Friday, 22 August 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Isla and the Happily Ever After
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 14th August 2014
Pages: 375
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought.

The café is boiling. The atmosphere is clouded with bittersweet coffee. Three years of desire rip through my body and burst from my lips: "Josh!" His head jolts up. For a long time, a very long time, he just stares at me. And then…he blinks. "Isla?"

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on brooding artist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And, after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer break, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to face uncertainty about their futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Sometimes when I finish an exceptionally good book I'll reach for the laptop and start typing up my review straight away whether I originally planned to review it or not. And it's happened again, because Isla and the Happily Ever After wasn't perfect but, as cheesy as it sounds, it made my heart burst with happiness.

I pre-ordered the book on Amazon but it wasn't expected to arrive until two weeks after publication. Well, here's a tip: if you're extremely excited for the book, ask Customer Service if there's any way to make it quicker. They'll probably say no, but then if the person you spoke to was feeling generous - or if you're naturally charming and delightful (ahem) - they might surprise you by upgrading your delivery choice free of charge after your conversation. I didn't even ask them to do that but they did it anyway, and now at the time of writing this review it's two days after publication, and in the five hours of owning this book I've read it and fell in love with it, as I knew I would.

I had no idea my quote would be in there. It's in Lola and the Boy Next Door, too! I WILL NEVER STOP FANGIRLING ABOUT THIS.
Isla and the Happily Ever After brings us back to the School of America in Paris, but before the school year begins we're in New York. Drugged up on painkillers from a recent trip to the dentist, let's just say Isla isn't...herself. Not the best time to unexpectedly bump into her longtime crush, then. Although in some ways it's the perfect time to bump into Josh because loopy girls babbling non-stop and eating cheesecake seem to be his cup of tea. The months afterwards are filled with international adventures, new friendships, and lessons learned; the perfect end to a perfect trilogy.

Admittedly the beginning did seem kind of messy in my opinion. Being on painkillers - which wasn't immediately apparent - meant Isla was talking and acting crazily, and as this was my first time 'meeting' her I had no idea what was going on. It was a little confusing and luckily it only lasted for a few pages; it didn't bother me too much but it was a shaky start.

The rest was great, of course. How is Stephanie Perkins such a pro when it comes to writing about book boyfriends? Like St Clair and Cricket, Josh is perfect. He likes art, he takes her to different countries, WHY IS HE FICTIONAL. We can send people to the moon but we can't bring fictional people to life? *sigh*

This bit isn't even necessary to the review and it's a spoiler but... ANNA AND ST CLAIR GOT ENGAGED. I didn't see it coming until it said he got down on one knee. Everyone except Isla had figured it out by then but I hadn't, and it was such a perfect moment, right at Point Zéro. It was also a pleasant surprise for there to be huge posters advertising the Winter Olympics and for the one and only Calliope Bell to be on them. And then Cricket, Lola, St Clair and Anna were cheering her on... it was just too cute. I have yet to stop fangirling. As I've said before, I love it when characters from one book appear in another!

While this wasn't my favourite book in the trilogy, I think it was the most relatable. I've seen people say they didn't really understand Isla's lack of confidence or self-worth but I've felt like that all my life and I completely got where she was coming from. The best bit? She worked on it. GO ISLA. *waves pompoms*

So now I've read all three books, which is my favourite? I'm torn between Anna and Lola. Anna because it was absolutely perfect in every single way, and Lola because...Cricket. Maybe they can be my joint favourite.

They all look so pretty together. :)
We all know how hard it is for bookworms to pick one favourite author, but I think I've finally decided. I'm a slow reader and don't have time to read during the day, and by nighttime I'm usually too tired to read. But with any book by Stephanie Perkins, it's different. I have read each of her books in single sittings, letting myself ignore whatever I'm supposed to be doing instead. It's hard for me to do that with other books, but with these I don't get bored, I'm just enveloped in her natural and consistently fantastic writing for hours on end. Her books allow me to travel in a way most books can't, and if you haven't read any of her books yet, please do. You might not think they'll be your kind of books but I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. ♥

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Your Thoughts on The Mile Long Bookshelf

I made a decision a long time ago that I would never do one of those surveys where you ask people about your own blog. 1) Because I don't like doing what everyone else is doing. 2) I guess I'm worried about the answers I could get.

But here I am. *wraps self in cotton wool* I'm ready to see what you guys really think.  Please be honest! 

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Model Under Cover: A Crime of Fashion by Carina Axelsson

Title: Model Under Cover: A Crime of Fashion
Author: Carina Axelsson
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 1st February 2014
Pages: 432
Genres: MG/YA/Contemporary/Mystery
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Introducing Axelle Anderson: fashion's most stylish detective.

Despite her long legs and fashion-obsessed family, all Axelle wants to do is solve mysteries. So when star designer Belle La Lune vanishes, Axelle seizes the chance to go undercover as a model to crack the case – even if it means being tortured with eyelash-curlers and teetering on sky-high heels. Aided by the distractingly gorgeous Sebastian, Axelle races against the clock to solve the mystery at the heart of Paris Fashion Week...

Admittedly my first impressions of this book weren't great. I thought it would be a light, fluffy read full of poofy dresses and Parisian runways, and that wasn't really what I wanted. But no, this isn't your average fashion novel, that's for sure. Full of mystery and 'whodunits', I was intrigued from the start and it was very difficult to put down!

Sixteen-year-old Axelle is visually 'nothing special'. She has wild, bushy hair and big glasses that hide her face, and instead of going into the modelling career like her mother dreams for her, she wants to become a detective. Her parents find it hard to cope with their daughter 'throwing her life away' so they buy her a train ticket and send her off to her Aunt V in Paris, just in time for Paris Fashion Week - Axelle's worst nightmare. But it turns out maybe it won't all be about fashion after all... sometimes a detective is needed in the strangest of situations.

To be completely honest, I was a bit bored reading the first chapter. Then again, maybe it's because I'm usually so impatient to get to the centre of the story... but it soon picked up. Fast-paced and full of twists, turns, and other surprises, I was left in suspense and wanting more. I loved the quirky characters and the processes they went through to work everything out. There was a sprinkling of romance too, and not just because they were in Paris. Not only is this written really well, but it kept my full attention, and I found myself reading a few pages between classes at school because I just couldn't wait until afterwards. I had to find out who had kidnapped Belle, and trust me when I say that whoever you predict to have done won't be them. I did not see it coming, and, oh, do I love a book which takes me completely by surprise!

Compelling and very enjoyable, are you ready to be transported to Paris? Because this book will do just that. Model Under Cover will consume your brain, and you'll find it hard to do things in your day-to-day life until you've finished the book and gotten to the bottom of the mystery. I highly recommend this to MG and YA readers alike!
But that's not all. I also got to interview Carina Axelsson, the author of this book, and you can see the footage below! For more bookish videos you can subscribe to my channel by clicking here. ;)