Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set in a Boarding School

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books With “X” Setting

And considering how much I love books set in Boarding Schools then it seems like a great idea that I compile a list of ten of my favourite books/series set in boarding schools.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling – As they grew up, so did I. And I admit it – I was jealous of their lack of adult supervision. But it’s probably a good thing that I wasn’t at Hogwarts!

Vampire Academy  AND Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – It’s probably cheating counting both these series, but I love them both.They are both set at private Vampire boarding schools and feature some brilliant characters.

Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep – Super awesome descendants of mythological warriors fighting evil and having one amazing gourmet cafeteria!

The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter – If I couldn’t be magical or undead,,, I’d want to be a spy.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1) Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy, #1) I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)

My Ex From Hell by Tellulah Darling – Trying to keep in school whilst battling evil gods…. sounds like a blast 😛

The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay – This book is fairly dear to my heart. It was one of the first “adult” (and by that I mean, not a children’s book but rather one meant for older readers) books I ever read. And it sort of destroyed me. I love this book and it’s one that I think everyone should read.

The St Clare series by Enid Blyton – Pat and Isabel were two of my constant companions growing up. This is one of the first books that I remember staying up late – with a torch – and reading and rereading.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Fun school for American teens in Paris. Who could want anything more?

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Cause it’s a lovely story.

 

My Ex From Hell (The Blooming Goddess Trilogy, #1) The Power Of One The Twins at St. Clare's (St. Clare's, #1) Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1) A Little Princess

Most of these are paranormal in natures but I threw in a few oldies but goodies too. I would love to hear what books you’ve read set in boarding schools that you loved. And please – link me to your top ten, I can’t wait to see what settings other people picked for this week’s TTT!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Thought I’d Like More/Less

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I Thought I’d Like More/Less

As much as I try not too – expectations get the better of me. When I hear/see people RAVING about a book/series/author, I admit that the hype sometimes gets the best of me. And I realize it’s not the book’s fault – but I often can’t help but feel a little disappointed when a decent book didn’t blow me away like I was anticipating.

(Links will take you to my reviews. Clicking on the book cover will take you to the book’s page on goodreads)

Books I Though I’d Like More (and wound up a little disappointed):

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This isn’t a bad book. I did enjoy it but I wanted more. Daemon is great but it’d take someone even better than him for me not to resent him for blowing up my computer.

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie Maguire – I love love. But I don’t love over the top jealousy and people who keep trying the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi – There’s a lot I liked about this book. And a lot that left me feeling wanting. This was one of the most talked about books of 2012. It seemed that people everywhere were praising this one. And whilst I thought it was clever I think I spent most of the time I was reading it waiting. Waiting for it to live up to my (possibly unrealistic) expectations.

Marked (House of Night, #1)

Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast – A friend told me this book was absolutely fantastic – the best Vampire Teen series around. I think I got my hopes up and just missed things I would have liked had it not been off the back of such high praise.

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. – This one I think was my own fault that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. The trailer for the movie ruined the book and that in itself frustrated me. Also I listened to this one on audiobook and the fact that the narrator’s voice had an accent but his thoughts didn’t – it really took me out of the story.

On the other hand are books that I went in not expecting too much and being blown away. These are the best kinds of books! To quote one of my all time favourite movies… A Diamond in the Rough.

(and since I couldn’t find any appropriate gifs – here’s one from Aladdin just cause I love that movie!)

Books I Thought I’d Like Less (and ended up loving!):

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – There is the saying “Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover” but perhaps I should not judge a book on its title. These books have names similar to those I’d bring home for homework in primary school. But these books are far from simple. They’re beautiful stories about love, friendship, family problems and the complexities of growing up. These are two of my favourite teen contemporary romance novels and I’m so glad I picked them up because I very nearly didn’t..

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)

Vampire Academy/Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – It probably wouldn’t be a TTT without a Richelle Mead series featuring somewhere on my list. These are both series that feature some kind if paranormal creature in a boarding school but they are both so much more than that. There’s depth and consequences and the gorgeous leading men don’t hurt things either. I had read Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series before starting VA but I didn’t expect for the series to have such a profound effect on my views regarding YA paranormal novels.

