Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Top 10 Books I'd Give a Theme Song To

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

Top 10 Books I'd Give a Theme Song To

OK, so clearly this is the theme song of all Jessica Darling books by Megan McCafferty:

Who knew I'd come to love Barry Manilow so?

For me, this was always the theme for Sam and Grace in Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver series:

Oh my gosh, so perfect.

This is my theme song for any series that involves a road trip, but specifically Saving June by Hannah Harrington:

Do you know the song "I Will Let You Go" by Daniel Ahern? Love it. It was featured in Pretty Little Liars a few weeks ago, but I always thought it fit Mia from If I Stay and Where She Went. Whether it's Adam or her parents, she's always struggling to let someone go, and this sad, mournful song matches perfectly for me:

For Cinder by Marissa Meyer, I said my review that "I Am Not a Robot" was my theme song. To me, the book was all about vulnerability, and this song is a perfect match. Part-robot humans are people too! HA!

OK, ahhh I could keep going but this is a million videos already so I'm going to end here. Share your "theme songs" in the comments!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Top 10 Most Heartbreaking Young Adult Books

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

Top 10 Books That Broke Your Heart a Little

Earlier this year, I read a book called The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas. I’ll put the review up a few weeks from now, but I wanted to talk about one thing right away:

How I spent the entire book SOBBING LIKE A BABY.

In The Survival Kit, the main character finds a “survival kit” made by her mom on the day of her funeral – a brown paper bag filled with random objects that she uses, bit by bit, to find a way to get through her debilitating grief.

I mean, if that stuff doesn’t make you cry, I don’t know what will.

Despite being a HUGE crier in my own life (I’m sensitive, whatever), I hardly ever cry in books. But when I do, I sort of love it. It means a book really took me on an emotional journey, really broke through and touched me. Here’s a few recent books I remember sobbing at:

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (if you’ve read it, you know why)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (any of the death scenes)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (RUE!)
Where She Went by Gayle Forman (bridge scene)
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (another sobby bridge scene)
Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready (I’m a Zachary fan, but it’s Logan who made me cry)

So. Guys. For the next time I’m in the mood for a good ole sobfest, what are your recommendations? Please share in the comments!

 Anna Reads young adult book blog

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Under Construction

AnnaReads.com is getting a new look and moving to Wordpress -- so please hang with me while a few things are being sorted out. Sections may be unavailable for awhile -- heck, the whole site might be unavailable -- but keep trying me at http://www.annareads.com and we'll be up and brand spankin' new-looking in no time!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, February 10, 2012

Let's Be Friends (How Anna Joined Goodreads)

Thank you for being my friends.

Now, let's make it official by becoming friends on Goodreads!

Finally, right? I can't wait to use the site to talk books and to scam on your to-read lists. So, please, be my friends? 

Click here to check out my profile and here to see my to-read list.

Thanks, dears!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton Review

Wings of the Wicked Courtney Allison Moulton ReviewWings of the Wicked
By Courtney Allison Moulton

Jan. 31, 2012
Katherine Tegen Books, 528 pages
Source: Publisher

Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.

Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven's warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who she really is has come out, so have Hell's strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

She's been warned.

Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian's new plan to destroy Ellie's soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian's schemes, the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything—including herself.

She'll be betrayed.

Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be Hell to pay.

— Amazon.com description

Maybe when I read the first book in this series (Angelfire) I wasn't in the right mood? Because I don't remember loving it. I liked it, but I don't remember freaking out over it. Was I on paranormal overload?

Well, WHO CARES, doesn't matter now, because when I read this sequel, it was EXACTLY what I was in the mood for and I was FREAKING OUT.

I think it's that I go for forbidden romances. OH, THE TORTURE! Will loves Ellie and has forever. Like, literally, FOREVER. Well, 500 years. And she loves him but they cannot be together and aghhhh the tension my heart I cannot handle it all.

I completely enjoyed it. Okay, let's be critical for a moment: I totally skipped ahead during some of the fight scenes. Yeah, bad reader. I just like to get to the kissing parts, what can I say? But, look, if you haven't read a paranormal series in a while and you are in the mood for a torturous romance (as I was), this will hit the spot!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Waiting on Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

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

By Elizabeth Scott
224 pages
Simon Pulse, to be released June 5, 2012

Megan survived the plane crash—but can she survive the aftermath? An intense, emotional novel from the author of The Unwritten Rule and Between Here and Forever.

Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved...

— Amazon.com description

First of all, E. Scott? She’s an autoread for me. She wrote it, I’ll read it.

But beyond that, I really love the idea of this story. Survivor’s guilt is a powerful thing, and I think it’ll be fascinating to watch the characters battle through it.

Oh, okay, you got me…the “beautiful boy next door” part caught my eye too.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Best Books for Someone Who Doesn't Read

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

Top 10 Books You'd Hand to Someone 
Who Says They Don't Like to Read

Dana and me, engaging in nonreading activities.

To answer this week's Top 10 question, I'm calling on the big guns -- my best friend Dana, a (GASP!) nonreader. Dana hasn't read a book since Twilight in 2007.* Sooo, yeah, it takes a lot to get her to read.

Dana's list of qualities nonreaders look for in a book:

First quality -- it's been a movie: "If there's a movie about it, I'll probably read it," Dana says.

OK, honestly, her first response was "Anything I can read on the toilet."** Quickly followed by, "Anna, I don't want to read any books about fairies. Especially if it's spelled with an 'E.'" HHAHAHA.

Second quality -- a shorter read: "I don't have time to get invested," Dana says. "I want something I can just pick up every now and then without a lot of thought."

A lot of people can relate -- they don't have the time to read, or don't want to make time to read a book they don't know they'll like. So, they look for a good guarantee, which usually does mean a super-hyped, blockbuster-type book. And there's nothing wrong with that!

Here's Dana's book wish list, which I think gives you an idea of what appeals to nonreaders:

Dana's To-Read List

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling (she likes funny people -- like moi? haaaa, kidding)

Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield (she's a graphic designer)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (movie)

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (movie)

• Any book about Taylor Swift (she's a fan, what can I say?)

Personally, I think these are solid books. Crowd-pleasers, you know? And books that aren't going to take you 500 years to read (cough Game of Thrones cough).

So any of you want to join forces and help me convince Dana to ACTUALLY try one of these? Or, knowing what you now know about Dana, any book recommendations for her?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

* After she read it, she was so into it she once ran out of the bathroom yelling, "Anna! I was in the shower and I saw calming shampoo and I thought, 'This shampoo is just like JASPER!'" She's basically hilarious.

** She had Baby-Sitter's Club books in our bathroom in college.

The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison Review

The Butterfly Clues Kate Ellison book coverThe Butterfly Clues
By Kate Ellison

Feb. 14, 2012
EgmontUSA, 336 pages
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley

Penelope (Lo) Marin has always loved to collect beautiful things. Her dad's consulting job means she's grown up moving from one rundown city to the next, and she's learned to cope by collecting (sometimes even stealing) quirky trinkets and souvenirs in each new place--possessions that allow her to feel at least some semblance of home.

But in the year since her brother Oren's death, Lo's hoarding has blossomed into a full-blown, potentially dangerous obsession. She discovers a beautiful, antique butterfly pendant during a routine scour at a weekend flea market, and recognizes it as having been stolen from the home of a recently murdered girl known only as "Sapphire"--a girl just a few years older than Lo. As usual when Lo begins to obsess over something, she can't get the murder out of her mind.

As she attempts to piece together the mysterious "butterfly clues," with the unlikely help of a street artist named Flynt, Lo quickly finds herself caught up in a seedy, violent underworld much closer to home than she ever imagined--a world, she'll ultimately discover, that could hold the key to her brother's tragic death.

— Amazon.com description

I don’t know what I expected based on the title and cover of this book, but The Butterfly Clues is so much MORE.

It's a twisty thriller that kept me guessing and kept my heart pounding. It's an unlikely romance that took me pleasantly by surprise. It's a deep, troubling look into the mind of a young woman suffering from debilitating grief, guilt and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Lo’s OCD was stunningly captured in this debut novel. Yeah, maybe I saw through a few of the twists, and maybe the mystery dragged briefly in a few parts for me, but the descriptions of Lo’s compulsions -- to tap, say select words, touch things in a certain sequence -- transported me into the brain of someone suffering from this disease. It was scary and brilliant.

And, you know, on a lighter note: Kudos to Ellison for getting me to fall for a second fictional white boy with dreads. Again, who knew this was possible?!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Saturday, February 4, 2012

In My Mailbox 37

"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.

Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

My dear friend Carla sent me these two Aussie books, which I've read and LOOOOOVED, as you may remember from my reviews here and here. I'm so happy to finally have my own copies. I absolutely recommend you check out both of them, though I know Raw Blue is notoriously hard to get your hands on in the U.S. I LOVE YOU, CARLA!

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols

Then, I just have to pinch myself, because Jennifer Echols sent me another signed book. I. Adore. Her. I cannot say this enough.

Belles by Jen Calonita
The Selection by Kiera Cass
In Honor by Jessi Kirby

And last, but OH NO, certainly not least, my friend Ginger is loaning me these three ARCs she picked up at ALA.

I cannot say a big enough thank you to Carla, Jennifer and Ginger. The generosity! The greatness of these books! It's overwhelming, no? Mwah. It's been a good week.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Friday, February 3, 2012

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald

Getting Over Garrett Delaney
By Abby McDonald

Jan. 24, 2012
Candlewick, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Can a twelve-step program help Sadie kick her unrequited crush for good? Abby McDonald serves up her trademark wit and wisdom in a hilarious new novel.

Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly one-sided. The object of her obsession - ahem, affection - is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie's feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep-blue eyes). For two long, painful years, Sadie has been Garrett's constant companion, sharing his taste in everything from tragic Russian literature to art films to '80s indie rock - all to no avail.

But when Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder - until he calls to say he's fallen in love. With some other girl! A heartbroken Sadie realizes that she's finally had enough. It's time for total Garrett detox! Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized self-help guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love.

— Amazon.com description

Why is it girls always fall for the self-centered guy and never see the sweet one in the background (or in the back of the kitchen in this case, hint hint)?! Hormones. I blame hormones.

As a very grown-up lady, I look back at my high school crushes and it's like, "Oh, honey, no! What are you thinking?" That's how I felt about this book.

Sadie! You young fool you! Garrett doesn't like you! MOVE ON! It's okay though, girl, we've all been there -- just emotionally busted over some jerk dude and passed out on our beds in agony with a book over our faces.* You'll learn.

Back to the point: This was a little slow for me, not a favorite, but I do enjoy the subject matter. Learning to get over a completely futile crush is an essential part of being a teenage girl. Even though it's not about abuse or drugs or death or any of that serious business, it seems like this book carries a very important lesson.

AKA: Get over him already! Stand strong! You deserve better!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

* I'm referring to the book cover here. Follow along!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay Review

Love and Leftovers Sarah Tregay book coverLove & Leftovers
By Sarah Tregay

Dec. 27, 2011
Katherine Tegen Books, 448 pages
Source: Publisher

My wish is to fall cranium over Converse in dizzy daydream-worthy love.

If only it were that easy.

Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer—from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She’s left behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.

By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this “summer vacation” has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you’ve watched your parents’ affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you’ve lost it?

Love & Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl’s journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up whole.

— Amazon.com description

Last year, I saw the light when it came to verse novels. Lisa Schroeder’s The Day Before won me over, through and through.

Tregay’s writing -- beautiful, easy-to-consume verse -- confirmed that. I sped through this book, loving everything from the formatting to the flow of this story told in poems.

Unfortunately, it was the story that made things a little rough for me. A slight spoiler here, thought it’s implied in the book description: There’s a bunch of lying and cheating. This is a hard subject matter for me to read about, just because it makes me SO ANGRY. So, for me, that was hard to get past. Those who don’t get that riled up will definitely react differently because I do think it was handled pretty well, and the romance was still quite sweet, despite all that nasty stuff.

Either way you look at it, this is just further confirmation for me that I should give verse novels a go, and I would definitely check out more books from Sarah Tregay in the future. Does anyone have any non-Ellen Hopkins* recommendations?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

* Not that I have anything against Ellen's or her books! They're just a little too issue-oriented for me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard Review

Look, you guys, here's the truth: I read. A lot.

You know that; it says it in my header. But I read so much I have read enough books that I'm honestly probably set for reviews until mid-March. I've got a backlog, yo.

But I finished a book on Sunday morning that was SO GOOD I CANNOT WAIT A DAY LONGER TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT.

My heart is still racing thinking about it. Okay, here we go...

Wanderlove Kirsten Hubbard book coverWanderlove
By Kirsten Hubbard

March 13, 2012
Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 352 pages
Source: Publisher, via NetGalley

It all begins with a stupid question:

Are you a Global Vagabond?

No, but 18-year-old Bria Sandoval wants to be. In a quest for independence, her neglected art, and no-strings-attached hookups, she signs up for a guided tour of Central America--the wrong one. Middle-aged tourists with fanny packs are hardly the key to self-rediscovery. When Bria meets Rowan, devoted backpacker and dive instructor, and his outspokenly humanitarian sister Starling, she seizes the chance to ditch her group and join them off the beaten path.

Bria's a good girl trying to go bad. Rowan's a bad boy trying to stay good. As they travel across a panorama of Mayan villages, remote Belizean islands, and hostels plagued with jungle beasties, they discover what they've got in common: both seek to leave behind the old versions of themselves. And the secret to escaping the past, Rowan's found, is to keep moving forward.

But Bria comes to realize she can't run forever, no matter what Rowan says. If she ever wants the courage to fall for someone worthwhile, she has to start looking back.

Kirsten Hubbard lends her artistry into this ultimate backpacker novel, weaving her drawings into the text. Her career as a travel writer and her experiences as a real-life vagabond backpacking Central America are deeply seeded in this inspiring story.

— Amazon.com description

I love road trip books. They are a literal journey, yes, but they also explore a character's journey in discovering something new about themselves. It's a lovely and thrilling structure that allows you to explore alongside the characters and watch how their discoveries slowly change them.

But after reading Wanderlove, I feel like I've found something even better -- travelogue books.

It's a road trip amplified when Bria sets off from her tour group in Guatemala and joins a pair of backpackers as they explore the road less traveled. As Bria lets go of her inhibitions, stumbles and soars, I felt like I was there with her -- 50-pound backpack on my back, bugs in my sheets, sand in my toes -- every step of the way.

And YES, that's exactly what a great book should do. By the end of Wanderlove, Bria was a different person and I, too, felt changed.

Watching how Bria sheds her sadness and fears, bit by bit, is INSPIRING. It makes me want to explore, to be in the moment, to see the world through new eyes. Bria loses her camera along the way and documents her story through beautiful drawings that are included in the book. It's a thrilling reminder that journeys should not be spent behind the lens of the camera -- they should be experiences with open eyes, in the moment.

It's a beautiful book with a beautiful lesson.

And, oh yeah, there's her travel companion, Rowan. My heart is still pounding. I leave it at that.

I could keep going on and on, like about how after we saw Kirsten Hubbard at BEA last year we could not stop talking about how gorgeous she is and how her description of how Bria feels when she sees Starling is exactly how I felt when I saw her (like how is she so effortlessly cool? and how do I get to be like that?) and how the cover is just a random girl but after you read the book you'll look back on it and be like "Oh my gosh that girl IS Bria" and on and on and on so let's end it here with the most important thing...

Click here to preorder Wanderlove!

Anna Reads young adult book blog
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