Tag Archives: Anna and the French Kiss

YA Aesthetics: Anna and the French Kiss

I have to admit that I’m not on top of my Tumblr game… But one of my favorite things to peruse on Tumblr is a little thing called the “YA Lit Meme” or “YA Aesthetics“. I haven’t seen much of it on book blogs outside of Tumblr but every time I see one, I pretty much fall in love.

In case you’re not familiar with the masterpieces on Tumblr, YA Aesthetics are essentially photo collages (as well as other representations — but my favorites happen to be the collages) featuring physical representations of prominent things in the book — important places, what a character might look like or wear, special objects, even quotes. I’ve been dying to try my hand at one of my own so I did my first attempt selecting images for Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins! I love putting together graphics and images so hopefully this will be something you’ll be seeing around more often here! *takes deep breath*   *crosses fingers*  Tell me what you think! 

YA AESTHETICS: ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

anna and the french kiss

It’s far from perfect but hey, it’s my first one. I sort of love it though! Can’t wait to keep working on more for other amazing novels! 

And if you love collages for YA Lit, you should definitely check out What Sarah Read! She’s been creating photo collages for her reviews and they’re just lovely! I adore this one she did for PASSENGER by Alex Bracken!


What do you think of YA Lit Memes & YA Aesthetics? Have you seen some awesome ones on Tumblr? Which books do you want to see represented next?

Redesign Reactions [1]: Anna and the French Kiss

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Welcome to Redesign Reactions, where we talk about books, covers, and what happens when new cover designs take over a series!

On this edition of Redesign Reactions, let’s talk about ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS (+ companions) by Stephanie Perkins!

Just before the release of the last book in the series (ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER), the companion series that kicked off with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS got a major cover overhaul! For a long time, fans er… expressed their opinions about the cheesy covers and how they especially didn’t do justice to the words inside. I know before I read ANNA, I totally judged a book by its cover (IT HAPPENS. We can’t avoid that) so the redesign might be doing it a little more justice now! Let’s take a look at old and new and see what you think:

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This redesign happened right before the third book came out. I know lots of people (me included) like to have their series with the same covers and in the same format so LUCKILY the publisher took notice and actually re-released ANNA and LOLA in hardcover with the new covers so people could now have matching series to include the new ISLA cover (well, original cover to this book, new design concept).

Personally, I’m not 100% sold on the redesign. I do like that they got rid of the cheesy cover models and setting. Everything looked very photoshopped together and nothing seemed to really fit well on the cover. I do like more about the redesign than I dislike. I love the colors schemes for these, LOVE the settings of the books in the background, and I like how each book/girl gets their own sort of symbol to represent them (heart, star, rose). What I’m not sold on? The font isn’t great. It didn’t have to be crazy typography or anything but it just felt a little TOO plain… but maybe I’m just being overly analytical! I like that the little symbols are there but I’m not a huge fan of their placement how simple they are as well (but then again, they wouldn’t really be able to be used as symbols/icons if they were extremely detailed).

So tell me! Which design do you like better? Take the poll below and let me know in the comments which you prefer and why! I’d love to hear your reactions!

[bctt tweet=”Which Anna and the French Kiss cover do you like better: Original or redesign? Take the poll at @bookaddictguide!” via=”no”]

 

If You Liked… Anna and the French Kiss

One of my favorite parts about being a book blogger is sharing the books that I love with others. I absolutely love sharing my favorite reads and recommending them to others who are looking to fall in love with a new book!

12 BOOKS TO READ IF YOU LIKED ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Every month, I do a read along with two of my best friends (Alyssa from Books Take You Places and Amy from Tripping Over Books). We read the same book together and each come up with a post as a part of our On the Same Page feature! This month we read Stephanie Perkins’ masterpiece, ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS and I’ve already reviewed the book (twice) so I wanted to come up with a different post to share my love of ANNA.

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is one of my favorite contemporary romances — no, THE favorite contemporary romance — and I’m always recommending it to anyone who’s looking to pick up a swoony contemporary! It usually has some good success (I do recommend carefully) so once my friend/family/whoever is done with the rest of the companions (if they so desire), I like to make sure I have a batch of new recommendations ready and waiting!


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IF YOU LIKED ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

Try… MEANT TO BE by Lauren Morrill.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

MEANT TO BE is another one of my top-recommended contemporary books and one I always pair with ANNA. It’s about Julia who’s a BIT of a nerd and she goes on spring break with her class to London. Overseas adventures ensue, Julia ends up learning a LOT about herself, she makes some new friends and learns a thing or two about love and how it sometimes works in tricky ways. This book is nothing but adorable and I myself am anxious to re-read it soon!