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – A sci-fi futuristic cyborg version of Cinderella? This isn’t something I ever thought I’d read let alone like. But somehow Meyer wrote a novel that’s well thought out and the fairytale links are crafted in a way that feels so right for the story.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I thought I’d try to see if I could somehow beat the system. I’d heard so much about this book. The Best Book EVER! is a line that many of my friends and reviews had thrown around. Not having read any John Green and having nothing to compare his work to I though I’d go in expecting the worse. I’m a big enough person to admit I’m wrong because I ADORED this book. It’s beautiful and the characters are almost ridiculously perfect in their own way. I cried. So if you haven’t read this book and you’re intending to – try to ignore the hype. Make up your own mind. But this is a book that I recommend for everyone to read. Even if it’s just to be on the bandwagon and know what people are talking about when they’re talking about TFiOS and John Green.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone / Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – These books are beautifully written. And the covers are gorgeous. And I have no idea why I didn’t think I’d like them but I very nearly passed on the opportunity to read them.

That’s my list for another week. I love reading other people’s TTT’s and blogs in general so please leave me a comment with a link so I can visit back. All comments are welcome and very much appreciated. Thanks!

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Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Paris
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 2011
Pages: 348 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit–more sparkly, more fun, more wild–the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

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.

My Review:

Dolores Nolan (better known as Lola) is a seventeen year old budding fashion designer. Vowing to never wear the same outfit twice in a calendar year, her clothes are often somewhat eccentric but always an original. Her two dads hate her twenty-two year old on the verge of becoming a rockstar boyfriend, Max. Her birth mother is a fortune telling mess and the Bell twins, Cricket and Calliope, with whom Lola has a feud have just moved back in next door. Senior year is shaping up  nicely… and it hasn’t even started yet.

Trying to navigate through family issues and wardrobe dilemmas, Lola is just trying to make it though. But Cricket keeps popping up all over the place. In the street, in stores Lola’s frequenting – Cricket even turns up at the cinema where Lola works! After what happened two summers before, Lola doesn’t know if she can trust him. But feelings become involved and Lola becomes conflicted. Should she choose the hot glamorous older rocker Max or Cricket – the boy next door.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss and the main reason I picked up a copy of Lola was because I’d heard there was a guest appearance of Anna and St. Clair. I’m glad I decided to read Lola’s story because it’s just as adorable and sweet as Anna’s French Kiss.

Lola is fun. She’s quirky and adventurous  It’s not just her fashion sense that’s colourful. Her family life was such a delightful contrast to that of Anna’s – her dads set curfews, rules regarding boyfriends and keep an eye on just who is coming and going from their daughter’s bedroom. Her mother is an interesting character who had a very interesting relationship with Lola. I loved how they all interacted with each other – it felt authentic. Lola’s own personal conflict was more than just her love life. She becomes confused to whether it’s the girl who makes the costumes or the costumes who make the girl.

And then there’s the boys in Lola’s life. Max – whom everyone from her best friend Lindsay to her parents and even her colleagues at the cinema thinks is too old for her. I loved the contrast that he provided for Cricket. Oh Cricket. I have so many adjectives I could use to describe this character (who I absolutely adored) but I think the one that fits best is awkward. He’s delightfully awkward. In that way that makes him go from a nerd to geek chic in my eyes. I’m a sucker for romantic gestures and Cricket’s conversations and general adorableness was the kind that made my heart feel like it had grown five sizes from reading it. He’s just that dorky romantic soul that I love reading about.

Anna and St. Clair make a few appearances in this book and whilst it was great to see them again (and that was the main reason why I decided to read this book) there was something about their scenes that felt a little odd to me. It’s interesting to see a relationship that blossomed from their point of view to all of a sudden being on the outside looking in. They have certainly matured – both as people and with regards to their relationship. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy reading about their romance as much as I did in their own book but I thought it was a lovely way to tie their story to Lola’s.

