YA Books set in Paris!

These last two years I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Paris four times, and it truly is one of the most amazing cities in the world. There is something so elegant and distinguished about Paris and it’s architecture and presence, so it’s no wonder it has become the backdrop for several popular YA books over the last few years.

I actually started writing this post back in 2017 and it has remained in my drafts folder this whole time- I have 32 unpublished posts at the point, sigh- so I figured it was time to release this into the wild.

I’ll be returning to France this summer so maybe it is finally time to get reading these…

This list is definitely one for lovers of YA contemporary- there are unfortunately no fantasy or sci-fi books in this list, but there is one dystopian and one paranormal romance book, so stay tuned for them!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

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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. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

The original- the classic- the real OG. Anna and the French Kiss shot Stephanie Perkins to the top of the YA contemporary author pyramid, and I’ve been meaning to read it forever.

More recently I’ve watched some very interesting book tube videos about this book, and none of the reviewers have liked it very much. It’s always very interesting to me when a book comes across as very well received when it is first published but gets sourer reviews over time- sometimes this suggests readers have matured and changed their minds and sometimes it can show that the publishers issued a very strong publicity campaign when the book was first released and the reaction only seemed positive because you are seeing the book EVERYWHERE, and maybe the bad reviews weren’t as public as the influencer posts.

Either way if I get a chance I still will give this one a shot, it deserves it after sitting for three years in my TBR pile.

Maybe in Paris by Rebecca Christiansen

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Keira Braidwood lands in Paris with her autistic brother, Levi, and high hopes. Levi has just survived a suicide attempt and months in the psych ward—he’s ready for a dose of the wider world. Unlike their helicopter mom and the doctors who hover over Levi, Keira doesn’t think Levi’s certifiable. He’s just . . . quirky. Always has been.

Those quirks quickly begin to spoil the trip. Keira wants to traipse all over Europe; Levi barely wants to leave their grubby hotel room. She wants to dine on the world’s cuisine; he only wants fast food. Levi is one giant temper tantrum, and Keira’s ready to pull out her own hair.

She finally finds the adventure she craves in Gable, a hot Scottish bass player, but while Keira flirts in the Paris Catacombs, Levi’s mental health breaks. He disappears from their hotel room and Keira realizes, too late, that her brother is sicker than she was willing to believe. To bring him home safe, Keira must tear down the wall that Levi’s sickness and her own guilt have built between them.

 

[Add to your goodreads TBR]

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

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A troubled teen, living in Paris, is torn between two boys, one of whom encourages her to embrace life, while the other—dark, dangerous, and attractive—urges her to embrace her fatal flaws.

Haunting and beautifully written, with a sharp and distinctive voice that could belong only to this character, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unforgettable young adult novel.

Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can’t shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.

When Summer’s behavior manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living. With an ending that’ll surprise even the most seasoned reader, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light is an unputdownable and utterly compelling novel.

Another book I’ve had in my TBR forever. Sigh. I have to admit this was a total cover buy for me, I adore sunset gradient covers and this one photographs so well… I’m not so sure if I’ll ever get around to reading it but it definitely sounds like it offers a Parisian experience these other books lack- what with the ‘creepy underbelly of the city’ and is maybe a less traditional YA romance book.

 

Nobody’s Girl by Sarra Manning

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Bea thinks she’s the most boring seventeen-year-old in the world. She’s not pretty or popular or funny, unlike her mother who had Bea when she was 17. The only glamorous thing about Bea is the French father who left before she was born and lives in Paris. She yearns for la vie Parisienne every moment of her dull existence.

So when Ruby Davies, the leader of her school’s most elite clique picks Bea as her new best friend and asks her to go on holiday with them, she’s wary but delighted. If nothing else it’s two weeks away from her over-protective mother . But when the gang arrive in Spain, Bea is crushed to realise that Ruby and her posse have simply been using her.

Bea wreaks vengeance on her so-called friends, and plans to decamp to Paris to find her father. But when she falls asleep on the train and wakes up in Bilbao, she meets a group of American students who are backpacking around Europe and bonds with them straight away, especially the gorgeous Toph, who helps heal Bea’s hurting heart. And though Bea has a shock in store when they finally get to Paris, the ‘City of Lovers ‘ really works it magic on Bea and Toph, who spend a week wandering the sun-dappled streets of Paris, talking, holding hands and falling in love.

