was going to be a carrier and I’d start to feel all itchy…

Anyway, you see how this book can, erm, infect you with paranoia. HAHAHA. The Way We Fall is a very cool medical thriller that will reveal a lot about the human condition, give you shivers and keep you reaching for the nearest bottle of antibacterial gel. In a good way.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Waiting on The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt

"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 Thing About the Truth 
By Lauren Barnholdt
304 pages
Simon Pulse, to be released July 10, 2012

In this humorous love story from the author of Two-Way Street , an unlikely romance is the best sort of surprise—but the wrong secret can ruin everything.

Kelsey’s not going to let one mistake ruin her life. Sure, she got kicked out of prep school and all her old friends are shutting her out. But Kelsey’s focused on her future, and she’s determined to get back on track at Concordia High.

Isaac’s been kicked out of more schools than he can count. Since his father’s a state senator, Isaac’s life is under constant scrutiny—but Concordia High’s his last stop before boarding school, so Isaac’s hoping to fly under the radar and try to stay put for a change.

When Kelsey and Isaac meet, it’s anything but love at first sight. She thinks he’s an entitled brat, and he thinks she’s a stuck-up snob. So it surprises them both when they start to fall for each other. Kelsey’s happy for the first time in months, and Isaac’s never felt this way about anyone before….But nothing’s ever completely perfect. Everyone has secrets, and Isaac and Kelsey are no exceptions. These two may have fallen hard, but there’s one thing that can ruin it all: the truth.

— description

I loved Barnholdt’s book One Night That Changes Everything (click here to read the review), so of course I’m excited to read more of her books!

And this book sounds like it has all the love/hate dynamics I crave in a good YA romance. They’ve both down on their luck, they hate each other initially, but then…BAM WOW POW. Love it. Sounds like this will be a good summer read!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, January 23, 2012

Truth by Julia Karr Review

Truth Julia Karr book coverTruth
By Julia Karr

Jan. 19, 2012
Puffin, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

Nina Oberon's life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council–ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won't be anyone's stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out . . . and the consequences can be deadly.

— description

I reviewed the first book to this series, XVI, earlier this year, calling it "unselling" but "entertaining." Click here to read my thoughts, but you just know I love a good sci-fi read!

I’m going to try not to be spoilery here but, as many of you know, love stories are my favorite part of a book. I get attached to them. So when Julie Karr TOTALLY changed my mind about this book’s love story, I was wowed. Truly, it’s impossible for me to “change teams,” so to speak, but I was 100% on board with it in Truth.

I love where she took the story with this second book. I’m quite impressed and already have my sights set on book three.

Truth is a complete thriller with undertones of romance and strong themes of government control and gender issues. Like I said last time, give it a try if you’re a big fan of books like Diveregent or Bumped.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, January 21, 2012

In My Mailbox 35

"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 went to Nashville with my best friends last weekend (that's them above!), and while I was there, I checked out Book-A-Million.

Woo-hoo what a deal! For just $8.60 cents, I snagged:

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith
Love, Love, Love by Deborah Reber and Caroline Goode
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready

Plus, my dearest friend Heidi sent me Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey -- sounds good!

And, I'm joining in on the 50th anniversary blog tour for Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. So Big Honcho Media sent me a shiny new copy of the book and this cute bag. Stay tuned for my post!

Plus, I'll soon be reading The Partials by Dan Wells thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins.

Happy reading!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fracture by Megan Miranda Review

fracture megan miranda book coverFracture
By Megan Miranda

Jan. 17, 2012
Walker Childrens, 272 pages
Source: Publisher

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine -- despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

— description

As I told Tara on gchat…
me: i just read half of fracture in an hour
Tara: good lord
me: i know
me: it's like If I Stay + The Body Finder
Tara: ooooo
Truly, I read it in about two hours. I just devoured it. And the If I Stay/Body Finder connection? Best way to describe it.

This book is creepy, mysterious and sad. There’s romance and friendship and a crazy chase scene, which all adds up to an exciting, lovely read.

There are paranormal elements, just FYI, but that didn't really register for me. What really stood out was Delaney’s survivor’s guilt and Decker’s fierce, undeniable love for his best friend. This is where this book shined.

Fracture is a strong, thrilling and emotional debut from Megan Miranda.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Author Interview - Cynthia Hand + Giveaway

I love Cynthia Hand, the author behind Unearthly and Hallowed. Click the links to see my rave reviews of both books!

Today, I am THRILLED to share a cute video Cynthia made just for, sharing her answers to some of my burning questions. (Who are her fictional crushes? What does she think about Clara's friends? Other fun things!)

Cynthia, thank you so so so much for the video! Team Tucker 4-eva, I'm just saying, but I love you no matter what happens. Heehee.

Looking forward to Hallowed? Sign up below to enter to win your own signed copy of Hallowed plus some awesome swag (Unearthly patches, posters and bookmarks).

About the book: For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. 

Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.

-- description

Purchase from: Harper Teen | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Follow Cynthia: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook

And be sure to check out the entire Hallowed blog tour:

10th - Eve's Fan Garden, excerpt
11th - The Story Siren, interview & giveaway
12th - The Reading Teen, review
13th - I Read Banned Books, guest post & giveaway
14th - Books Complete Me, excerpt
16th - YA Bibliophile, review
17th - Mundie Moms, character interview & giveaway
18th - Novel Novice, guest post
19th - Anna Reads, interview & giveaway
20th - Fire & Ice, review
21st - Page Turners Blog, author interview & giveaway
23rd - GReads, review
24th - Once Upon A Twilight, guest post
25th - Hypable, interview

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer Review

By Marissa Meyer

Jan. 3, 2012
Feiwel & Friends, 400 pages
Source: Publisher & NetGalley

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

In this thrilling debut young adult novel, the first of a quartet, Marissa Meyer introduces readers to an unforgettable heroine and a masterfully crafted new world that’s enthralling.

— description
Sister: What are you reading?
Me: This book about Robot Cinderella. In China. In the future.
Sister: (Blank stare.)
Okay, so it sounds like a nerd book. Whatever. IT'S NEVER STOPPED US BEFORE, FELLOW NERDS! And you know it.

Fairy tales meet sci-fi in this exciting debut novel from Marissa Meyer that had my heart racing from cover to cover. Cinder is a cyborg, and she's completely oppressed and abused by her -- you guessed it -- evil stepmother. She meets dashing Prince Kai when he comes to her for her mechanic skills and it's clear form that point on that there's a spark between them.

Only he doesn't know she's a cyborg. DRAMA!

I called a lot of plot points from the beginning, but there were still so many twists and fun turns (evil space queen! contagious plagues! a fancy ball!) that I was so engrossed. And beneath all the fairy tale romance and outer-space-galacticness, this book really says a lot about what it means to be human.

Beautiful, exciting, a total wow. Sounds like it's going to be a four-book series, and I can't wait for more!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: This song goes out to Cinder. PRINCE KAI IS A FOOL IF HE DOESN'T LOVE YOU, GIRL.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Top Young Adult Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is
Top 10 Books I'd Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read...

Science Fiction

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

 Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Tempest by Julie Cross


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon

Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken

The Girl of Fire & Thorns by Rae Carson

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Anna Reads young adult book blog
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