Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 YA Contemporary Challenge: Results!!

Here are the 20 contemporary books I read in 2014. Some of them weren't on my original list but I'm just glad I managed to read 20 books, this wasn't the best year for me reading wise. But the challenge definitely helped me to get a lot read. Link to list on Goodreads
  1. Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens.
  2. What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick.
  3. Going Rogue by Robin Benway.
  4. The Secrets of Lily Graves by Sarah Strohmeyer.
  5. Take Me On by Katie McGarry.
  6. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  7. The Edge of Falling by Rebecca Serle. 

Mini Reviews

The Last Battle by C.S. LewisThis was maybe the third time that I've read this book. It's of course a classic and a great book. But it does carry a slightly different vibe than the first 6 books. I think it rather fits though, it shows you how things have changed since the beginning of the series and ties everything up very nicely. It's also probably the book, along with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, that has the most ties to Christianity. It's an interesting story as always and one of the things that I like most is that it brings back most of the original characters towards the end, which is lovely.

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth EulbergFrom the cover I was expecting something a little different. So it was surprising to have an Asian lead female character ;) But still a enjoyable, lovely book. I liked the style and pace of the chapters. The writing was lighthearted and it drew me in easily. I also really liked how defensive Macallan got about her uncle, it was really sweet. As for romance, I thought it was a good relationship, it's always best to start off as friends and I think you could really how they created a strong bond. I got a bit annoyed with some of the twists though. But the ending was good. Previously I had only read one other book by this author and now I definitely want to read another :) 

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare: As I'm rereading this series I'm not only refreshing my memory but I'm enjoying these books as well. Cassandra Clare is a very talented author and I'm loving it. I've heard that the latest book (the one I'm trying to work up to) was possibly a bit too long, but for now I'm loving the size of her books. I love a large book, provided it keeps me interested and her books definitely do. I love the characters, Jace and Simon are so sarcastic, Clary being her lovely self, Luke being adorable...and so on and so on. The plot is exciting even if I do remember most of it, it's definitely nice to remember the details of what transpired. I've been thinking while I'm rereading these first couple, which one is my favorite of the four I've read? I'd choose this one. It has a happy ending and Clary and Jace both find out a lot about themselves. Clary develops her powers and Simon adjusts to his immortality (among other things)'s a lot of growth happening. 

Basically, it's a very good book, even rereading it I still really enjoy it a lot and finished it very quickly. The plot was pretty fast paced and even if there wasn't exactly a lot happening in terms of battles and stuff, the characters were still learning a lot in the time between battles and plot twists. And I love the characters :)

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare: I feel like this book, while still good and exciting, isn't quite as good as the first three. Maybe it's just because the cliffhanger ending is absolutely painful, but it seems a bit darker and not quite as exciting. The plot moves a bit slower than in the previous books, possibly because it's a bit of a new direction, a new enemy and a slow build up to revealing who it was. But I got a tiny bit bored here and there. There were some things that I did really like, how connected Jace and Simon get, there are some new characters added, and I felt like Simon's gotten more important and he notices it too. So the characters were great, and there were loads of parts I enjoyed but this book was a bit slower compared to the previous and the ending was pretty dark. Also not the kind of ending a reader likes to find, especially when they've gotten attached to characters, haha. 

Basically I had a few books that I had read but hadn't really written long reviews for, so here they are! :) 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins Review

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, Étienne, 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.

Published August 2014. Third in a sort of series. Check it out on Goodreads!
5 stars. 

What I liked: This book starts off like a fairy tale. The romance is amazing and I loved it. Josh and Isla are so adorable and as you read you get to know them better and fall so in love with them as individuals and as a whole. And then you get towards the middle of the book and the "thing" happens. The thing that makes the characters grow and change and it's the like catalyst or something that changes things. It happens and their happy bubble pops. And then the pieces are trampled on further just when you were hoping it would get better. After that there is the period where the characters have to try and get over their pain and move on with life, choosing whichever way they think is best to survive. Then, comes the ending. Which I don't want to talk about really, I'm afraid I'll give it away. But it was amazing. And then, as the reader, you have the book hangover where you wish it wasn't over and you just have to close your eyes and try to recover.

By the end I was incredible happy, still recovering from the catalyst and emotionally confused and tired. It's an amazing book. It tugs at your heartstrings and it's very relatable. I feel like some people may have issues with something that Isla does that pushes Josh away. I personally understand her reasons for doing it and especially at the time that she did it too. For someone who is a bit socially awkward and comes out of a trying social event with a crash into some depression it makes perfect sense. But in any case the characters are amazing and so many of the previous characters stories get tied up some too. It's great to have characters we briefly met in Anna and the French Kiss come back for their own story and then we get some other characters from the previous two books who make cameos too! I love the settings, (Paris, New York, and Barcelona) as usual. It's a great conclusion and it was lovely. I loved it.

What I didn't like: There really wasn't much that I didn't like. Yes, there is pain that the characters go through. Yes there are roadblocks and yes mistakes happen. But it all comes out alright in the end. I think that Stephanie does a great job of making the book sad and painful for the characters, yet you're still tearing through the book. You're still 100% in there with them.

In conclusion...BEAUTIFUL. I was very happy with this book, it was everything I hoped for and more. I wish I could just describe how wonderful the writing was, how alive she makes the characters feel and how beautiful some of the scenes were. But I guess you'll just have to discover it yourself ;) I highly recommend this book!