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Jazz Age Lawn Party

28 Jun

I’ve been out of NYC more than in so far this summer. Luckily this weekend, I was able to attend one of my favorite summer city events, the Jazz Age Lawn Party. Called a “Great Gatsby party” by some, it definitely managed to capture the feel of the classic Fitzgerald novel. It is hands down my #1 pick for amazing street style in New York. It happens again in August–if you’re in town, it’s a must go!

Here are a few sneak peeks of the party:

2011 Jazz Age Lawn Party- (19)

2011 Jazz Age Lawn Party- (4)

2011 Jazz Age Lawn Party- (26)

2011 Jazz Age Lawn Party- (102)

See more photos & the event recap on my photography blog.

Photos ®2011 Rachel Scroggins/Bookshelf Lust.

End of 2010 Survey

29 Dec

My individual “Best of 2010” posts might not be finished yet, but I thought I’d go ahead and participate in this survey from The Perpetual Page-Turner. Because you really can’t gush enough about good books. : )

1. Best book of 2010? Hands down: Anna and the French Kiss. Which I coincidentally just reviewed!

Anna and the French Kiss

2. Worst book of 2010? Nothing I read was THAT awful.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010? Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro just did not live up to the hype, in my opinion. I loved the format the story was told in, but the plot just didn’t go anywhere for me. Based on other reviews, I expected much more mystery and creepiness. The story just…existed. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs, and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater were also books that were new, to me, that I didn’t really enjoy as much as I’d hoped to. Frankly I found both a bit tedious and boring. Bonus: I cannot wait to answer this question next year, because I’m pretty sure I read an ARC of my most disappointing book of 2011 last week.

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2010? Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. I’d heard it was good, but it was Phenomenal!

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2010? Vampire Academy. A lot of my friends read YA, but hadn’t heard of this series yet. I practically forced them to read it!

6. Best series you discovered in 2010? A 5-way tie: All 3 of Richelle Mead’s series (Vampire Academy, Dark Swan, Succubus), Chloe Neil’s Chicagoland Vampires series, and Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan/The Hollows series. Each one was spectacular in its own way, and completely went above and beyond my expectations.

black magic sanction

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2010? Stephanie Perkins, Kelly
Creagh, Rachel Hawkins, Kiersten White, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Richelle Mead, Chloe Neill, Kim Harrison. I was a bit behind in my series reading, in case you can’t tell. : )


Hex Hall

8. Most hilarious read of 2010? I like the bits of humor woven into all of the Hollows/Rachel Morgan books. Rachel’s pixie partner Jenks is definitely one of my top 10 favorite characters of all time. His very inventive swearing never fails to make me laugh. Especially when it involves slandering “sell out” pixie Tinkerbell by saying things like “Tink’s a Disney Whore”.

Dead Witch Walking: Japanese Cover
Jenks and Rachel on the Japanese cover of Dead Witch Walking.

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2010? All 3 of the Hunger Games novels. Another great discovery I made, very late.

10. Book you most anticipated in 2010? Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead.
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2010? Nightshade by Andrea Cremer was definitely the prettiest!

12. Most memorable character in 2010? Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy and Rachel Morgan from the Hollows.

13. Most beautifully written book in 2010? I thought Carrie Ryan’s The Dead Tossed Waves had some beautifully written passages.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2010? Vampire Academy. It made me fall back in love with reading after a long dry spell. And lead me to discover one of my new favorite authors. Pretty much starting a chain reaction of new literary discoveries.

15. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2010 to finally read? The Hunger Games. I put book 1 on my Amazon wish list in 2008. I can’t believe I held out that long. And that people I know told me “not to read it because it was awful.” What?!?!? But in a way, I’m also glad I waited. If I had to wait a year between each book, I would have had a meltdown.

Book Blogging in 2010 (optional):

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2010? Too many to count! I’ve always read a few, but this year discovered some amazing new blogs.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2010? I’m so new, I haven’t written that many yet. But I’m pretty proud of my Anna and the French Kiss review.

3. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)? I had an amazing time at both Charlaine Harris’ and Richelle Mead’s release day signings in NYC this year.

Charlaine Harris Signing 3
Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris Signing 7

Richelle Mead

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2010? Having people embrace me and friend me my very first week of blogging. Reaching nearly 1,000 hits my first week helped too.

7. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.) Paperback swap was new to me this year, and provided me with dozens of new books to read. Joining netgalley was great too. I was offered e-ARC’s to read my first week online!

Top 10 of 2010: Anna and the French Kiss

29 Dec

Anna and the French Kiss

“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?” Via Goodreads.

I haven’t been running my “best of 2010” book posts in order, but it’s safe to say Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins, is my #1 pick of 2010.

I stopped reading most contemporary YA romance novels a few years ago. When I read, I want to escape reality. So paranormal and fantasy books swiftly took over my reading list. I’m so glad I broke my self-imposed rule to read this book! I’d been hearing nothing but good things via twitter posts from authors I admire (Like Kiersten White, and Rachel Hawkins) for months. So when I found Anna on the shelf a month early at the Strand in NYC, I was ecstatic…Then I let it sit on my shelf for a month. I’m a firm believer that books “choose you” when it’s the right time to read them. The blizzard that struck the Northeast the day after Christmas ended up providing me with the prime reading opportunity. Now that it’s made my best of 2010 list, I’m a bit mad at myself for not reading it sooner!

The story is so incredibly well written, honest, and REAL. Stephanie Perkins has perfectly captured what it feels like to be a teenager, and unsure of yourself or your heart. Anna is cute, smart, and has the strength to stand up for herself. Against her better judgment, she falls hopelessly in love with her (taken) new best friend Etienne St. Clair, but refuses to let him walk all over her in the process.

As for St. Clair? He’s gorgeous, charismatic, and funny, but not too perfect. From his physical appearance (he’s short, and has some crooked teeth) to his behavior (his inability to dump his girlfriend for Anna, running away from his problems), he’s a wonderfully flawed love interest.

The romance development is slow, almost painfully slow. But the story is even sweeter for it. There are dozens of accidental touches—like knees brushing in a dark theatre– before kissing comes in to play. Plenty of obstacles stand between the two lovers: a girlfriend, a potential boyfriend, and a handful of misunderstandings. And of course, time–they’re only in Paris for a year. Rather than being “soul mates” (gag) whose world revolves around their lover, Anna and Etienne get to know each other gradually over the course of that year, before realizing they’re in love. Together, they bring out the best in each other, like true love should.

Unlike a lot of books I’ve been reading lately, even the secondary characters are fully developed. From Anna and St. Clair’s circle of friends, to St. Clair’s mother (whom we never even meet!) to Anna’s little brother. I felt like I knew each of them, and was right there in the middle of the action with them. And the action just happens to be non-stop. There isn’t a single dull moment in the entire book, which had me hooked by the second page. I can’t wait to read the two companion novels “Lola and the Boy Next Door” and “Isla and the Happily Ever After”, which come out in 2011, and 2012 respectively. After reading Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins has definitely been added onto my favorite authors list. Not only is her book amazing, she has an adorable blog, with stories from her life, and trials of getting her work published. She’s so open and honest about it all, it’s like reading the blog of a close friend.

Anna and the French Kiss is the one book of 2010 I’ll be recommending to every reader I know, regardless of age, sex, or “preferred reading genre”.

It’s just that good!

Anna and the French Kiss is available now from Dutton.

5/5 Stars.