From the Notebook: (Some) Favorite Books to Re-Read

From the Notebook videos are back! This week I’m talking about all the books I re-read while I was home. I spent a lot of winter break sick or feeling awful after getting my wisdom teeth out, so this is really a list of some of my favorite books of all time. A lot of these are the books I always return to and that make me smile and make me happy. Enjoy the last video I filmed at my house for the foreseeable future!

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Worth It Wednesdays: “Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

anna and the french kissTitle: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Goodreads Description: Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Why it’s worth it: When the blogosphere first blew up with this book, I shied away automatically. I tend to dislike YA contemporary romance, and this just sounded … trite. Like I’d read it a million times before. But more and more of my bloggy friends and people I liked around the internet kept saying I THOUGHT THAT BUT IT’S GOOD and I went … alright?

TURNS OUT THAT THEY WERE ALL CORRECT.

Anna is the kind of book that stays with you long after the pages have shut. It’s the kind of book that I re-read when I’m feeling the worst in my life. Does the description make it sound like dozens of other things? Yes. Is the plot similar in that way? Yes.

The thing about it, though, is the way that Perkins writes. There is no doubt in my mind about the reality of this story. The characters are REAL. Their issues are REAL. And there is none of this “main character perfection” or “love interest perfection” thing that happens sometimes in similar novels. Anna and St. Clair are messed up. They mess up over the course of the book. They fall apart and them come back together, TOGETHER.

Also, Perkins doesn’t let the book just be about the romance. There is a lot of real back and forth about friendships, and how crushes within friend groups can lead to grief and heartache. Yet, again, the friendships fall apart and come back together with a reality that is staggering. There isn’t a single character–within the main romance or not–that doesn’t steal your heart.

Maybe I’m biased. Anna did get me through one of the toughest periods of my life. But I thoroughly believe that a lot of it is also due to the fact that Perkins is just a damn good author. There are two companion books to Anna, and both are really good as well. Okay, I was only okay with Lola and The Boy Next Door but Isla and The Happily Ever After came back and stole my heart all over again. So yeah. Just read them.

Read it if you’re looking for: YA contemporary romance that won’t make you want to vomit, lack of a real love triangle, books about friendship, books about Paris, books about family, swoon worthy romance, books that will stay with you.

Review: “Isla and the Happily Ever After” by Stephanie Perkins

IslaIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Goodreads Amazon

Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.

Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Five stars

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Top Ten Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Okay, so, this is a really hard topic for me. I tend to spend most of my time dying over authors inside my own head, so I don’t really know who’s getting a lot of recognition and who’s not. So … this list is my attempt to help boost some signals without knowing exactly what I’m doing. 😛 Some authors I like because of deep reasons, others are debuts I want to raise a glass to, etc. This list is in no particular order.

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Top Ten Bookish People I Want to Meet

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!

Once upon a time, I would have thought this subject would be really easy. But then I met Tamora Pierce, Cathrynne Valente, Kij Johnson and John Joseph Adams. And then I met Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Clare. Oh no, wait. This is still a really easy list because there are SO MANY AMAZING AUTHORS OUT THERE.

1. Rachel Hawkins

Do you guys follow her on Twitter at @LadyHawkins? Because if you don’t and you have a Twitter, I don’t know what’s wrong with you. There are few Twitter accounts that I actually search for updates on, and this is one of them.

2. Jodi Meadows

I’ve had far more Twitter conversations with this woman then I’d ever dreamed possible (YAY TWITTER), and now I would LOVE to meet her in person. She is clearly super awesome.

3. Courtney Allison Moulton

Another author I’ve been able to talk to on Twitter and have decided is supremely awesome. Also, writes kickass heriones. These two things combined makes for a very happy Gretchen (who talks about herself in the third person…?).

4. Richelle Mead

Her Vampire Academy books and Bloodlines books make me SWOON AND DIE. I love those books with a fiery, fiery passion and I would ADORE a chance to squeal about Adrian and Dimitri with her for just five seconds.

5. Sarah J. Maas

Though I’ve never spoken to her on Twitter, I stalk her mercilessly. (Really, Twitter is just a stalking tool.) She seems really awesome, and also writes AWESOME AMAZING BOOKS. Clearly she’s a winner.

6. Nina Berry

Not only did she write an AMAZING book called Otherkin, but we’ve also chatted on Twitter several times. More than that, she’s been a huge friend in retweeting several of my messages about my blog, which I’ve never been able to thank her properly for. I’d love to be able to do that in person.

7. Julie Kagawa

It’s Julie Kagawa. I fail to see why I must explain this to you.

8. Stephanie Perkins

Have you ever looked at her author picture? Followed her Twitter? Then you’ll understand how Stephanie seems like the kind of person I refuse to live without seeing at least once.

9. Katie McGarry

I want just five seconds to blubber about how much Pushing the Limits pushed my emotions. And I mean literally blubber, because OHMYGOD THAT BOOK.

10. Kat Zhang

What’s Left of Me was a SUPER FANTASTIC BOOK, and I would die for a chance to pick Kat’s brain about what it was like to write multiple people in the same bodies because OHMYGOD was that amazingly done.

Top Ten Favorite Quotes From Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish

Does anyone else here have an addiction to Goodreads quotes? Because I do. This is going to be the HARDEST thing, only picking 10. Well, let’s diver right in, shall we?