When it comes time to go home to confront her Mum about her mysterious father, the new version of Bea is determined that she ‘ll never go back to her old, boring way of life – she’s no longer Nobody’s Girl; she belongs to herself and to Toph…But with an ocean between them, will he wait for her?

This is the only book on the list that I have actually read- and loved by the way. I was always a Sarra Manning fan, and this book was one of my favorites back when I was 14. I recently had the chance to meet and talk to Sarra and she was just as enigmatic as I imagined she’d be!

I honestly can’t tell you if this book has aged well because it’s been so long, and I don’t even have my original copy of this one so I can’t reread it either- opps. I definitely had a lot of fun back when I was younger rereading this over and over so if you are in the market for a Paris adventure then this is one I do recommend.

 

Rook by Sharon Cameron

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History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

The only dystopian on our list, Rook has a rather unique premise of an arranged marriage in a dystopian future with a sort of Robin Hood-esque character woven in. Unfortunately it wasn’t received terribly well, many people have even stated that the choice of setting was mostly unused in the actual plot which is unfortunate, and the general consensus is that the pacing was too slow.

Either way as our only non-contemporary it might be worth a read!

[Add on Goodreads]

Die for Me (Revenants #1) by Amy Plum

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In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again

The supernatural romance book- is that what we call this genre? Or is it paranormal romance?- appropriately titled Die for Me. This is the first in a trilogy which was apparently popular enough to warrant novellas and a book documenting the world-building behind the series. It was pretty well received, but unfortunately it seems it might be another book which uses Paris as a backdrop without doing much to add to the general ambience of the book.

[Add to Goodreads]


 

So thats all! Are there any other Parisian themed YA books I should know about? Or maybe just a YA which has a few scenes set in Paris? I, for one, am very excited to hear that some of Cassandra Clare’s upcoming books will be set in Paris, albeit in the 1900s- we need more Parisian fantasy books!

(Pictured, the Notre Dame on my last visit, it’s so beautiful with the roses in bloom!)

 

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Can authors and publishers fake how popular a book is?

Short answer: Yes. Yes they can. And they do, quite frequently.

I’m writing this post in the fall out of the Handbook for Mortals scandal that had rocked YA twitter and bookstagram in the last couple of weeks. I’ve actually been taking a bit of a break, but you can imagine my surprise today when I logged back on and saw a tidal wave of tweets about this one book.

To simplify matters- Handbook for Mortals by Lani Salem is a book no one had ever heard of, from a publisher no one had ever heard of that jumped to the top of the NY times YA bestseller’s list last month. And I mean JUMPED, it came in a massive 12,000 sales over the second best seller at 18,000 copies sold.

But unfortunately for Lani the sales seem to have been faked, or at least manipulated*. The way the NYT Bestsellers List (the most respected published list of popular books) works is by complying a list from certain bookshops which report to the NYT how many copies they’ve sold that week of new books (backlist books don’t count, or else Potter would always come on top).

People have speculated that Lani and her publisher, GeekNation (which had never before published a book before), had found out the bookshops that do report and bulk brought copies from them. Other people have even said the numbers are fakes entirely as only 3,000 copies were ever printed (pure speculation, but seeing as hardly anyone has seen one of these books in person, it’s not impossible to believe).

Either way, the NYT has retracted Lani’s position on the list, confirming that some kind of foul play was at fault here, though Lani still denies any wrong doing and blames YA twitter and bloggers for the retraction.

It seems unlikely that something on this scale has ever been done before- after all you’d need a LOT of money lying around to decide to buy up 18,000 copies of your own book (which rumor has it Lani is now reselling, at a mark up. Hope that works out for her, otherwise it was a pretty stupid investment (obviously this is still speculation)). But lying about how popular your book is is a pretty common occurrence.

I’ve been blogging about YA books, on numerous blogs now, for 5 years and believe me, I know about a lot of books. I’m not saying I know ALL books, but I keep a strong eye on all upcoming releases from publishers and gossip from fellow bloggers and bookstagrammers so I always have an idea whats going on- but sometimes things seem to slip through the cracks.

Have you ever seen a Facebook advert for a book series, advertised to you because you’ve liked Harry Potter, the Hunger games or Twilight which boldly declares it has more then 5,000 five star reviews? I’ve been seeing these adverts more and more, and for more and more cheaply written, badly edited trash (sorry, not sorry) with the worst plots I’ve ever read.