This book was a joy to read. I loved the romance and the characters. The leads were sweet and fun and the supporting characters kept things interesting and the plot moving along. Isla and the Happily Ever After comes out in September and I know for sure that I’ll be purchasing a copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

2012 End of Year Book Survey

I stumbled upon the End of the Year survey from Jamie over at The Perpetual Page Turner. This is her third year of compiling a list of bookish related questions to share with her readers and she encourages anyone who wants to join in and take part.

I love making lists and taking surveys so I jumped at the chance to share my thoughts regarding books and whatnot for 2012.

best books read in 2012

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

Contemporary: A Fault in Our Stars by John Green (just finished it today and need to wait a few days before writing a review or it will just be one big fangirl gush-fest)

Fantasy: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes or Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic: Divergent by Veronica Roth or Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Adult Fiction: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Undeadly by Michelle Vail. I felt a little let down by this one. It had a lot of promise but just missed something in the execution.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 


Probably Cinder by Marissa Meyer. I wasn’t expecting to like it at all – I mean it’s a Cinderella retelling set in New Beijing and Cinderella is now a cyborg. Sounds absolutely crazy – but it works and I can’t wait to read the second book in the Lunar Chronicles – Scarlet – when it’s released early next year.

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

A lot of the ones I’ve mentioned so far – Divergent by Veronica Roth, Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Delirium by Lauren Oliver and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I love recommending Aussie authors to people I know as well so I’ve been pimping A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty and Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart.

 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

I discovered Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead this year (and her adult paranormal series, Georgina Kincaid). I’ve found a new favourite paranormal author. I also discovered Wool by Hugh Howey and Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep and completely enjoyed them too.

 6. Favourite new authors you discovered in 2012?

This is turning into a bit of a love fest for me… sorry! But there are so many authors I’ve not read prior to 2012 that I adore now. Veronica Roth, John Green, Maria V. Snyder, Richelle Mead, Stephanie Perkins, Brigid Kemmerer… my list would go on all day if I don’t stop myself now.

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I’ve usually steered pretty clear of fantasy. It’s not something I’ve read a lot of but this year I read a few books and I’ve discovered a new appreciation for the genre.

 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

I love unputdownable as a word. I usually call these books my “cereal for dinner” kind of read. They’re the kind that I get so engrossed in that I can’t stop for something as mundane as cooking something to eat. No – I must keep reading and manage to pour a bowl of cereal and some milk with one hand whilst holding my book with the other – no time wasted!

This year I remember doing this with a few books. The most recent was Poison Princess by Kresley Cole. I wasn’t trying to make my self a meal whilst reading this one but I was on a plane. I was the last person off the plane because I was trying to get to a point in the story that I felt I could take a break and not go mad with the anticipation of what was going to happen next…

This also happened with Only in Spain by Nellie Bennett. Only in Spain is a memoir about a woman who was fed up with her day job and essentially ran away to Spain to learn flamenco dancing… I don’t read a lot of memoirs but I loved Nellie’s narration and her complete disregard for her own safety!

 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Very hard to say. I don’t re-read very much at all. There’s so many books out there that I’d love to read that making time to re-read an old favourite doesn’t happen very often. If I was going to re-read any – it would probably be Crewel by Gennifer Albin. This is one that I think I would benefit from reading the ending of before the next book in the series comes out. 

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)

This is one of those covers that means so much more to me after I’d finished reading the book. I thought it was cool before but after – it just fit the story so perfectly that I kept liking it more and more every time I see it.

I also liked these covers – for entirely different reasons. Finding Mr Darcy is adorable… and cravats are instantly likeable. The building, the font, the colours – I just adore everything about the cover on my version of A Discovery of Witches. And the cover of Only in Spain completely embodies the spirit of the story.

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass. Or Chelsea Knot from Speechless. Both completely different but I found them memorable for their strength.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

I thought the Fault in Our Stars by John Green was beautifully written. As was the Lovers Dictionary by David Levithan. 

