Anna and the French Kiss: Book Review

17453983

“Boys turns girls into such idiots.”

-Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Series: Anna and the French Kiss Series

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Genre: YA Romance

Publish Date: December 2nd, 2010

Reading Format:  Paperback

Review:

I’ve seen this book floating around on Booktube for a while now and I finally broke down and bought it.  Anna and the French Kiss is about an American girl who is sent to France by her estranged father to spend her senior year at a boarding school in Paris.  There Anna meets Étienne St. Clair, a boy she becomes best friends with and wants to potentially be something more, except one problem he already has a girlfriend. (Of course)

The book is a fast read.  I read it in one weekend and for me that’s an accomplishment because I am a slooow reader.  It’s a YA contemporary romance that comes with all the drama and angst one would both expect and hope for.  This story was cute and frustrating all at the same time and I was entertained from start to finish.  Typically I don’t often read within this genre because I can find teenage lead female characters to be too whinny.  Anna did not come across that way to myself but others may disagree.  Étienne would have been totally crush worthy to my teenage self had I meet him when I was 17 and he makes a great love interest in the book.

Anna and the French Kiss is the first in a series of three novels.  I was hoping to have already read the second book by now, but I accidentally picked up the third book and haven’t gotten around to buying the second yet.   I’ll get around to it I’m sure but I’ve got so many other books I’ve either started to read or am hoping to get too eventually soon, and this series may have to be saved for next year or next summer.  There is something about YA contemporaries that I feel they should be read during the summer, perhaps it’s because they make great vacation reads.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Advertisements

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Book Review

214438

Title: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

Series: Sisterhood Series

Author: Ann Brashares

Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction

Publishing Date: September 24th, 2002

Reading Format: Paperback

Review:

I’d like to call the year of 2017 as the year of the reread. At least on a personal level, I can’t really speak for everyone else. But for myself I have reread several books this year, such as the Doon series and The Falconer series. And to give myself deep nostalgia I decided to buy all of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books and keep the train rolling on my need to read what I have read before.

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants was my favorite book between ages 16 and 20, and I wondered before starting it again if the book would hold up to what my late teen self thought of it. To put it briefly I don’t feel like it did. I’m 28 now and that changes the perspective I have on a lot of things as well as my attitude toward certain ideals I may have had on life at 16 versus how it feels now that I’ve become an adult.

If you have never read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants then let me explain what it is about. The book follows four friends: Lena, Tibby, Bridget, and Carmen. All four girls have grown up together and are the best of friends, and for the first time in their lives are about to spend the summer away from each other. Lena is going to visit her grandparents in Greece; Bridget is going to a summer long soccer camp in Southern California; Carmen is visiting her Dad in South Carolina; and Tibby is stuck in their hometown working at Walman’s. Before each one embarks on their new adventures Carmen comes across a pair of jeans in a thrift store that miraculously fits all four girls. This brings about the idea that the pants are to be shared by each of them and the journeys they all take over the summer.

When I first read this book in 2005 I deeply related to Carmen and Lena. Bridget seemed a bit too spontaneous and Tibby was too cynical to match my personality, so Carmen and Lena took center stage when it came to my favorite characters in the book. While I still can relate my 16 year old self to Carmen, I’ve come to look at all four main characters differently. For instance, Bridget is spontaneous because she is brave and doesn’t fear the consequences or rejections that may happen with her actions. I myself am a more timid person. I shy away from actions that may cause me notice or could potentially hurt my feelings. While Bridget’s actions in the book do have consequences that leave a lasting impact, her bravado was more intriguing to me while reading this book again. I was also more disappointed with the romance in the book. For whatever reason I remembered Lena and Kostos having a better romantic story line than what I read a couple of months back; and that had initially been one of my favorite things about the first book, but the romance between them is pretty much nonexistent throughout the story. Perhaps my memory isn’t how it use to be, or I read better romances in other novels over time.

While my love for the books hasn’t changed completely, I don’t hold it in as high regard as I once did. I still think that at 16 this is justifiable to being my favorite, but I’m a more active reader then I previously was and somethings just don’t stand the test of time.

Rate: 16 year old me would give it 5 stars, 28 year old me gives it a 3.75 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Shadow Queen: Book Review

23299513

“Her skin was as white as snow, her lips as red as blood, and her long hair as black as ebony.” — C.J. Redwine, The Shadow Queen

Title: The Shadow Queen

Series: Ravenspire

Author: C.J. Redwine

Genre: Fairy Tale Retelling

Published: February 16th, 2016

Reading Format: Audio book

Summary:

A retelling of Snow White were Snow White is a fugitive with magic named Lorelai. Her seven dwarfs come in the form of her brother, a former royal guard, and a Gyrfalcon named Sasha. And her huntsman/prince is a dragon king that both loves her and wants to kill her. Plus Lorelai is the only one who can stop the evil queen from destroying the kingdom of Ravenspire that rightfully belongs to Lorelai.