All of these books are books I’ve never heard of. The majority of them (and I’m not saying this to blast self published books or authors, because you guys are amazing and there are so many books I love which are self published) are only available as an ebook, and yet they have a ridiculous amount of reviews.

I definitely believe the majority of these reviews have been paid for.

When you are looking for your next book, take a look at the NYT list (which is normally reliable) and at the people who are leaving reviews on amazon and on twitter. Look for book reviewers, the majority of good books will have reviews from people with blog titles in their names, and if things don’t add up with anything- be careful, it could be fake.

Also a reminder that you can return an ebook within three days on amazon if you realise it’s actually just 75 pages of hogswash. You’re welcome.


*speculation.

I am not being sued today, no sirree.

The Bookstagram/Blogger Bible- Advice posts to help you start up and thrive!

I’m writing a series of posts about starting bookstagramming/book blogging and how to make the most of the experience!

I will be updating links as posts are uploaded, so you can check back for more (or follow me to see them when I post!)

Bookstagram

Blogging

  • How to start a book blog! (coming soon!)

General

My 2017 Most Anticipated Read (and book buying ban).

Foreword: This blog post was written almost entirely in January, ten days into January to be precise. Like most things I left it in my drafts, and now I’ve come along and finally finished it. Yay! I don’t see much point in rearranging my original text to make it seem like I wrote all this in March (when this was so obviously supposed to be a start of year post) so expect some differences on time zones throughout. Enjoy!

I start this year with 35 books sitting on my shelves yet to read- and I am excited about all of them. Because of this, and believe me I wish I didn’t have to do this, I am going on a book buying ban. For a year. Starting now.

Actually, we are now 10 days into this ban, and I can confirm I have not *technically* brought any books yet. Technically, because I built in a few rules that will help me get through this long long year.

First of all, I am allowed to buy my most anticipated releases. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a list of all the books I am dying to read in 2017, and I then preordered them all, so I don’t have to worry about missing out. I also am allowed to buy a few sequels, because 99% of the unread books I own are firsts in a series, and I know never getting further then the first book in some of these will kill me.

So, without further ado, here comes my most anticipated books of 2017 up to May (aka. the ones I have allowed myself to preorder)(I will be planning my rest of year anticipated releases in late May, so I don’t miss any out).

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir!

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

(That line was totally stolen from the goodreads synopsis, but it got your attention, didn’t it?)

An Ember in the Ashes follows the stories of Laia, a slave, and Elias, a soldier. Laia’s life is turned upside down when soldiers arrive at her house in the middle of the night, kill her grandparents and arrest her brother for treason against the Empire, a roman like regime that has kept her people, the scholars, in repression for generations. Laia has no one to turn to, so hunts down the resistance, a group of people fighting against the Empire, in hopes they will help her get her brother back.

Elias is training to become a full fledged mask, a soldier for the Empire who wear silver masks that meld to their faces like second skins. Only Elias’ mask has never fully attached. Elias’ attends Blackcliff academy, a terrifying school for soldiers which has put students through questionably moral (and downright evil) tasks on numerous occasions, and is probably the third scariest place I’ve ever read about (the first being Aragog’s cave in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (spiders give me the creeps) and the second being the chokey in Matilda, that cupboard with spikes that naughty children get put in). All of this considered, it’s no wonder Elias wants to run away.

The resistance offer to help Laia on one condition- she become their spy at Blackcliff.

You can see where this is going, right?

Our two storylines collide.

And I love it when that happens in books.

There is also an amazing cast of characters in AEITA, such as Helene, Elias’ best friend and the only female candidate in their graduating class. Literally I don’t even know how much more I can say, because of spoilers, but she is so badass. Just wow. And equally the villain was so instantly hateable, it was amazing. Like the Commandant is on a par with Umbridge in my mind, which is incredible seeing as Umbridge has held top gun for a long time now.

And the relationships and storylines and everything were just URRGH. SO. GOOD.

I don’t even have words.

The story is set in some sort of alternate universe Roman Empire, in world that does have magic (though that doesn’t play too heavily on the story). There are multiple race dynamics and cultures and languages interplaying throughout the book, making the world infinitely richer and more believable.

There was action, romance, drama and tears and I literally couldn’t have asked for more.