Try… OPEN ROAD SUMMER by Emery Lord.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I read OPEN ROAD SUMMER last year and just fell head over heels for this book. I’m sure you’ll hear fans of Emery Lord praise her books over and over again for their friendships and it’s true — OPEN ROAD SUMMER has one of the best friendships I’ve read in a long time. The two girls are very different but they’re also very similar and I love that nothing can split them apart. Oh yeah, there’s also a SUPER swoony guy named Matt Finch (and you’ll also hear fans screaming his name too)!

Try… THE BOOK OF BROKEN HEARTS by Sarah Ockler.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Sarah Ockler seems to be a big fan favorite but this was the first I read of hers and completely fell in love. I laughed, I cried, I swooned, and I fell head over heels for this book. It definitely had a more personal note for me with Jude and Emilio helping to fix up her father’s motorcycle because my husband is very into motorcycles (we have a chopper in the garage right now… Two, actually. He’s helping a friend fix up one) so that whole story line really meant a lot to me too!

Try… ASK AGAIN LATER by Liz Czukas.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
ASK AGAIN LATER is another delight (by a delightful author). It’s the story of a girl named Heart (yes, that’s her real name) and choosing which possible date to go with. The book is split up into the two possibilities and we get to see each path if she were to choose Guy A or Guy B, so it’s not really sci-fi or parallel universe but it’s also a little twist on the everyday contemporary! I loved the tone of the book and the group of friends featured here and there is some great romantic tension!

Try… GOING VINTAGE by Lindsey Leavitt.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
GOING VINTAGE was the first book I’ve read by Lindsey Leavitt but I became an instant fan! I loved Mallory and how she handled every situation that she ended up in and Lindsey Leavitt is excellent at great family dynamics. The story was cute, I love that Mallory is a list-maker, and I could just really identify in so many ways. Add a cute romance in the mix and it became a quick favorite! I didn’t expect to fall so in love with this book but yet another that was just tons of fun.

Try… THE TROUBLE WITH FLIRTING by Claire LaZebnik.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
This book was SO cute and so much fun. It’s actually a retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (which oops. I haven’t actually read) and I just had so much fun reading the book. It’s about Franny who’s working for her aunt at Mansfield’s Summer Theater Program and through her new friends and surprising new summer romance, she ends up learning a lot about herself. I think this one would be great for fans of ANNA!

Try… THE STATISTICAL PROBABILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT by Jennifer E. Smith.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

STATISTICAL (for short) is another great Eurotrip read! It’s a bit different and it’s been a while since I read it but I’d say it’s not AS “fluffy” but it’s another one I recommend a lot paired with ANNA! Hadley and Oliver are just adorable and their story is so much fun. It also takes place in only 24 hours which is something that is so neat and I love how you can feel the romance setting in even though this book only takes place in a day. Very cute book.

Try… JUST ONE DAY by Gayle Forman.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

JUST ONE DAY is another all-time favorite contemporary by one of my all-time favorite authors, Gayle Forman! It’s another book with a European setting and I’ve never been to Europe but the feeling is just oh-so-wonderful! It’s so interesting to watch the main character Allyson grow and adapt as her trip through Europe and the meeting of Willem causes her to go on a journey of self-discovery. It’s another book that means a lot to me but actually quite in a different way than ANNA does!

Try… NANTUCKET BLUE by Leila Howland.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

NANTUCKET BLUE (and its sequel NANTUCKET RED) hold a special place in my heart. I related to Cricket in so many ways and I think fans of ANNA will really appreciate the story lines, the romance, and especially the lessons about friendship that are all prominently featured in this book. I’d say the tone is a bit more serious but not overly heavy if you’re looking for a breezy read and there’s some more travel involved! This time staying inside the US and out to Nantucket, but it’s great to get that getaway feel.

Try… BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
This book was ADORABLE. It’s still YA but it was interesting to see the book begin when the main characters, Macallan and Levi, first meet as kids. The book delves a bit into a middle grade range but I only thought that extended its appeal to a younger crowd too… but I also really enjoyed it as an adult so I think the appeal is just that it’s a great book! I always, always love stories about best friends falling for each other and it reminded me of quite a few of my friendships!

Try… WHEN JOSS MET MATT by Ellie Cahill.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

WHEN JOSS MET MATT is a bit more mature than my other recommendations (it’s a New Adult book and has much more adult content) but it’s one that I think fits very well with ANNA if you’re looking for a book with a little more sexy times and in a college setting but with the same type of feel. I picked WHEN JOSS MET MATT for the awesome friendships and then tension that develops between the two main characters and its general light-hearted feel. I just fell in love with it and had SO much fun reading it!

