Friday, December 19, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After (Book Review)

Isla and the Happily Ever After
by Stephanie Perkins

GenreYoung AdultContemporaryRomance
Publication Date: August 14, 2014
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin Books USA)
Format: Hardcover // 334 pages

Other books by Stephanie PerkinsAnna and the French KissLola and the Boy Next Door

Filed under: boarding schoolssexy times,
Love ignites in the City That Never Sleeps, but can it last?

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on introspective cartoonist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to confront the challenges every young couple must face, including family drama, uncertainty about their college futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Featuring cameos from fan-favorites Anna, √Čtienne, Lola, and Cricket, this sweet and sexy story of true love — set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona — is a swoonworthy conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.
BEFORE READING
I wasn't planning to read Isla, but I spotted it at my library in the new books section and had to read it. After zooming through Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door, I didn't have any doubts that I would end up loving this book. I WAS EXCITED.

THOUGHTS
To be honest, I was a bit underwhelmed. I know this book revolves around the challenges that Isla and Josh face rather than how they become a couple like in Anna and Lola, but I felt like I missed out on watching them develop and build those feelings for each other. Because of that, I wasn't able to fully understand how or why Josh liked Isla in the first place. Yeah, he thought she was hot, but that doesn't cut it for me. It's not that I want him to say exactly why, I just didn't feel like I could get it from who he is.

In both Anna and Lola, we see their settings (Paris and San Francisco) intertwined with the storyline, but I missed that in Isla. I was expecting to see Isla and Josh run around and explore New York City, but a lot of it took place at their boarding school in Paris. Even so, it seemed like it could have taken place anywhere. Barcelona came into the picture for a little bit, but that wasn't enough for me. I was just a little disappointed because I was expecting to experience a different city like I had in Anna and Lola.

I liked that Isla's best friend, Kurt, was part of the story. Having him around (as well as Isla's younger sister, Hattie) reflected a bit of who Isla is as a person. I enjoy a book a little bit more when friends and family are interacting with one another.

The "problems/challenges" that Isla and Josh had to go through weren't that intense or damaging to their relationship. It didn't give me that "NOOO WHY!!!" feeling and wasn't that big of a deal (probably due to Isla and Josh falling in love a little too quickly, in my opinion.)

My favorite part of this book was seeing Anna/√Čtienne/Lola/Cricket, which is not so great because it is supposed to be about Isla and Josh. Don't get me wrong though, I had fun reading Isla. Although I had some problems with a few things, I enjoyed this book as a whole and would recommend it to you if you've read and loved Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door.

OVERALL RATING
  

Isla wasn't my favorite, but don't let me stop you from reading it. I had quite a few expectations (as you can tell from above), so that might have affected my experience while reading it. I know a ton of people who have read and love Isla, so it really depends!

If you read Isla, did you enjoy it more than I did? What was your favorite scene? Would you re-read it? Out of Anna, Lola and Isla, which one was your favorite and why?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Waiting on: I Was Here by Gayle Forman


Cody and Meg were inseparable. Two peas in a pod. Until ... they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything — so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
After reading Gayle Forman's short story in My True Love Gave to Me, I've been itching to read anything and everything else she's written. I have no doubt that I Was Here will bring about one big emotional heartache, but I'd read anything Gayle writes.

Have you read anything by Gayle Forman? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gettin' Graphic

I've never been interested in reading graphic novels. With so many books out there to read, I've rarely strayed from the regular ol' text-only book. However, I've recently picked up a few due to the fact that reading something with more than 300 pages is harmful for my college career.

Once I get into a good book, NOTHING can hold me back from finishing. And if I have to stay up and study through the night for midterms/finals, I will end up ripping all my hair out and bad things will happen.

So thank you to the authors, illustrators, and publishers who put together graphic novels. My hair and the people who have to deal with me on a daily basis thank you for being short and sweet.

Here are three graphic novels I've been able to finish these past two months:

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.

Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya's normal life might actually be worse. She's embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she's pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend - even a ghost - is just what she needs.

