Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher:  Dutton
Published December 2nd 2010:
Hardcover, 372 pages 
Challenge:  100 Books in 2011, 2011 Debut Author  

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. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?


I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did.  It is cute, quick, witty, and fun. At first I was annoyed at Anna and her complaints about being “shipped” off to Paris – who wouldn’t want to be in Paris?! At the same time, having gone through a Study Abroad myself, I felt for her being homesick.  After Anna’s initial fears she starts to find her own niche both within herself, a new school, a new boy, and new friends.  What makes Anna real is that while she may have found a “niche” she questions things, like any teenager does (and adults at that matter).  Once Anna finds that being in Paris in not that bad, she finds herself doing things she never would have, stepping outside of her personal shell so to speak.  
Then there is the boy… the boy that makes your stomach do flips and sentences no longer make sense. 

Of course what would a Contemporary Romance set in Paris be without the ‘Boy’.  Etienne St. Claire – what can you say about him except SWOON – not only is he from Paris but he has that cute English accent.  Stephanie Perkins has created the perfect boy in an imperfect way (if that’s possible).  Just like any teenage boy he can’t make up his mind! He thinks he knows what he wants but doesn’t really, all the while acting as if he does.  Such a boy thing!! 

Unlike many Contemporary Romance novels, Anna and the French Kiss is believable and realistic.  While Paris may seem to be the most perfect setting for relationships, Stephanie Perkins shows how unperfect relationships can be, no matter in what setting – even in the Romance Capital of the World.  Anna and the French Kiss is real.  The main characters, the secondary characters (who I love by the way – they are hillarious! and really make the book what it is), problems and even the outcome – – all are realistic
.

This is a perfect book for anyone who loves Contemporary Romance and/or is looking for something different outside of the Paranormal Romance novels.  Once you start the first few chapters you will have a hard time putting down this book. 

My Rating:

A New Book Blogging Site

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As you have seen, I love Children’s Books just as much as Young Adult Literature.  I am working on making an entire new site to be completely devoted to Children’s Books.  As many of you know, coming up with the right name is one of the hardest things.  So I’ve finally narrowed it down to a few and was hoping for feedback from everyone.

The Perfect Name for my new Site
  • Patricia’s Pages of Children’s Books
  • A New World Through Children’s Books
  • A New World In Children’s Books
  • Learning Through Children’s Books

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Review: Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen

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I am very honored to be the first of the Leverage Blog Tour to review this outstanding book…
But no pressure right?….
I hope I can do this book justice
Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen
Publisher:  Dutton Juvenile
Hardcover, 426 pages
The football field is a battlefield

There’s an extraordinary price for victory at Oregrove High. It is paid on—and off—the football field. And it claims its victims without mercy—including the most innocent bystanders.

When a violent, steroid-infused, ever-escalating prank war has devastating consequences, an unlikely friendship between a talented but emotionally damaged fullback and a promising gymnast might hold the key to a school’s salvation.

Told in alternating voices and with unapologetic truth, Leverage illuminates the fierce loyalty, flawed justice, and hard-won optimism of two young athletes.

It is hard to know where to exactly begin… Joshua C. Cohen’s debut novel is anything and everything BUT disappointing.  I honestly cannot come up with a negative thing to say about this amazing, outstanding, one of kind, unique novel.  There is so much to say about this book that I am going to have to break it down into parts….

To start, a basic overview…
Kurt is the new football star at Oregrove High School.  Danny is on the Oregrove gymnastics team. Both boys have a past, full of sorrow and pain.  An unlikely friendship between these two boys is formed when pranks made between the football team and the gymnastics team get out of hand…. way out of hand.  ‘Prank war‘ is an understatement; things go beyond ‘war‘, creating consequences more severe than one could think possible.  


My Review…
As the book’s synopsis implies, steroids becomes a factor in this ‘war‘.  I am always drawn to books that focus on ‘social issues’ and taboo subjects that most authors dare not touch.  If Joshua C. Cohen was afraid to write about steroid use in high school athletics, he does not show it.  Kurt and Danny are both given the opportunity to have their say, from their own personal point of view. As a reader you learn about Kurt’s and Danny’s past and how it in turn it is affecting their present day decisions.  Cohen’s use of first person narrative makes you feel sympathy, understanding, and sometimes anger at each character; but you walk away with a better understanding of who they are.   
Breaking down the Characters…
Cohen does not shy away from giving real and raw characters.  Danny is a hard worker with one goal in mind: to get a full ride to college through his gymnastic skills.  His quiet demeanour in the school halls is far from his loud actions as a gymnast.  While he is terrified of the ‘steroid-infused‘ jocks that rule the school, he proves he is anything but scared while doing dare devil moves in the air.  