Try… ON THE FENCE by Kasie West.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
Ohhh gosh, all of Kasie West’s contemporary books are just SO cute and swoony but I thin ON THE FENCE is my favorite so far! I just love books about tomboys and falling in love with the boy next door so this one instantly grabbed me! Kasie West just has a great knack for creating awesome characters, great families, solid friendships, and wonderful relationships. I just loved watching this book unfold and I am always ready to gobble up more from Kasie West! (You should also check out her paranormal duology, PIVOT POINT!)


I always have a blast picking out recommendations and these Anna read-alikes are some of my favorites! Which books would you recommend for Anna and the French Kiss fans?

Check out my review for Anna and the French Kiss and my re-read too!
Anna and the French Kiss Review // Anna and the French Kiss Re-Read

And if you love Anna and the French Kiss, check out Alyssa & Amy’s posts for our On the Same Page feature!
Alyssa: Anna and the French Kiss Quotes // Amy: Re-read Impressions

Looking for more recommendations? Check out my previous list of recs below!

 

Pub Date [8] – Book & Beer Valentine

Pub Date

Hi, all! Welcome to back to our new feature called PUB DATE where Estelle from Rather Be Reading, Andi from Andi’s ABCs, and Maggie from Just a Couple More Pages and I all team up to pair books + beers in harmony! Each week, one of us will features a beer and a book of our choice, each with a different theme for that month!

This month’s theme: BOOK & BEER VALENTINE

Let’s be honest for a minute. I’m married and I still think Valentine’s Day sucks! Those who have significant others get stressed out about planning something special. Those who don’t feel crappy (or have an EXCELLENT time with friends), but either way, I’m not a huge fan of the holiday. Actually, I shouldn’t say that — I’m just totally indifferent. I’m spending this Valentine’s Day with books. Anderson’s Bookshop is hosting an event with Cary Elwes who you may know better as Wesley from The Princess Bride. THAT’S RIGHT. So guess where I will be on Valentine’s Dayyyyyy! (I invited my husband and he actually did not want to come. He also hates Valentine’s Day so it’s just anther day for us. We’ll PROBABLY go to a really non-fancy dinner at our favorite dive bar). So all in all, yes, I’m spending Valentine’s Day with my husband (for part of the day) but also with books and beer! [Edit: We actually MAY end up taking a staycation… possibly to New Glarus? … like I talked about in the last Pub Date post!]

pub date book and beer valentineWhile my real-life book and beer valentines are yet to be determined (although clearly AS YOU WISH will be getting lots of love that day), I wanted to share with you some book & beer favorites that always give me the feels! The book one is easy. I took some time assessing my book boyfriends and after my re-read of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS the other month… I think Etienne St. Clair is the clear winner. Anna is my girl and her relationship with St. Clair gives me ALL THE FEELS. I seriously melted the last time I read this book and plan on re-reading it every year now! (This year’s re-read will actually come in March with On the Same Page!)

My beer, as you will see, is Weihenstephaner. Why is this my beer valentine? Well, our very first official date was at a restaurant called The Country House. It was Shane’s “regular” spot and a little bit dive-y which was perfect for the both of us. It was a big deal to him to show me his spot and we ended up going there quite a bit after that first date! Me being me, I tried to weihenstephaner country houseninja the bill from him (how silly on a first date, but I couldn’t just LET him pay) and I ended up knocking his beer over as I reached across the table for the check and SPILLED HIS BEER ALL OVER HIS PANTS. He was a tiny bit upset but mostly amused and we both ended up laughing. If he could handle me knocking his beer over on the first official date, he could handle anything I could throw at him (figuratively. I don’t throw things at him!!) and it’s been a great story ever since. So when we found out that The Country House was closing that location and opening a new restaurant a few streets down, we HAD to go back for one last dinner and set of beers before they shut the doors of our old hangout for good. We both had a fantastic time and it was nice to go back — after over a year — and we even saw the old manager who knew Shane really well. So sad that we’ll never get to go back there again but I’m SO glad we went back one last time, even though it’s so far from where we live. It was a perfect night and we both really had an amazing time. We even took a picture which is not something we hardly EVER do (unless we’re on vacations)!

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Thanks for joining us for another edition of Pub Date! Missed any posts? You can catch up at any time on my blog page for the Pub Date Feature!


Recent Beers 

  • Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbeer by Bayerische Staatsberaueri Weihenstephan. Hefeweizen // 5.40% ABV. This was actually one of the first hefeweizens I’ve had, I think. I wasn’t a huge beer drinker before Shane and I started dating though I did enjoy it. I fell in love with Weihenstephaner and many more hefeweizens after that! Tastes amazing with a lemon or without!
  • Fat Tire by New Belgium Brewing Company. American Amber/Red Ale // 5.20% ABV. Fat Tire is always a favorite! It has a bit heavier flavor BUT you’re also drinking an amber, not a light beer. I love the flavor, though, and it’s always delicious. I’ve been past New Belgium TWICE now on the single day of the week they aren’t open. Sigh. SOMEDAY I will visit this brewery!!!
  • Blue Moon Belgian White by Blue Moon Brewing Company. Witbier // 5.40% ABV. Okay, so Blue Moon isn’t anything new or special either, but I always love it. It’s another always-favorite, easy-drinker, and crowd-pleaser! It’s another always-available craft beer so that’s usually what I get if I’m in a spot where there aren’t a lot of craft beer choices!