But Anya's new B.F.F. isn't kidding about the "forever" part ...

I LIKED THIS ONE. It's one of those stories where you can pretty much figure out the ending but it's still something you want to continue reading because it's how you get there that makes things interesting. This would be great for someone who likes YA and wants to start reading graphic novels. I don't think it's too intense, but there is still a good amount of conflict.

Would I read anything else by Vera Bristol? YES! I found a short online graphic piece titled "What Were You Raised by Wolves?" so I may take a look soon.

Cat Burglar Black by Richard Sala

When K. Westree arrives at Bellsong Academy, she thinks she's left her cat-burgling past behind her. But K soon discovers the school has a mystery of its own, a hidden treasure left behind by its founder, and she's the only one who has a hope of finding it. As she resumes her cat-burgling in an attempt to discover the school's secrets, K begins to question if a normal life is really what she wants.

This caught my eye while I was at the library waiting for my next class to start, so I just picked it up and read it right then. I like the illustrations, but I wish there were more details to shape the story. It felt rushed and packed together as if Sala wasn't given enough pages to write on. K, the main character, has SO much "baggage" that could have been developed, but a ton of things were left unsaid.

Would I recommend this? No :( However, Delphine (another graphic novel by Sala) looks and sounds interesting, so I may give him another chance.

Locke & Key, Vol. 1 by Joe Hill

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them, and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all!

WOW, I have never read ANYTHING like this before. I love the way this story flows — it's very action-packed, which kept me on my toes and glued to every single page. It's downright creepy but the relationships between the siblings and the need to find out what will happen next kept me hooked.

Will I be continuing this series? YES! Although there was so much gore and TONS of violence, the storyline is too enticing to give up. I will gladly read the next volume, even if it means the possibility of peeing in my pants and giving myself nightmares.

Other graphic novels I will be checking out (and reviewing, maybe) in the future!


Have you read any of the graphic novels I've mentioned? Would you pick up a random graphic novel that no one you know or follow has ever reviewed? What was the last graphic novel you read?

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Weekend Line-Up #1

The Weekend Line-Up is a mash-up of all the things I plan to do during my upcoming weekend.
This feature will pop up randomly, like that top in your closet you forgot you bought a month ago.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, GUYS! I don't normally dress up or go out for this occasion (note: I'm a grandma) but I'll be attending my church's Fall Festival tonight and dressing up as a mime with one of my apartment mates. We wanted something we could pull out of our closets, so this was perfect. I don't think we'll be doing a full face of makeup though, that might be a bit too scary.

Since I haven't been reading much nowadays, I thought I'd share what I'm planning (because when you use the word "planning", it makes people think it's gonna happen) to read ... and watch, listen to, etc. Anything that falls under the category of entertainment will be added to these lists :)

Winterspell by Claire Legrand
I planned to read this with Rachel from Paper Cuts and finish by November 1st, but I haven't even looked at the first page yet. I guess this is what happens when it's your last semester in school ... I'm hoping to at least start the book tonight, but knowing that I have a six-page paper due on Tuesday makes me want to pull my hair out. It's not that I don't want to read this — I'm actually itching to dive into the story — but I have a ton of other things that take priority over reading for fun. How do (or did?) you balance school while finding time to read?

The Mindy Project
Season three just started last month in September and I'll be the first to admit — it has reached "that point" in the story where things start heading downhill. I don't like the Mindy and Danny relationship because they were so much better as FRIENDS. But there's just something about the quirky characters and awkward moments that keep me watching. I can't help it!

Taylor Swift's "1989"
I have loved Taylor since listening to Teardrops on My Guitar back in 2006 and yes, I still love her even though she's moved away from the country sound and toward pop. I think she's still true to herself, which makes me very happy. Either way, I will listen to anything she sings or writes. From first impressions, my favorites from "1989" are How You Get The Girl, Style, I Wish You Would and Blank Space. I can't wait until she starts her tour!

What are your plans for the weekend? Will you be dressing up for Halloween tonight? Are there any newly released albums you're playing over and over again?