After hearing so many rave reviews about Anna and the French Kiss, I knew I had to read it. Though, with all the hype about this book I thought it was too good to be true. I mean how good could it possibly be? You want to know how good? Absolutely beyond amazing. I was very happy to find out that every single one of those reviews were 100 percent true!
Anna and the French Kiss is a story about friendship, love, heartbreak and making mistakes that'll leave you wanting more. I found myself completely enthralled with every word. The humorous dialogue was something I just couldn't get enough of. It had me giggling and wanting to cry right along with its characters. Perkins authentic ability to tell the story from a teenager's perspective was phenomenal. I really felt that I connected with Anna. She's funny, witty, eccentric and has her own quirks and awkward moments, but honestly, who doesn't? I think that made her all the more believable than some façade of perfection. She's a great, strong character that anyone can easily relate to.
Étienne St. Clair... *swooooooon* I need to point out the fact that he is American, British AND Parisian (Don't get it? Go read the book ASAP to find out! ;)) and has beautiful hair. Who could resist that?! It's totally a swoon-worthy combination. He's endearing, sometimes vulnerable, sweet and compassionate and everything you could want in a cute boy. I loved all his Briticisms throughout the book!
One of my most favorite things about this novel is how effortlessly Anna and him became best friends above everything else. They have such a solid relationship and great chemistry. The romance between the two was gradually built up instead of a kind of "love at first sight" thing, which gave it a sense of realism. They took the time to really know each other first. I could literally feel the tension every time they brushed legs whilst sitting next to each other or glanced at each other out of the corner of their eyes. You always know you've found an author with a true talent for writing when you get butterflies while reading as if all these interactions are happening to you.
The setting is just to die for. I've never been to Paris or really had much of an interest in it - trust me, I do now - but Perkins is so stunningly detailed in her descriptions of the city that you feel like you are experiencing it right there alongside Anna. I truly enjoyed imagining the museums, theatres and restaurants - I think I need to go there just to taste the yummy sounding food! I most certainly wouldn't mind being shipped off to boarding school in Paris, especially if I met someone like Étienne!
I'm glad Anna and the French Kiss lived up to my expectations and that it was so huge in the blog world or I probably would have gone forever without this fantastic book in my life. It's charming, romantic, funny and just left me with a good feeling after reading it. Ms. Perkins' writing style is unique and invigorating. I'm eager to see what epicness she has written about in the companion novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, which comes out later this year.(less)
Julie Kagawa’s take on faeries and their world is simply extraordinary. With flawless writing, a magical world and an extremely well developed cast of characters, some of which stem from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Iron King proves to be a phenomenal debut and a must-read.
In The Iron King we are introduced to our heroine, Meghan Chase, a somewhat insecure girl with a simple, boring life. When her little brother Ethan is kidnapped and replaced with a malicious changeling and her best friend since childhood, Robbie Goodfell, reveals he is actually Robin Goodfellow aka Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Meghan’s once blasé life turns upside down as she journeys into the Nevernever to save Ethan, incidentally discovering who she really is in the process. Right away, the once insecure girl finds her bravery, determined to save her little brother.
Ms. Kagawa’s vivid descriptions made it easy for me to get lost in the world of Nevernever. I felt like I was part of the story, right alongside the characters I had come to love so much. Kagawa’s talent to seamlessly weave action, adventure and romance into one book without either one being overwhelming is impeccable. Lots of times in other books, the big battle scenes can be dragged out and become a bit arduous to read. But the action sequences were extremely well written in The Iron King and I didn’t once find my attention drifting elsewhere.
Of course, the story would not be complete without a love triangle. I don’t think I can say I’ve ever read a book with a love triangle where I’ve actually loved both guys vying for the girl’s affection. But both Puck and Ash have completely stolen my heart. Puck’s playful banter and whimsical sense of humor never failed to make me laugh and Prince Ash’s broody, tough exterior yet secretly caring personality had me swooning. Now, I hate to pick just one, but if I had to, it would probably be Ash since I like him just a teensy bit more. The intense chemistry Meghan has with him is just too much! Any time he showed Megan the tiniest hint of affection, my heart would flutter and my stomach would clench as if it were happening to me.
And how could I forget Grimalkin? He. Is. So. Adorable. I felt that Kagawa captured the finicky essence of a cat perfectly with him. He was hilarious with his snooty attitude and sarcastic comments. I absolutely adored how he didn’t bother to pay anyone any attention until he was through grooming himself, which is exactly like my own cat!
Overall, The Iron King was a magical, transcendent start to a series and is sure to be one of my favorites for a long time to come. My only regret is not reading it sooner! But, if I read it when it came out, I wouldn’t have been able to read multiple books in the series at once…so I guess I can’t regret it too much when I got to stay in a story world I loved for days as opposed to just hours. ;) My reviews for The Iron Daughter and The Iron Queen, the next installments in the series, will be up soon!(less)