** Beer styles and alcohol content from Beer Advocate **
** Drink responsibly ** 

Are you a beer fan? On the Untappd app? Add me as a friend!

Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins

Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie PerkinsTitle: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: August 14, 2014 by Penguin
Source: Amazon
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 28, 2014
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Anna and the French Kiss, My True Love Gave To Me

    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.

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With ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS being one of my all-time favorite books, especially after my recent re-read in preparation for ISLA, I felt a lot of pressure to fall in love with ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER the way I did with ANNA. I enjoyed LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, but no book has really hit so many feelings and perfect moments and got those perfect couples just right like ANNA did so I was a bit intimidated with the last book in this set of companions.

I was so grateful to be able to borrow the ARC from Carolina from Book Problems (thank you again!!) and I immediately dove in. Right off the bat, I noticed a big difference between ISLA and the first two books, which was neither good nor bad… Just different. Anna and Lola both have an instant chemistry (Anna after just meeting St. Clair and Lola after reuniting with Cricket) but ISLA really jumps right into the meat and potatoes of the romance. We know from Isla’s narration that she’s had a long-time crush on Josh and re-readers of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS are able to see snippets of moments that Isla mentions in her narrative, which I always love and think is incredibly exciting! Readers don’t have to wait long for the meet-cute that brings Isla and Josh together again, the summer before senior year is about to start (in fact, it’s the first thing that happens in the book) and immediately the two start to hit it off.
For me, the immediate transition from crush to full-on relationship felt a bit rushed. I know, I know, Isla has been crushing on him for years, right? But as a reader, I didn’t get to see that point of view. I was missing all the build-up, the feelings, the missed moments, the locked eyes, the beating hearts — all of the amazing tension that happened like it did with Anna and St. Clair. Of course, I know the books won’t all be the same and they can’t ALL follow the same romance pattern, but I did feel like I was missing a lot of the build-up that I love seeing so much in new relationships.

The whole story of ISLA was definitely different than the other girls, which I really enjoyed. She’s a year younger than Anna and St. Clair so she always saw their group of friends as sort of the… well, popular kids for lack of a better term. She really admired their group and having a huge crush on Josh, always felt like there was no way to crack that close knit group. She also has a best friend from both home and who also attends SOAP who has a mild form of autism (falling under the umbrella of Asberger’s) so it was really interesting to see their relationship as well as how that affected Isla’s romantic relationship having a male best friend, once that started to form. I really loved the way Stephanie Perkins handle all of this and thought it could not have been pulled off better. It was really great to see that kind of friendship and whereas Anna and St. Clair had a friendship that we all rooted for to turn into a romance, Isla and Kurt really are strictly friends and Kurt is never jealous of Josh in a romantic way. If ever feelings are hurt (which you know will be inevitable), it’s just because he misses his friend who he’s used to spending all of his time with, and I really loved that.

This is the hard part to review because it just kills me… I didn’t really quite connect with Isla and Josh as much as I had hoped. Isla felt a bit too insecure for my liking. She sabotaged herself too many times and I can understand being afraid to talk to someone, to take a chance, to put yourself out there, to take the next step… But I felt like it happened a lot in the book and there was one specific time where it was just so frustrating that I got upset. She’s a very smart girl — the top of her class — but not always the most social girl. That never bothered me since I’m not the most outgoing person myself and often feel awkward or shy in public… But the self-sabotage really just pained me a little bit. I felt bad for Isla and at the same time I wanted to shake her and tell her to cut it out!
I also didn’t connect to Josh as much as I wanted to. I heard some great things before the book about how swoony he was and people loving Josh more than St. Clair (though for me, I don’t know if ANYONE could ever top St. Clair) so admittedly, I was expecting a lot. I really liked Josh but he felt very different from the best friend Josh that I knew in ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, perhaps because I really just didn’t know that much about him at that point. Josh has his own past and skeletons in his closet to deal with and it doesn’t make for an easy time with school or with Isla. I liked Josh, but I just couldn’t fall in love with him. I kept waiting for that chemistry to hit me like a ton of bricks and I just didn’t ever really FEEL the spark or the butterflies.