Kurt comes from a very sad and brutal past, one that you cannot put into words.  Having experienced things that many are lucky to not know about, Kurt hides behind his shaggy hair while out in the real world and a football helmet while on the field.  The only place he feels at ‘home’ is in the gym exercising or helping his teammates score touchdowns. 

Both boys’ sense of security and safety are shattered when the pranks between the two teams get way out of hand, invading the few places they feel safe.  The ripple affect is greater than you could imagine, even as the reader.  That brings us to the many supporting characters.  While Kurt and Danny are clearly the starts, each supporting character plays a very important role in this novel.  You have the ‘steroid-infused‘ football players who literally blow your mind in terms of “How can anyone act that way, and think its normal?”.  Then you have the tiny small gymnastics team, who work hard to show their place in high school by trying to stand up to the jocks.  Without these supporting characters the novel would not be complete.

My Final Thoughts
As I said, no matter how hard I try to come up with something negative to say about this book, I just can’t.  I first thought that because I couldn’t read this book in a few short sittings that this was not going to be as amazing as it was… on the contrary, I found taking this novel in small bits, at least for me, was perfect.  I was able to absorb every aspect in their entirety.  This book is RAW, GRITTY, and REAL in such a severe and affecting way.  Because of that, my mind had to grasp the severity of the topics and themes.  There were times I cringed and cried, and had to take a step back.  Other times, I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next, on the edge of my seat. 

I believe that a novel of any kind should affect you on some level, in some way.  You should walk away from that novel with a new perspective or insight into something, especially from a novel that dares to tackle a ‘social issue’ or taboo topic.  Joshua C. Cohen provides this in the most perfect way!  I am forever changed by this novel.  If you are not afraid to confront such a raw reality that most people ignore, you MUST MUST MUST read this book! 

My Rating:

Click here for more information about Leverage and Joshua C. Cohen or head on over to the book’s Facebook Page

Bargain Books at Amazon ~ A Must!!

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There are quite a few AMAZING deals at Amazon’s Bargain Books right now!! And these are to name just a few! Hurry before they are gone!
Check it out:
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Update: Forgive the Layout Confusion

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I know I am been remise lately on the blog but I have been working hard on some upcoming things and I have also been working on a new layout.  Sometimes Blogger is not the easiest thing to work with so forgive the layout confussions (that currently is) and future ones.  I hope to have it all fixed very soon.

As you can see I have finally fixed the problems, except the Page bars, which I am currently working on. I am very excited about this new layout and feel it expresses me perfectly! To get a similar layout head on over to The Pixelista!!

Releases This Week: March 27th – April 2nd

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What Can’t Wait by Ashley Hope Perez (3/28/11) **2011 Debut Author
Born At Midnight by C.C. Hunter (3/29/11) **2011 Debut Author
Entwined by Heather Dixon (3/29/11) **2011 Debut Author

Wake Unto Me by Lisa Cach (3/31/11) **2011 Debut Author

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert (4/1/11)
The Weight of Bones by Janet Gurtler (4/1/11)

Then I Met My Sister by Christine Hurley Deriso (4/1/11)
I’m Not Her by Janet Gurtler (4/1/11)

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group by Catherine Jinks (4/4/11)

Children’s Book Review: Owl Moon by Jane Yolen

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Owl Moon by Jane Yolen
Publisher:  Philomel
Published:  October 23rd 1987
Hardcover, 32 pages
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
* Caldecott Medal Winner 

“As expansive as the broad sweep of the great owl’s wings and as close and comforting as a small hand held on a wintry night . . . The visual images have a sense of depth and seem to invite readers into this special nighttime world.”–School Library Journal, starred review. Full color. 1988 Caldecott Medal Book.

Owl Moon is another gorgeous Caldecott Award Winner.  Jane Yolen’s writing is in a form of poetry style, without a rhyming scheme.  Yolen’s writing style is simple yet each word is full of detail and meaning. Owl Moon is about patience and bravery. The main character is cold and scared while eagerly sitting on the edge to talk to the father and make an owl call, but knows that if fear and impatience is shown in any way, the owls will never call back. 

“But I never said a word.
If you go owling
you have to be quiet
and make your own heat.”
Yolen describes the setting in such details that you feel like you are there…
“the snow below it [the moon] was whiter than milk in a cereal bowl”
When you read her descriptions of the pine trees, “black and pointy against the sky”, you can sense the darkness they create surrounding you.  Jane Yolen’s images are the perfect compliment, full of rich, solid, and bold colors.  Not only does Yolen tell you how dark it is within the pine trees, but shows you through her images, contrasting against the stark white snow and blue sky. 
Jane Yolen’s Own Moon is a gorgeous and wonderfully created Children’s Book, perfect for the winter season.  A must read!

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