Thursday, January 27, 2011

Book Talk: Anna and the French Kiss

I love finding books that leave me so completely satisfied, so filled with bubbling enthusiasm, that from the moment I close the cover (or in this case, power off my Nook), I want everyone I know to share in the joy of reading it. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins is that kind of awesome.
Normally, it’s difficult for me to get into books that are set in the contemporary, ordinary world. Because of this, I wasn’t expecting much from Anna and the French Kiss (*gasp* I know! EVERYONE loves it!). But I know myself, and I need to feel a degree’s separation from reality. What worked for me-- what kept me from feeling like the world was too “present”-- was the fact that the story takes place in Paris.
The setting plays a real part in Anna and the French Kiss. Almost like another character, giving off a vibe and adding richness and dimension. This book couldn’t have been set anywhere else. References to French culture abound, and I’m sure I only picked up on a fraction of them. After the book was over, the things I’d read about popped up in my thoughts, and I took to google quite a few times with my wondering. 
What can I say about Anna? She’s one of those characters that felt so completely real to me, when I finished the book I wanted to find her on twitter, and check her blog to see what movies she’d reviewed recently. She’s real, you can’t convince me she’s not! She’s also funny, caring, and prone to missteps that lead to mistakes. Rather than making huge blunders I could see coming a mile away, hers were after-the-fact realizations, and I was right there with her, groaning as I’d understood what had happened-- retracing the events that led to those moments... I laughed hard and cried buckets. Everything Anna went through, I went through.
The chemistry between Anna and the swoonworthy Etienne was evident from their first meeting. Etienne, with his elegant English accent, is intelligent, charming, and dealing with almost more than he can handle. He hides his vulnerability and very real need for companionship behind smiles and wit, and sometimes in less healthy behavior, but what’s never lost is the kindness he carries with him throughout the book. Etienne has an indescribable magnetism that makes him impossible not to love, and a soft side that tugs at the heart.

There's little I can say about the plot (all this goodness, and a great plot too!) that won't spoil it, so I'll refrain :)
This slow-building romance is one of my new all time faves. It was addicting-- I read it in one sitting-- and weeks later, the story remains vibrant in my mind. I sincerely hope my brain was paying attention, because this book succeeded in every possibly way.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Announcing DNA Writers, a NEW blog!

A new blog is born... introducing DNA Writers! Check out what mastermind Cassandra (aka C.A. Marshall) designed-- it's awesome!! My bio post is up, along with bio posts from the other contributers.


So who are the other contributers? An awesome group of writers--all of whom happen to write YA, although some write in other genres as well.


I already mentioned Cassandra, who I met back when she was known as thatwemightfly, and whose dedication and enthusiasm are evident in everything she does. There's also Erica Chapman, whose blog I've been following for a lonnnng time, and who, along with Janelle Alexander, is a member of the Twitter silliness known as #foobaconjace (where we solemnly pledge to swoon over good music, good food, and good book-crushes). Janelle, I want to add, is one of my closest friends in the non-internet world. We met when our daughters started kindergarten together, and four years later I can't imagine my life without her.


The other members of DNAwriters are talented writers who I'm getting to know: Kari (aka flamingo1325)-- whose book review blog I started following back when I first started blogging; the lovely Brenda Drake; and Shelley Watters-- whose tweets about steamy shower scenes led me to DM Erica in the first place... and the rest is history ;)


The seven of us will be blogging on a rotation, so I'll be the DNAwriters' every-other-Saturday girl. I hope you drop in and see what we're putting together!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I Have a Nook! An Analysis...

I do! The awesome Nook Color. It has a Pandora app that's integrated into book reading, and I can go on the internet, and it has games, AND yes, it's also an e-reader...

...but I do love my physical books. I lovvve them, the way they look on my bookshelf, holding them, flipping each page as I read, thumbing back to a particular scene; after reading on my Nook I can definitely say I prefer holding a book in my hands. 

However...

I also love my Nook. 

I love that I didn't have to leave the house to buy Anna and the French Kiss. I also love that I downloaded a bunch of classics onto it (Shakespeare, Dumas, Austen, a bunch of others) for free. I don't want these books removed from my bookshelves, but I like that I can carry them with me anywhere I go. 

If I'm at home, snuggled with blankets on my reading couch, YES I want to pull down my musty copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare and bury myself in A Midsummer Night's Dream... but it's lovely that I can now enjoy my favorite books away from home.

LendMe! 

I have to admit, I'm excited to use the Nook's lending feature... I have a couple of friends that either have a Nook or an iphone Nook app. Apparently a book can be lent out once, and it will leave my library and go into theirs for two weeks (or vice versa). Then it automatically comes back to me! I don't have to worry about my ebooks going MIA the way physical ones tend to..... *eyes gaping holes in bookshelf* *sad sigh*

Reading on the Nook:

My first experience reading on my Nook book was great! 

It wasn't perfect though. 

Often-- quite often-- the touchscreen wouldn't turn to the next page until I'd tapped it four or five times.......touchscreens always do that to me, I don't apply the right pressure or something, GAH! It's highly annoying on other forms of technology, but when READING-- ugh, horrible!! There was this one scene, and the characters were about to maybe-possibly kiss and I couldn't get to the next page!! It was sheer. Agony. I kept thinking, "ARGH!!! I'd have turned the page by now if this were paper!! Respond, touchscreen, respond!!!" 

I don't know if anyone else has touchscreen issues. Maybe that's just me *grins*

Another issue: it's not really possible to thumb back to a scene. I don't do that often, but sometimes, like if someone else is discussing the same book I'm reading, I would normally hold my place in a physical book and flip back to the scene they're talking about. Now I can't. Anyway, it's a minor thing, and honestly if I love a book that much I'll get the physical book. Reading a physical book feels more fluid.

To sum up, so far, my Nook feels like a fun way to read books:

a) books that are probably not my Keep-Them-Forever books. I have vast quantities of romance and fantasy novels that I can see falling into this category, and now I won't have to feel guilt about what to do with mountains of books that I don't necessarily want to keep.

b) books that might be Keep-Them-Forever books but I'm too excited to wait to go to the bookstore (in which case I might end up buying the book twice, after it's out on paperback-- I'll do this for Anna and the French Kiss).

or,

c) books that I want to conveniently have in my Nook to read when I'm away from home. These will probably be classics, since they're free ;) Or books I want to take on a trip, I imagine.

In conclusion, I'm excited about my Nook! It brings me a new way to read stories *happy dance* Books are my very favorite, so this is a definite win.

What are your thoughts on ereaders? Will I love my Nook as much in a few months? Will I still love my physical books more?