The ending of the book was just perfect in every way. MY FAVORITE PART happened at the very end (like, OMG best thing ever) and it was so great to see everything really wrap up and also tie all three books together. Despite a few qualms as the book progressed, I really loved the way everything wrapped up and I was able to see exactly how much Isla and Josh had both learned from the experiences they went through. There was one small thing that I thought didn’t have to be taken THAT far, but that’s a spoilery thing and reveals how the book wraps up so I can’t really expound on that in my review! Overall, I really enjoyed ISLA and zipped right through it, but ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is still the clear winner of my heart!

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I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

isla updates

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Isla // Character Obsessions: School, Josh, Kurt, traditions.
Isla is a smart girl. She’s very practical and is usually the voice of reason amongst her family. The only time she really takes a chance is with Josh and after what happens once they’re together. She has some big insecurities that tripped me up a bit, simply because they were hard to read. I mean, I know I’ve had similar feelings so maybe that’s why it was hard for me? But it wasn’t just that they were present, but that they persisted even when things were good. Anyway. I didn’t connect with her as much as I had hoped but I really loved seeing the Isla from the beginning and the Isla from the end and seeing how much she grew as a person and how much she taught herself.
Josh // Character Obsessions: Art, projects, relaxing, going after what he wants.
Josh was… nice. I just didn’t ever connect with him. I think it was harder because he was so outgoing when he was with his friends, but with Isla, he seemed much less vocal and a lot more… well, not physical, though they were a more physical couple than previous Stephanie Perkins characters… But I just didn’t feel like he SAID as much and much Isla, I felt like I kept trying to get into Josh’s head and just couldn’t.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Stephanie Perkins. Even though ANNA remains my favorite of the trio, I’m pretty sure any Stephanie Perkins book is still an auto-buy for me! I just love all of the feelings (not just romantic FEELS but the way everything really make the reader think and reflect and relate) and how every book really comes together just perfectly.
Left Me Wanting More: Chemistry. I’m sure many readers will just KILL ME over this, but I just didn’t get the chemistry between Isla and Josh. Maybe I still had an Anna/St. Clair hangover because those two honestly do just kill me a little… But I never quite got in the groove of Isla & Josh 🙁

Addiction Rating
Read it!

You must read the last book in this trio of wonderful contemporaries! Despite the missed connections for me, it was still a really nice, solid read and I did enjoy it! If you’ve read the first two, you just need to see this one see the companions through as well!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 Nantucket red    just one day

Re-read: Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

Re-read: Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie PerkinsTitle: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: December 2, 2010 by Penguin
Source: Anderson's Bookshop
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 26, 2014
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After, My True Love Gave To Me

    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
?

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DEEP BREATHS. DEEP BREATHS. Because I know I fell in love with this book when I first read it but I forgot exactly how in love with it I was until I read it again this year as a part of the #IslaIsComing Read Along (and blog tour)! How I managed to write a coherent review for this book the first time around is beyond me and how I will manage to do it again… Seems impossible.

Okay, first… Let’s talk about Anna. I still feel quite a bit of a connection with her and I just see so much of myself in her character! The whole movie review blog, the way she reacts to things, the way she talks, the way she cares about her family… They’re just all things that I relate to and I still feel like Anna is one of my favorite female leads of all time. I love how much she grows in this book from not wanting to put herself out there (for being in/exploring France as well as with new friends and crushes) to feeling okay — even confident — to take risks and do things on her own. She’s far from perfect but she’s willing to admit her mistakes when she recognizes them and she does try to be a good person.

I’ve come to the realization that the reason I connect so much more with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS versus LOLA or even ISLA is because of the romance between Anna and St. Clair. It’s not even just their romance but how it develops. I LOVE the best-friend-turned-boyfriend concept and I was discussing with Sandie after we had both read ISLA how Anna and St. Clair just have this instant chemistry and it just never felt forced. They both had an instant attraction to each other but they had a great friendly banter and camaraderie that was at the core of their relationship so it never felt like insta-love even though they had just met. This romance really just combined everything I love in a romance: a great friendship, a slow burn, and a forbidden aspect. Put all of those together in ANNA and I was just constantly falling in love and tearing my hair out watching their interactions — and it’s a re-read so I already know how it ends!

What makes this book so special to me in part is the connection I made to the characters but I think a big part of WHY I connected is because Stephanie Perkins just wrote them so well. Each character — but especially the two main characters, Anna and St. Clair — all felt incredibly real. Anna and St. Clair feel like real people and not just characters in a book. I feel like I lived part of the book and other parts feel like I’m reading about my best friends. I really was just able to put myself into the book at any given time and it felt like home, despite the fact that I’ve never been to France or even anywhere in Europe at all.

I don’t know how she does it, but Stephanie Perkins is amaaaaazing at infusing this book with ALL THE FEELS. Honestly, almost all of my status updates as I was reading had some sort of capslocked words or flailing. All of the butterflies and tender moments and perfect quotes all come together flawlessly. Nothing felt like it was overdone. Everything fell perfectly into place. Not all moments were perfect and each character had a bit of their own ugly moments that everyone in life must go through to learn about each other and to learn about themselves.