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – I had a lot of problems with this book. Not the writing or even really the plot. It was more how it made me look at the issue of suicide and blame. I probably have an unpopular opinion regarding my thoughts and feelings that the book brought up but it’s probably the book that made me think the most.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

 15. FAVOURITE Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012? 

I am terrible at remembering quotes. Even the ones that at the time of reading I thought were brilliant for all sorts of reasons. All these ones are from books I remember highlighting passages from but then promptly forgot all about.

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

“Trying to write about love is ultimately like trying to have a dictionary represent life. No matter how many words there are, there will never be enough.”
― David LevithanThe Lover’s Dictionary

 16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 

Longest — A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness at 690 pages

Shortest — Probably Fearless or Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer – but they were both novellas which are intentionally exceptionally short 

 17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Rapture by Lauren Kate. Most of this book was a bit of a WTF moment for me. I just… couldn’t rationalize their actions. They were just so stupid! They would risk the one person who held the fate of the world in their hands on stupid stuff.

18. FAVOURITE Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

I liked the romantic relationships of Anna and St Clair in Anna and the French Kiss. Also the instant connection (even if it pushed at insta-love but considering the title that has to be expected) of that between Hadley and Oliver in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. 

But for all relationships – I liked that between Hazel and her parents in The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.

19. FAVOURITE Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter. I read some of her adult paranormal series before and some were a hit but most were a miss with me. Alice was fantastic and I’ll be taking another look at some of Gena’s other books.

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

A Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I have friends who are Nerdfighters who kept insisting I read this book – since before it came out. I’m glad I did. I loved it.

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstein. And Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor… and about a thousand other books.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

I made a list of ten that I can’t wait to be released a few weeks ago.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

In the past 7 or 8 months that I’ve been blogging I’ve learnt a lot. I’m happy with how my blog is developing so far. My main goal for 2013 is to start learning how to do more with graphics and develop the overall look of my blog (I still have the default picture… which I do like but I think I need to develop the necessary skills to personalize it a little more).

Reading wise I think I need to branch out a little more. Read a little more extensively with regards to genres. There’s a lot of paranormal romance in my repertoire and I endeavour to cover more variety in the next year.

Survey done! And it was both harder and more fun coming up with my answers than I thought when I started.

There’s probably a dozen books that I have forgotten about but I consider myself lucky to have read so many fantastic books this year and “discovered” a lot of authors I’d never had the opportunity to read before.

2012 was great and now I can’t wait what 2013 will bring. 🙂

Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Paris
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: December 2010
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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 Etienne St. Clair: 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?

My Review:

I’ve been hearing so many good things about this book since it was released two years ago. I’ve had a copy for a while but kept putting it off because I often find that my expectations get out of control and I end up disappointed when there is so much love around for a particular novel.

Happily, this was not the case with me and Anna and the French Kiss. It’s a sweet story of Anna who – despite her own wishes – gets shipped off to Paris for her senior year of high school. Her father (a famous novelist who from the sound of things is the next Nicholas Sparks) wants to appear more cultured in his circle of friends. His solution for this is to send his daughter away from her mother and younger brother so she can spend her senior at a prestigious French boarding school in the heart of Paris’ Latin Quarter.

I love books set in boarding schools. And books set in Paris (or really anywhere in Europe). So add a somewhat naive 17-year-old and a gorgeous boy with incredible hair and a British accent and it’s probably no surprise that this book had me swooning.  I didn’t want it to end.

For me, the key to my enjoyment whilst reading a contemporary romance is to have a hearty dose of realism. These characters aren’t perfect. Anna was, at times, slightly frustrating and St Clair was broken is his own way. But it was because of these flaws that these characters had such an effect on me. They’re fantastic on their own but I was really pulling for them as a couple even when things seemed impossible.

I loved the supporting characters too – I wanted to know more about all of them. Both the ones still in the US and Anna’s new classmates in Paris. They all have their own stories and baggage.

This is a very sweet romance that’s fun, flirty and set in France.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository