Top Ten Books for People Who Liked “Anna and the French Kiss”

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish!

You guys may or may not know that Anna and the French Kiss was my first 5 star review. This was even more shocking because I haaaate teenage romances. Usually. Unless they’re done REALLY WELL. So I decided to take that book to show you just how picky my tastes are!

1. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

This one made me laugh and cry. It was absolutely fantastic. I just…I just can’t even put my feelings into words. Oh wait, yes I can. I reviewed it.

2. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Alright, alright, I know this one isn’t a contemporary, but bear with me. I’m going with the criteria of FANTASTIC ROMANCE with this one. This one doesn’t have a love triangle or a cliché ANYWHERE. It’s just … awesome. See my review for more.

3. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Yeah, this one is a semi cop-out, but c’mon. You know it’s true! (Although, I don’t actually think this one measured up to Anna…)

4. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

No, this isn’t a contemporary EITHER. I didn’t say they all would be, did I? This was a fantastic ride on several levels, not to mention the cute romance to be had. I’ve gotten several people hooked on this series and I’m proud of it!

5. Streams of Babel by Carol Plum-Ucci

Okay, so, these aren’t particularly romance heavy, but the romance in them is done really well. They (it’s a duology) are also ridiculously powerful books that I’ve checked out multiple times from my library. They are just EXCELLENTLY written.

6. All-American Girl by Meg Cabot

Again, cop out, because Meg Cabot is like the queen in certain circles, but to be honest I never really enjoyed much of hers. This one, though, is SO EXTREMELY CUTE I COULD DIE. I love it. It’s like candy.

7. When it Happens by Susane Colasanti

Again, cop out, because it’s SUSANE COLASANTI. But still. This book. SO CUTE. I love it. It’s amazing. It makes me SO HAPPY.

8. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Not a contemporary, but people who’ve read both series can’t tell me that Anna and Sophie wouldn’t be BEST FRIENDS FOREVER if they met in “real” life. I certainly think they would. 😀 (Plus, Archer? HELLO SEXY. He and Entienne could burn down buildings just by walking into them.)

9. Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

This is actually a second book of a series that is connected but doesn’t particularly have to be read in the same order, but I think it’s the best one for Anna fans.

10. Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce

No, not a contemporary. But I still think Anna and Aly would make fiiiiine friends. OHMYGOD, SOPHIE, ANNA AND ALY. THIS WOULD BE THE BEST BOOK. Someone help me get these guys on that…


ARC Review: “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Goodreads | Amazon

So wrong for each other…and yet so right.
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with “freaky” scars on her arms. Even Echo can’t remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo’s world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible. Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she’ll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.

4.5 stars

This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley and HarlequinTeen. You can get a copy for yourself July 24, 2012.

I should probably mention that I don’t usually read contemps. I mean, with how I feel about romance and insta-love and yadda yadda, I’d at least like to have some fantastical elements to keep the action going so *I* can keep going. However, Pushing the Limits?

This I finished in one night. And then promptly added to my Goodreads favorites shelf. And it was my brother’s 16 birthday to boot.

The thing about this book is that it’s not JUST about romance. The issues that Echo is dealing with (those scares came from something her mother was involved in, she’s worried she’s bipolar AND her father is expecting a baby with the twenty-something woman he replaced her mother with. Who was once Echo’s babysitter, no less.) and the issues that Noah are dealing with (he’s in the foster system, separated from his two younger brothers, trying to reunite his family) are REAL. They are important. They are powerful. And, hey, if they happen to fall in love on the way, that’s cool too.

Originally, I wasn’t very happy with Echo. She was letting her father and everyone else really control her life and molding her into something she really didn’t want to be. The important thing, though, is that this is just another part of the story. McGarry recognizes the problem and then makes sure Echo DEALS with it instead of being a simpering, inactive female lead the whole time.

Noah, too, started out as your typical, cliché, slacker-pot smoker. Then you add the layer of his parents death and his brothers and suddenly he, too, becomes a three-dimensional character. I’ve enjoyed contemps with male leads who were just the typical, but Noah brought this book to a whole other level.

Sure, to like this book, you’ve got to like drama. You have to be cool with a lot of crying, teenage freaking out and–yes–some teenage school drama. But what I loved is that, for once, even the school drama really got me. After all, I can only imagine how much courage it took for Echo to walk into the cafeteria of her school with her scars bared.

In points, it does get a bit preachy, but I let it slide. I was actually shocked at how it was NOAH’s ending scene with his brothers that made me tear up a little bit. Usually I empathize with the girl because the guy doesn’t really have much going for him. I loved the switch.

Pushing the Limits was almost like a YA Nicholas Sparks book. Only better, because it had a happy ending. It was a book with a message that KNEW it had a message, but I also could still feel the power coming off the pages. I am way too much excited for the companion novel McGarry is writing, and this one isn’t even out yet.

The bottom line: If you are a contemporary YA lover, you NEED to read this. Even if you aren’t, like me, I absolutely recommend that you give this a try.

Top Ten Books I’d Recommend As Good Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

It should probably be noted that my idea of a beach read is, uh, anything. Even if it’s dark and dangerous and depressing. That said, I’m going to TRY to give you guys what it is you’re looking for. I think. Uh. Well, here we go! (All title links go to Goodreads)

1. Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

I have not posted my review of this one yet, but GUYS. One of the best contemps I’ve EVER read. Seriously. It’s a little lacking on the fluffy, fun side but … I don’t care. I reread this one any day.

2. The Selection by Kiera Cass

There are few books that are total and utter mind candy, sparkly and airey. This, this is one of them. And I loved ever second of it.

3. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Gorgeous cover. Gorgeous read. And not too heavy to cart around. (Did I mention ONE OF MY FAVORITES EVER?) 😛

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Alright, so, this one will try to take you away to France, but c’mon. Would you rather just be on a beach or on a beach IN PARIS? Be truthful now. (Plus, there’s a reason my review includes so much squealing.)

5. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

A quirkier, spunkier read I’ve rarely come across.  Plus, the last book comes out in August, I do believe. It’s a PERFECT time to read or reread this series.

6. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

SHH, we’re sneaking in a non-YA read. That’s pretty okay with me. I LOVE THIS BOOK. UNRESERVEDLY. Perfect summer read right here.

7. Pants on Fire by Meg Cabot

Oh man, I’d almost forgotten about this one. How, I do not know. Thank you, Goodreads. This might literally end up being my beach read!

8. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

HELLO HOTNESS. My favorite Simone Elkeles book of all time right here. A staple of any summer.

9. A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson

A CLASSIC. I adore these books, and adored even more the decision to rerelease them with new, gorgeous covers. My old ones were falling apart.

10. A Match Made in High School by Kristen Walker

Seriously, sometimes you have to enjoy a book for its cuteness. This is one of those times.