What more can I say about ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS except the fact that this has been by far my favorite re-read ever. Picking up this book again has solidified it on a list of my all-time favorites and I think I can say after re-reading that it’s easily my favorite YA contemporary novel that I’ve read so far. This book is the tops, my friends. For me, it doesn’t get any better than this.

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I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

anna

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Anna Oliphant // Character Obsessions: Movies, home, Toph, friends.
I wish Anna was a real live person. We could get along SO well. I honestly would just love to stick myself in this book and be best friends with Anna. I think we would totally hit it off and be the best of friends… until I try to steal St. Clair from her 😀
Etienne St. Clair // Character Obsessions: Art, friends, having fun, his mom.
Can I just say ALL THE SWOONS and cover it? No? Well, okay. St. Clair just has that confident swagger but not swagger in a cocky way because I hate that. He’s just a confident person and that’s just an attractive thing. He’s funny and supportive and emotional and kind and basically everything any girl could ask for. He just makes me swoon.

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Kept Me Hooked On: The best. contemporary. ever. I am so glad I re-read this book. It was amazing to re-read it and have just as many feelings and maybe even more so since I was already invested in this story! I think I may need to do a regular yearly re-read of this!
Left Me Wanting More: Anna & St. Clair, all the time. I could read about these two forever. I just love their chemistry and their connection. Stephanie Perkins really knocked it out of the park with this couple.

Addiction Rating
BUY IT!

If you haven’t read ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS yet, even if you’re not a contemporary reader, DO IT. It’s so swoony and so lovely and so wonderful and I can’t imagine anyone hating it (although I’m sure SOMEONE does, but we may not be friends for that reason (just kidding (kind of)) so if you haven’t read it yet, you absolutely MUST!

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BOOKS LIKE ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

 open road summer    on the fence

Quote Crazy! Anna and the French Kiss

I am SO excited to be hopping on this blog tour of features for the Stephanie Perkins books, especially since ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is one of my favorite books OF ALL TIME. In fact, I just re-read it the other week and I can tell you that it’s even better the second time around (or if you’re Andi, the ninth time around)! A special thanks to Andi’s ABCs, The Perpetual Page Turner, Cuddlebuggery, A Bookish Sinister Kid, and Paper Riot for hosting this read along and series of events! I was honored to be asked to be a part of these special features and it took some thinking about what I wanted to do, but when it came down to it, I had to make a post in dedication to one of my favorite things about ANNA — the quotes!

Stephanie Perkins has some amazing lines throughout ANNA and it’s one of the reasons I fell in love with the book (another big one being Etienne St. Clair, of course)! I’m always toying with the idea of making quote art but lately just haven’t had the time to sit down with Photoshop and come up with some ideas so this was the perfect time to get in touch with my creative side and be able to share this quote art with you as well!

Feel free post, share, or print these– whatever you want! — but if you do share on the internet, please do credit me as the source 🙂 I didn’t want to tag the pictures with a little copyright because then they’re just not as pretty so just the tiniest mention would be appreciated, pretty please!

Without further ado, some of my favorite quotes from ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS!

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 “French name. English accent. American school. Anna confused.” — I just love this quote SO much and I remember when I read this book, it was one of the first that really made me fall in love with Anna!


 

PARIS

“Welcome to Paris, Anna. I’m glad you’ve come.” — St. Clair to Anna. OMG he’s EXCITED she’s in Paris. THE FEELINGS BEGIN.


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“Boys turn girls into such idiots.” — Said by Anna. And ain’t it the truth.


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“Is it possible for home to be a person, not a place?” — Said by Anna and another one of my favorite quotes ever. It was one that really hit home with me too.


JOIN IN THE READALONG!
hosted by
Andi’s ABCs, The Perpetual Page Turner, Cuddlebuggery, A Bookish Sinister Kid, and Paper Riot!

Just click on the image above and it will bring you to the full read along schedule! The ANNA read along is almost over, but if you read quickly, you can still join and hop on for LOLA and ISLA too!

 

Summer Showcase: Cute Contemporaries

summer showcase cute contemporary books

This summer I wanted to share with you a collection of posts to feature a few books that I just absolutely have to recommend to you for fantastic summer reads a well as books I plan on reading this summer myself! Summertime is a fantastic time of year for so many different kinds of books. I don’t know how many people out there are mood readers or even “season readers” but I feel like summer is the great time for epic books, cute contemps, and emotional roller coasters — basically any book you can totally and completely get lost in. Enter: feature.

Missed the first edition of Summer Showcase? Check out which blockbuster books I’m recommending for this summer (and reading myself) here!
Summer Showcase: Blockbusters

THE CUTE CONTEMPORARIES

One of my favorite types of books to read in the summer are the cute contemporaries. I just LOVE a cute, summery, light read in the summertime. They’re just perfect for kicking back and relaxing, reading on the beach, chilling on the porch, or just letting your mind relax with something cute and cozy!

There’s just something about contemporary books that scream summer and I just love all the light and fluffy and/or cute and/or swoony reads paired with warm weather and cold drinks!

Open Road Summer

Open Road Summer – Emery Lord

OPEN ROAD SUMMER is the perfect summer read. I mean HELLOOOO it has the word “summer” in the title! But seriously, folks. I read this one a few months ago and I am still swooning over it. I read it, fell in love, and then immediately ordered my hardcover copy because I NEEDED this book to stay on my shelves. I already want to do a re-read. That’s how much I loved it!
What you need to know about this book is that it’s about teenage country & pop superstar Lilah Montgomery and the story spans the course of the summer during her concert tour (hence the title) but the book isn’t actually Lilah’s story. Yes, that’s a very big part of it, but OPEN ROAD SUMMER is very much Reagan’s story. Reagan and Dee (short for Delilah — Dee to her friends, Lilah to her fans) have been best friends for years and after a very rough patch in her life, Reagan spends the summer with Dee on her multi-city concert tour. It’s a story about redemption, friendship, love, and finding oneself. OPEN ROAD SUMMER is one of my top recommendations for summer reads because this book really has it all!

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Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

Now is the perfect time to read ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS if you haven’t already with companion novel ISLA AND THE HAPPILY EVER AFTER coming out in August! I read ANNA a couple years ago and instantly fell in love. I really related to Anna in so many ways and she also happens to fall in love with one of my favorite book crushes of all time, Etienne St. Clair. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS takes place at a boarding school in France and not knowing much about France (and not being a Francophile like so many of my friends), I was scared I’d get lost in French culture and references… but it was just the opposite. I ended up learning a lot and quickly fell into step with Anna who also knew absolutely zip about France before she was shipped off there.
ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is adorable, enjoyable, and one of my favorites. Read it or start a re-read this summer! Now is the time!

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Meant To Be – Lauren Morrill

MEANT TO BE actually takes place over spring break, but I think it’s a wonderful light read for summer as well. I felt like it was very reminiscent of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS when I first read it which was all positive for me! I really connected with Julia who was a total book nerd and someone who always felt like things would fall into place, especially when it came to her love life. I loved Julia’s story of figuring out that sometimes you need to work at the best things in life to make them happen and that life can be a great balance of both Fate and choice. The romance is cute and so much fun to watch develop and MEANT TO BE also has some really funny lines and slapstick comedy which I don’t always enjoy but Lauren Morrill did it just perfectly!

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The Summer I Became A Nerd – Leah Rae Miller

THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD is one of the most underrated cute contemporaries that I’ve read. It’s not a bigger title and it’s from a smaller publisher so I really feel like this one really slipped under people’s radars but I absolutely loved it! The book is an almost Cinderella story in reverse… Instead of a transformation from geek to chic, we get the story of Maddie, a closet geek who slowly starts to turn from popular cheerleader into the nerd she really is. I thought the book was so much fun and it has a great nerdy-hot love interest!

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On the Fence — Kasie West

ON THE FENCE was just plain adorable. Kasie West is a contemporary mastermind and this book did not disappoint me whatsoever. I loved reading about tomboy Charlie (short for Charlotte) and her day-to-day life growing up in a house full of men. The book was just plain fun and I loved the best-friend-to-boyfriend romance (I always do) between Charlie and her neighbor Braden, who’s practically a part of the family. ON THE FENCE is light, adorable, and just plain fun!

MY SUMMER 2014 CUTE CONTEMPORARY READS

      

MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I KNOW. How have I not read this yet?! I’ve heard nothing but good things from everyone and I just haven’t had the time to sit down and really enjoy it. I’m constantly working my way through ARCs and review copies that my backlist copies tend to get pushed to the side but I REALLY want to read MY LIFE NEXT DOOR sometime this summer! It’s been on my list for years and it just needs to happen!

A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT by Sandy Hall

A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT is one of my review copy reads but I’m also really excited to get to it! I’ve been hearing nothing but good things about it and just how stinkin’ cute it is. I’m really excited to pick this one up for summer and just kick back and relax with an adorable book.

How about you? Do you love cute contemporaries for summer? Which ones are climbing to the top of your recommendations lists this year?

Top Ten Tuesday – November 13, 2012: Top Ten Books I’d Want On A Deserted Island

It’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the wonderful blog at The Broke and the Bookish!

This Week’s Topic is: Top Ten Books  I’d Want On A Deserted Island

So these books will be my bread & butter – The books I could read over and over and over and over again. Easy peasy.