1. “You didn’t kill him. He would have killed you, but you didn’t kill him.” / “So? He was stupid. If I killed everyone who was stupid, I wouldn’t have time to sleep.” – Tamora Pierce, In the Hand of the Goddess

2. “Someday I must read this scholar Everyone. He seems to have written so much–all of it wrong.” – Tamora Pierce, Emperor Mage

3. “…at the time, King Herbert felt that to remain safe, the kingdom needed an effective intelligence force.” / “An intelligent force?” said Will. / “Not intelligent. Intelligence. Although it does help if your intelligence force was also intelligent.” ― John Flanagan, The Ruins of Gorlan

4. “Girl Scouts didn’t teach me what to do with emotionally unstable drunk boys.” – Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

5. “Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?” / Jace said, “unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself.” / “At least,” she said, “you don’t have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland.” / “Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.” – Cassandra Clare City of Bones

6. “Patience, grasshopper,” said Maia. “Good things come to those who wait.” / “I always thought that was ‘Good things come to those who do the wave,” said Simon. “No wonder I’ve been so confused all my life.” – Cassandra Clare, City of Glass

7. “It just seems like overkill when you already have a dagger and I have superpowerful magic at my disposal.” / “Superpowerful?” He stood up, a gold chain dangling from his fingers. “Let me remind you of two words, Mercer: Bad. Dog.” – Rachel Hawkins, Demonglass

8. “Names are just words. I know that. But learning that the last name I’d used all my life was fake… “So what should I call myself, then?” I asked. “Sophie Atherton? Sophie Brannick?” Both sounded weird and made me feel like I was wearing clothes that didn’t fit. Mom smiled and brushed my hair away from my face. “You can call yourself whatever you want.” / “Okay. Sophie Awesome Sparkle-Princess it is.” ― Rachel Hawkins, Spell Bound

9. “Just because something isn’t practical doesn’t mean it’s not worth creating. Sometimes beauty and real-life magic are enough.” – Stephanie Perkins, Lola and the Boy Next Door

10. “Good luck explaining to God that you used to spank one of his heavenly beings.” Mom gave a startled laugh. “Sophie!” / “What? You did. I hope you like hot weather, Mom, that’s all I’m saying.” – Rachel Hawkins, Hex Hall

There are SO MANY MORE, but this is just a random pickings!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books to Read in a Day

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish.

Alright, now, total disclaimer here: books that I can read in a day are … everything. Seriously. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in one day. I am a speed-reader like nobody’s business. I’m going to try to slow it down here as best I can and not add something like War and Peace to this list. 😛 (All title links go to Goodreads)

1. The First Test by Tamora Pierce

Now, seriously, I’ll let you in on something. When I read this one (the first book in Pierce’s Protector of the Small series) or, say, the first book in her Song of the Lioness series or – erm, really, any of her books up til the Beka Cooper series, I just read the entire series in one shot. As I see it, I own them all – why not? Every single one is a funny, exciting ride that brings back so many memories for me, so that’s just kind of become a tradition with me.

2. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson

Yet another blast from the past, I know, but a book I just adore. Don’t ask me WHY I own so many Ibbotson books, because after a while they all look very much the same, but A Countess Below Stairs has always been my favorite. Eva Ibbotson is classic and this book is cute. Enough said.

3. The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

My favorite of all Moran’s books (so far) is also, sadly, the shortest. Still, rereads happen FREQUENTLY. Nefertari is a very active character I wish was my best friend, and the genuine love story that develops between her and Rameses never gets old. This is also by far my favorite overall cast of characters when up against Nefertiti and Cleopatra’s Daughter.

4. Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

If you’ve read my review of this book, then you know I squealed in it (and have squealed multiple times since) that this book and it’s predecessor Angelfire read like rapid fire shot guns. It’s AMAZING. These books ARE big, but you just HAVE to read them in a day because EVERYTHING just keeps HAPPENING. It kept me up til wee hours of the morning because there is just no way I could put it down.

5. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

The next two books in this series might have been a lot like repeats of this one, but there is a reason for that: this book was pretty good! It’s one of my guilty pleasure books when I’m in the mood for YA romance.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

As much as I try, I don’t think I will ever make any kind of favorites list without mentioning this book. I’m really sorry, guys, but again: HAVE YOU SEEN MY REVIEW? There is more CAPS than I ever care to write with. I just adore this book til the moon and back, and I just can’t seem to stop rereading it. Ever. It still makes me laugh so hard I cry. Speaking of which…

7. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins

Again, I believe we’ve been over this too. Several times. But GUYS. The ENTIRE Hex Hall series. (No matter what I said about Spell Bound!) I love these books. I want Sophie to be my best friend. I want Archer to be my boyfriend. (SHH, don’t tell my real boyfriend!) I want Jenna to be my best friend. I LOVE THESE BOOKS.

8. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

I think it’s bad that I live for the end of this book. Nothing gives me more glee than to watch this love triangle set up, knowing what’s coming. I think that’s a sign that I need to either stop reading books with love triangles in them or get therapy. Or, you know, both. But seriously. Check out my book review! And read this if you want a fresh take on a love triangle!

9. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

TIME FOR MORE CAPS. Why? Because why not! I adore this book and I’m not ashamed to say it! (Seriously, have you SEEN my book review?) Anyways. This book is for people who want a fresh new world to explore, people who want to see some interesting characters AND people who want some real romance. It’s like you can’t lose!

10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Seriously? Did you think you could get out of one of my lists without a Cassandra Clare book? Because you can’t. Ever. READ THESE BOOKS. Okay, so, her Infernal Devices series is said to be better than this Mortal Instruments series, but these were the first ones I read and therefore closest to my heart.