Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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 √Čtienne 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 loved loved loved Anna and the French Kiss! To be honest I love the whole YA romance genre in general, but this book was definitely a stand out.

Let's start off with the characters, they were amazing. Anna was an awesome Main Character, I loved watching her try to deny her attraction to St. Clair, and I loved the little details Perkins threw in to give her depth, like the fact that she wanted to be a famous movie critic. You couldn't help but feel almost tortured at certain points of the book when certain ummmmm, steamy situations arose between her and St. Clair, because, well, St. Clair is the perfect boy. I loved St. Clair from the minute Anna met him, how could you not? English accent, awesome looks, nice, talented, St. Clair is just the perfect boy (even if I did want to hit him for his stupidity at times).

To make the book even more fabulous we had an awesome plot that contained a few twists I certainly was not expecting, and a few that I was.When I first saw this book I wasn't sure if the author would really have a plot that interested me enough to fill up that many pages, but she certainly did!To top it all off Perkins also set the whole thing in France, the most romantic city in the world, and can I just say that her descriptions of the food in France made me extremely hungry!

Even if you classify yourself as a strict no romance reader, pick up Anna and the French Kiss, I promise it will charm you!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon

The Gods have abandoned Ai Ling.
Her mysterious power haunts her day and night, and she leaves home—with just the moon as her guide—overwhelmed by her memories and visions and an unbearable sense of dread. For Ai Ling knows that Chen Yong is vulnerable to corrupt enchantments from the under-world. How can she do nothing when she has the skill and power to fight at his side? A dream has told her where he is, the name of the ship he is traveling on, his destination. So she steals off and stows away on board.
The ocean voyage brings with it brutal danger, haunting revelations, and new friendships, but also the premonition of a very real and terrifying threat. Zhong Ye—the powerful sorcerer whom Ai Ling believed she had vanquished in the Palace of Fragrant Dreams—is trapped in Hell, neither alive nor dead. Can he reach from beyond the grave to reunite with Silver Phoenix and destroy Chen Yong? And destroy whatever chance Ai Ling has at happiness, at love?
In this sequel to the acclaimed novel Silver Phoenix, four lives are woven together and four destinies become one, now and forever. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was a great sequel to Silver Phoneix, sometimes sequels let you down but Fury of the Phoenix made the series even better.

One thing that bothered me about Silver Phoenix was the pacing, but Pon hit her literary stride in this novel. No section seemed too long or too short, and the pacing kept us wanting more. I also loved the extended characterization that we got in Fury of the Phoenix. I really enjoyed seeing a different side to the relationship between Chen Yong and Ai Ling, but I think my perception of Zhong Ye was the one that changed the most. After reading this book I actually felt very sympathetic towards him, and I felt like I really understood his motives behind his actions.

I really love the different aspects of the Asian culture that we see in these books, I wouldn't say that I was every particularly interested in it before, so reading about the more fantastical aspects of it was really great.

A great addition to a beautifully written fantasy series. Definitely one to pick up!