MY TOP TEN DESERT ISLAND CHOICES
(in no particular order)

There you have it! 

Honorable mention: The Princess Bride (but I know the movie by heart)
Wow, this was actually really hard! I went through my Goodreads favorites list and came up with these top 10 books that I could read forever. I’m actually surprised that so many were contemporary! Way to go, contemp for becoming more abundant in my life 🙂

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door – Stephanie PerkinsTitle: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Publishing Info: September 29, 2011 by Penguin
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 3, 2012
Related Posts: Anna and the French Kiss, Anna and the French Kiss, Isla and the Happily Ever After, My True Love Gave To Me

    Lola Nolan is a budding costume designer, and for her, the more outrageous, sparkly, and fun the outfit, the better. And everything is pretty perfect in her life (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the negihborhood. When Cricket, a gifted inventor, steps out from his twin sister's shadow and back into Lola's life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

Breaking It Down Further: Lola Nolan is happy. She has two parents who love her, a killer-hot boyfriend, and a love for fashion and flair that keep her life interesting. That is, until the Bells move back in. Next door. Where they used to live. And now Lola has to once again face the mean and snobby Calliope Bell, and her twin brother Cricket – the “one that got away” and broke her heart when they moved without a word. Now that he’s back – and Lola’s still dating Max – what happens when feelings resurface and they once again meet face to face?

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I had a right to be a bit reserved when I picked up LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR. I absolutely FELL IN LOVE with ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. There was no way this could be better. And at least for me, I was a little right. Anna was me. I was Anna. I just got her and then throw in a European romance and hellooooo. Heaven!
But Lola is a character. She’s kind of my antithesis — Not in a bad way. Just everything I’m not. Outgoing, into fashion, noticeably unique, bold. She lives on the other side of the country, she has two dads who adopted her from her irresponsible birth parents. She’s dating an older guy who’s also a rock star. Just none of that was really easy for me to relate to. It wasn’t hard, but it wasn’t easy. Don’t get me wrong – Lola is a lot of fun! It just took me a while to warm up to her and figure out the depth of her actual character, a lot of which I don’t think really came out until we got more involved with Cricket.

Small complaint #2: I don’t like unusual character names. Lola. Cricket. Calliope (although that one’s not as bad). It just really takes away from the story feeling as “real” as it could be and puts me farther from connecting with a character.

Okay, that being settled — I loved Cricket. I felt so bad for him in the beginning where he’s clearly still into Lola and she’s clearly not in a healthy relationship with Max and the whole time I’m like, “Come ON just dump your stupid boyfriend and go be with Cricket!!!” He’s so cute and quirky in a more relatable way to me than Lola was (although I really did warm up to her – especially when we got to see her “natural” side on a few occasions).

I think the beginning was a little bit slower for me than the second half of the book. We got a little more tension and it really took off for me and the ending was SO cute. Another great Stephanie Perkins book! I can’t wait until she has more books coming out!

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Lola Nolan: Like I said, I was slow to warm up to Lola just because she was so the opposite of me in so many ways, but once the story got going and I learned more about her, more about her character’s feeling and insights, I really liked her a lot. I think she really matured throughout the book and I’m just glad she finally came to her senses! And yay, she likes Pushing Daisies! 10 points for that!!
Cricket Bell: Oh, he was so stinkin cute. I liked how we went from Etienne St Clair in Anna – who really had a lot of the same sense of humor and personality as Cricket in many ways – to Cricket Bell who is similar yet so completely different. It was the warm feeling, the sense of home and the first love that just made me long for this relationship to work. Ugh, those first-love-coming-back-into-your-life stories just kill me!!!
Nathan and Andy: I’m super sorry if this is stereotypical and insensitive of me, but I couldn’t help but see Lola’s dads as kind of a Cam-and-Mitchell-relationship on Modern Family. That’s the most prominent family dynamic I have in my mind as two gay men raising a daughter so it just stuck. It actually enhanced the story for me because I love the show and it was nice to be able to have a feeling of the characters that was so familiar, even if it may have been wildly inaccurate from what Stephanie Perkins was aiming for!

QUOTES

p55: “It’s easy to talk about the things we hate, but sometimes it’s hard to explain exactly why we like something.

p185: Lola: That was both ridiculously easy and way more complicated than it should have been. Cricket: (he smiles back) That’s my specialty.

p281: (Cricket) “And maybe some people thing that wearing a costume means you’re trying to hide your true identity, but I think a costume is more truthful than regular clothing could ever be. It actually says something about the person wearing it.”

p333: “I am trying really hard not to use the word ‘fabulous’ right now,” Andy says
That one made me laugh out loud!

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Read it!

LOLA was definitely cute and I loved reading another Stephanie Perkins book! But it didn’t hold a candle to ANNA for me!!

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