Review:

By my summary of the book you may be able to tell that The Shadow Queen isn’t exactly like the fairy tale of Snow White.  Mostly the book takes parts of Snow White but the author, C.J. Redwine, made the story her own with Lorelai. I also listened to this book through Audible and the narrator is what really sold my liking for The Shadow Queen. I truly felt like I was being told an old fairy tale by a great storyteller.

My favorite twist in this retelling is Kol. Kol’s character is both prince charming and the huntsman; he is also the new king of a neighboring land where the people there are both human and dragon.  Kol comes to Ravenspire to get help from the evil queen, Irina, where he makes a deal with her that if he brings Irina Lorelai’s heart, that the queen will then save his kingdom from the Ogres. Of course the predictably of the quest in this part of the story is that Kol does not bring Irina back the heart of Lorelai and thus Irina forces Kol into a pact to kill Lorelai that he cannot remove himself from.  The perfect twist to that plot line is that because Kol is human who can turn into a dragon, he possess both hearts of man and dragon.  Once Irina removes Kol’s human heart we as the reader get to see the internal struggle he has to control his dragon heart.

I thought The Shadow Queen was a great retelling for Snow White.  I usually stay away from retellings, as I can often find them predictable and lack surprise elements in the story line but I was not disappointed with C.J. Redwine’s version.  I just recently got the second book in the series The Wish Granter, a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin, and I’ve been holding off on it to read other books but I’d like to get to it sooner rather than later.

Star Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Vanishing Throne: Book Review

*There may be some spoiler’s about the first book in this series, The Falconer.

26797462

“I’m not a creature of vengeance any more. I’m not just the girl whose gift is chaos. I’m the girl who endured.”–Elizabeth May, The Vanishing Throne

Title: The Vanishing Throne (Book 2)

Series: The Falconer Trilogy

Author: Elizabeth May

Date Published: June 21st, 2016

Genre: Fantasy/YA

Book Format: E-book

Summary:

After failing to close the fae portal, Aileana Kameron is now prisoner to the evil fae Lonnrach. She is imprisoned and her memories are stolen by Lonnrach as he tries to find away to save his fairy world. As Aileana begins to weaken she is rescued and returned to her world were she discovers it lays in an apocalyptic state and years have gone in the human world while she was held captive for several weeks in the fae world. Now Aileana must access her falconer powers in order save her world and the fae world.

My Review:

I don’t know what it is about series, but usually the second book will turn out to be my favorite. At least that’s been true for a few including this one. The Vanishing Throne took me two days to read because I couldn’t put this book down.

Book two takes place immediately after book one, The Falconer, and the main character Aileana is captured by the evil fae leader Lonnrach in the fairy world.  The book doesn’t linger with this part of the story for too long, but long enough that as the reader you can see the affects it takes on Aileana while she’s there and how it affects her through the story line.  Then the book is pretty quick paced after the first few chapters.

The sense of humor that is in the first book is still there in The Vanishing Throne and all the characters are back with a few new characters.  However this book is much darker than the first book as Aileana deals with the PTSD associated with her being captured and tortured in the beginning of the book. I felt that this was handled well by the author and it wasn’t magically fixed or suddenly disappeared along the way, but an obstacle she must tackle continuously.

The Vanishing Throne also has more romance in it and I liked a lot since I ship the main character and her fae mentor, so reading their love story unfold a little more was something I was hoping for in the second book. There was also just as much action in this one as there was in The Falconer but with a more clear cut enemy in the second book I was cheering for Aileana and her friends a little more than in the previous book.

I love this series and it topped my list of favorite books last year.  If you love YA fantasy then please read this series. The last book in the series comes out in the summer of this year and it  may very well be my most anticipated read of 2017.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Happy Reading,

Meghan

Fangirl: Book Review

23395098

“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one”–Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Date Published: May 12th, 2015

Genre: YA/Contemporary

Reading Format: Hardcover Book

Summary:

Cath is a massive fan of the Simon Snow Series. Her and her twin, Wren, use to do all the Simon Snow fandom stuff together, but now that they are heading off to college Wren has decided she wants nothing to do with Simon Snow anymore and doesn’t want to be college roommates with Cath either.  This leaves Cath wondering if she can make it on her own without her sister in an environment she isn’t use too.

My Review:

So funny story, it took me over a year to read this book; and it wasn’t because I didn’t like Fangirl because before finishing it I’d gotten all the way up to the last 80 pages. But for whatever reason (I think I lost the book at one point. Oops!) I didn’t finish it until a couple of weeks ago when I did my first 24 hour read-a-thon.

