Monday, January 23, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Why I Read It: I've heard so much about this book, and read so many reviews that I just had to read it for myself!

Where I Got It: Secret Santa sent it to me! :D

Rating: 4/5 stars

Overview from the inside cover:

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's not too pleased when her father decided to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new friends, including the handsome Etienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken--And Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's been waiting for? 

First, I feel the need to say that I was a little disappointed in the book. I feel like all of the reviews I read made me so excited for this book, that it forced me into having a huge expectation to this being the best book ever read. Except, I had a hard time feeling like it was a good book. 

I went back and forth about how many stars to give it, and why I'd choose what I did over another rating, etc. I must say, the book was extremely slow going for me. It took me until way past the half point of the book to REALLY get into it. So, for that reason alone, I decided to give it 4 out of 5 stars. I was going to go ahead and give the book 3 out of 5 stars because it was slow going, took me a while to get into it, and I felt like there needed to be a lot more background information on Anna to REALLY get to know her. But, as I continued to read, and finally got into it to the point where I couldn't put the book down, I decided it was worth 4 out of 5 stars.

Now, onto the actual story line of the book. 

Anna is your typical teenage boy crazy girl. She has a crush on her friend Toph, who works with her at the movie theater. She finds herself drooling over him, and dreaming of spending the rest of her life with him. Then, suddenly, (and I'm not sure if it ever really said why), her Dad sends her off to School of American in Paris. Anna throws a fit that she has to go on the other side of the world for her SENIOR YEAR of school, leaving her friends and family behind. She's scared of new and bigger places, and most of all, she's scared that she doesn't know even a little bit of French. 

After her first day in the dorms, she meets her neighbor Meredith, who becomes her good friend right away. Meredith introduces Anna to her friends, St. Clair, Josh, Rashmi and a few other people. They all become fast friends, and become the "group". 

As the story progresses, we learn a lot about St. Clair and his girlfriend Ellie. We learn that St. Clair is liked by many, and all women. He's the type of guy girls chase after and drool over. Anna instantly finds herself becoming best friends with him, and slowly realizes that she likes him a little more than she should.

The book goes on and on with St. Clair and Anna site seeing around Paris, getting to know each other more, going to classes, doing homework, and all of the other drama of being in high school. We all know that type of drama! 

There were two things that were said in the book that stuck out to me. One being when Anna said, "Why do I always fall for the wrong guys?" Because don't we all? And the other being, "Because I was right. Home isn't a place, it's a person." 

All in all, it was a good book, with a good story line. I don't think it was as good as my expectations sought out it to be, but I would definitely recommend it to everyone who looks a decent Young Adult novel. 

I'm excited to read Stephanie's new book, Lola and the Boy Next Door! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Longing by Karen Kingsbury

Title: Longing

Author: Karen Kingsbury

Why I Read It: It's the third book in the Bailey Flangian series. I've read the first two, so of course I needed to read this one.

Where I Got It: Target

Rating: 5/5 stars

Overview from Barnes and Noble:

While Bailey Flanigan wrestles with feelings for Brandon Paul, Cody Coleman's work coaching a small-town football team has brought him and his players national attention. In the midst of the celebration and success, Cody finds himself much closer to a woman who seems to better understand him and his new life. Even so, never does much time go by without Bailey and Cody experiencing deep feelings of longing for each other, longing both for the past and for answers before they can move forward.
Will an unexpected loss be the turning point for Cody? Will Cody and Bailey find a way back together again for the first time in more than a year? And if they do, will their brief time together be enough to help them remember all they've been longing for?

I'm sure that I've mentioned this time and time again about Karen Kingsbury as an author, but I feel like she is the best author to bring her characters to life. She makes you feel like you're best friends with the people she writes about. 

In this book, the third book in the series, Bailey is still in the broadway play in New York. She's working towards her dreams and goals, while still dating Brandon Paul, the famous movie star, and every once in a while, thinking about Cody Coleman and longing for him, wondering the "what if's" that no one ever likes to think about. Bailey struggles with her love for Brandon Paul, and the struggles of knowing what her and Cody had in the past. She continues to ask herself why things happened the way they did between the two of them.

Mean while, Cody is being more and more famous with the Football team he coaches at Lyle High School. The team is going to be featured on ESPN, as well as Sports Illustrated. Cody and Demetri have to fly to New York for both of these amazing accomplishments, while they're there, someone through Espn, has two tickets for them to enjoy dinner, and a Broadway show while in New York. Cody knows in the back of his head that it may or may not be the show Bailey performs in. He constantly thinks about it, and questions whether or not he can stand seeing her. 

The book flips back and forth between Cody and Bailey, and Bailey and Brandon. Brandon wants Bailey to read a script in LA so she may be able to be in a movie with him. While they're in LA, Bailey has to "get used to" all of the Paparazzi that chases Brandon constantly. When they're back in New York, Cody thinks about asking Bailey to marry him. Going as far as making a trip to the jewelry store. 

Cody goes through something intense personal issues with his friend Cheyanne, which leaves him questioning everything hes done in his life, including his faith. 

Again, Karen has the ability to make you feel like you know these characters in real life. She makes them seem so real, and you find yourself routing on each person, wanting to hold their hand during the tough times, and celebrate with them during the good times. Not very many authors can do that, and this is why I love Karen, and her books so much.

All of Karen's books are inspirational/Christian fiction. She has such a strong faith in God and religion, and she shows it in each and every book. I highly recommend this book, as well as the series and all of her other books. I promise you won't be disappointed. 

I enjoyed this book immensely, and cannot wait for the fourth, and final book to be released in a few months! 

New Year Resolutions

I know this post is a little late, considering we're 17 days into the new year! But, better late than never, right?

In 2010 I made a sort of resolution, or goal, to read 100 books, or more. Sadly, I didn't quite make it. I read 41 books. When 2011 started, I decided to make another goal, but not put a number on it and to just see how many books I could read. I did HORRIBLE. I listed only 12 books, but I know I read WAY more books than that! So, alas, here I am, a new year, with new beginnings. I decided to try a book reading goal again this year. I was going back and forth between the numbers of 64 books, and 75 books. I read 41 books in 2010, so to make the goal "realisitc", I'm going to stick with 65 books.

So, in 2012, I plan on reading 65 books.

I've also been slacking on my book review blog. Which makes me kind of sick to my stomach to think about. In all honesty, I feel like the reason I have been slacking is because I don't have a lot of traffic on my blog. I've got 66 "followers" but how many of those people actually FOLLOW me? I've only had a handful of people comment on my reviews, and other things I post. So, it's kind of frustrating. I've got my blog URL posted on social networking sites, including Goodreads and other Bookish sites. I try to participate in Meme's and other activities, but still don't see a lot of traffic. So, if anyone is reading this, my question to you is: How can I get more traffic, more people who are READ what I post, and who comment, on my blog? What has been YOUR blogs so popular?

Another resolution, or goal, I've made is to be more into my blog this year. No matter the amount of traffic, I'm still going to read, read, read and review everything. I will post a review for each book read. Traffic, or not.

So, those are my goals, and resolutions for 2012. What are some of the goals or resolutions you've made this year?

New Blog

Hello followers! First, let me say sorry yet again that I have not been very active on my blog site. The reason for that is because I have...