I’m giving this one 4.5 ice creams!

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Even writing this review has me so hyped for A Torch Against the Night, the second book in this series, which came out in August (I really need to get my hands on it, asap!)

This review is mildly incoherent because I’m finding it hard to put into words how much I liked it. Go read it! NOW!

Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass!

I want to start this off by saying, for some odd reason, I liked this book. Now watch while I tear this book apart, bullet point by bullet point.

The Selection by Kiera Kass follows 35 girls as they are picked in a lottery to compete in a Bachelor style TV aired competition for a Prince’s hand in marriage. In particular we follow the story of America Singer, a girl who is a 5 (everyone in this book belongs to a numbered caste, with 1 being the highest and 8 being the lowest) so she’s not too well off. Her mother makes her enter the Selection in the hopes of moving her family up the ranks, so they can be in a better place financially and socially.

Continue reading

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell!

Ironically (I know now, anyway) I first brought this book a whole year ago, almost to the day, in my first week of university. I was confining myself to my room, only leaving to eat and go to class. Unfortunately I didn’t ever get further then 9 pages in because, even more ironically, I joined the Harry Potter society and met more fangirls who don’t like to leave their rooms so we could not leave our rooms together. It was unfortunate that I didn’t read this book back then because then Cath have been overwhelmingly like me.

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Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas!

This review was written in August 2015, back when I had first read Throne of Glass, and was one of my first book reviews. I’ve left it untouched, seeing as these were my original thoughts after Throne of Glass, but it’s a bit cringeworthy. Ignore baby-review-writing Katie.

Ok so I am going into this knowing that everyone and their mother has read this book, I am so late to this party. I had unusually high expectations as a result and was almost ready to be disappointed. I wasn’t.

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Whats going on?

Hi guys,

So I have been cross-platform blogging for like 3 years now, and I have reviews all over the place. Literally, all over the place.

I’m trying to create a centralised system for all my reviews, and I’m using this wordpress to host it all.

What does that mean? I’m going to posting a TON of reviews over the next couple of days, and I sincerely apologise for the spam.

Once it’s all done we (*I) will never have to worry about where to find one of my reviews again!

Thanks for your patience,

Katie

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo!

Once again I have left writing a review for a first book until after I have read all the books. Sigh. I’m going to have to try and channel past-Katie for this review, let’s see how it goes.

There are no spoilers in this review!


 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo is the first book in her Grisha trilogy, a series I have long been unhurried about starting because of the plethora of mixed reviews. Some people love it, some people hate it, everyone seems to agree it’s not as good as Six of Crows. But I’m a stickler for the rules, and when everyone started raving about Six of Crows, a spin-off duology series which takes place in the same universe as the Grisha trilogy, I knew I had to read these first. In case, you know, I was spoiled or something.

Shadow and Bone follows Alina, a girl who lives in a world were there are normal humans and then there are the Grisha, people with special abilities who always seem to be beautiful and graceful and wealthy. Alina and Mal, her best friend (who is a guy, yes, you can tell where that storyline is going) are in the first army, the normal human one, whereas the Grisha inhabit the second army (and are altogether more cool, with their matching outfits and what-not).

Our story starts when Alina is readying to cross the fold, or the Un-Sea, a rip in the land the separates West Ravka from East Ravka, and is crawling with nasties and darkness. Many people don’t make it through, and sure enough Alina’s friend Mal is attacked. Only when he is she explodes with light, driving the monsters away and saving her friend.

It turns out Alina is Grisha afterall, and a special unheard of kind of Grisha at that. A sun summoner. The opposite to the Grisha’s ruler, the Darkling.

I’m trying to convey as much sarcasm as I can, even though I’m not entirely sure how much I was underwhelmed by this first book when I first read it. I know I was disappointed though. There was something about the characters, and I just didn’t connect at all.

I’m saying all this now, in complete honesty, because it all changed after I read the second book. There was something missing with Shadow and Bone that Leigh completely fixed in Siege and Storm, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Overall I gave Shadow and Bone three ice creams when I first read it, so I’ll stand by that now.

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Well, there you go. I had to be honest about Shadow and Bone though it killed me to put this series down. If you are thinking about reading Grisha DO IT! It’s an amazing series, seriously one of the best fantasy series I’ve read. It doesn’t pick up, at least for me, until the second book, but the first one is so short it’s definitely worth it!