My overall feelings about Fangirl is that I really liked it. Was it one of my favorite books? No, but Cath is a relatable character when it comes to going to college for the first time. Now I’m personally about 10 years removed from my freshman year at North Georgia, but I still remember how it felt leaving home for the first time and experiencing the world that is college (or university, if you like).  It’s scary and a hard adjustment in the beginning but you do move past it eventually and Rainbow Rowell captured that pretty well with Cath and her twin sister Wren.

The book was also fairly funny to me with the quick, witty banter between the characters. There were also moments that dealt with serious topics, such as, the mental health of Cath’s father and Wren’s dramatic moment towards the end.  These topics blended into the story well without seeming out of place or being random dark moments thrown in for some drama.

The only thing I didn’t love and started to skip toward the end is the fan fiction parts that reflect the Simon Snow fan fiction Cath has written. Simon Snow in this book is more or less a Harry Potter type of book series in the novel. This is were the title Fangirl comes from as Cath through most of the book is deeply involved with the fandom. The main reason why I eventually stopped reading the fan fiction parts was because I didn’t feel that it added to the story at all and I wasn’t missing any plot points if I didn’t read them. Of course others probably love this about the novel, I personally could have done without it.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

 

Happy Reading,

Meghan

The Falconer: Book Review

15791085

“You know, I’ll never look at a woman in the same way again. I’ll wonder if she’s hiding weapons under the hedges.”- Elizabeth May, The Falconer

Title: The Falconer

Author: Elizabeth May

Series:  The Falconer

Publish Date: May 6th, 2014

Genre: Fantasy/YA/Steampunk

Reading Format: E-book

Summary: She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.


Review:  The Falconer was easily one of my favorite reads this year. It was so fast-paced that I finished the book in two days because I just couldn’t put it down.  Aileana is a strong female character and I love a good book that also has strong characters in it. I can’t really handle the whole damsel in distress thing that sometimes comes with some novels, so I’m currently loving the strong female character that is being written in books lately.

One thing that surprised me most about The Falconer was how funny it was. The character interaction comes with a lot of humor and I found myself laughing out loud at times. I think that whenever I read a fantasy novel I often expect it to be very serious but having the funny banter between Aileana and Catherine or Aileana and Gavin was nice to see (or I guess in this case read).

The story overall is different than others I’ve been reading mainly because of the the steampunk element to the story. While it isn’t the main feature of the story line of The Falconer it is more heavily present than I realized it would be, I suppose it serves the purpose of allowing some “modern” things appear in a historical setting. I don’t usually love the steampunk theme but it didn’t distract me too much from loving the book overall.

There is also a romantic element to the story it sort of builds itself up so it doesn’t take over the whole novel but I thought it was nicely done and I’m sure it is more heavily present in the second book. Which I’ve started already because once the first book ends you’ll definitely want to pick up the second.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan

Clockwork Princess: Book Review

 

18335634

 “Men may be stronger, but it is women who endure.”

-Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Princess

Title: Clockwork Princess

Series: The Infernal Devices

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publish Date: September 5th, 2013

Genre: Fantasy/YA/Historic

Reading Format: Audiobook

Summary:  A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.


Review:  Let me first say (and this might be a spoiler) this book ended the exact way you would want it too in terms of a love triangle. At least that’s what it did for me as I was torn between loving Tessa with Jem and loving Tessa with Will. Cassandra Clare does a nice job of working that out so that the reader might feel some closer with both relationships or potential relationships. Secondly, Clockwork Princess was my favorite book in the series it was filled with action, suspense, romance, and even a little humor; what more could you ask for?

There are however a few moments of frustration while listening to this book for example Will’s sister Cecile becomes an added character to the story and I found her to be quite whinny at times. She was my least favorite character in the books and her only redeeming quality was her interaction with Gabreil Lightwood.  And speaking of Lightwood, the Lightwood brothers were a nice addition to the thrid book and Gabreil doesn’t turn out to be as annoying as he was in the first two books.

And we finally learn exactly what Tessa is. I will also say I like that she doesn’t end up being a damsel in distress type. She learns more about herself through this series and also finds a family among the Shadowhunters at the London institute which I think makes her become a stronger character throughout the books.

Lastly the audiobook for Clockwork Princess was the best one out of the three. The guy who does the narration makes an effort to give each character a voice without it sounding like it belongs to another. And with the character list of this book being so big that can be a hard accomplishment to make but it was done with this audiobook, I just wish he had narrarated all of three books.

Rating:

Five out of Five Stars


Happy Reading,

Meghan