Friday, August 22, 2014

Isla and the Happily Ever After

9627755This is the third and final book in the series.  As far as series go, these books are barely tied together.  Each title has it's own character and own story.  The overlap is the couple from the first book are minor characters in the second book, and the couples from the first two books make an appearance in the third book.  It is lots of fun to have those characters visit though.

This third book follows Isla Martin as she embarks on her senior year of boarding school in Paris.  Things seem to be looking up when longtime crush, Josh, not only notices her, but might actually be interested in her.  All her dreams are coming true, until a mistake is made and the love birds are torn apart.  As Isla gets an inside look into Josh's life, she realizes that maybe she doesn't really know him at all.  On top of that, she starts to question his feelings for her.  She doesn't believe he really loves her.  Can she learn to trust herself and Josh before her happily ever after melts away?

After reading this book I really want to reread the first one (Anna and the French Kiss).  Josh is best friends with St. Clair, one of the main characters from the first book.  I don't remember Josh much from that book and now I want to reread it.  He is only a minor character, but he is in the group of friends that Anna makes.  Isla even makes a cameo in that book.  Now that I've gotten to know Josh better, I am curious about his character in the first book.  In this book he is all alone.  His friends all graduated the year before.  This book takes place the year after the first book.  I wish I could remember more, but it is a really good book so I don't mind rereading it someday.  It's a really good series and this was a fun ending.  All the main characters from the three books come together for a night.  It was a fun reunion.  The books are all worth a read.  As far as teen/young adult romance is concerned, Stephanie Perkins is one of those authors that takes it to the next level, in my opinion.  She writes interesting characters that are fun to get to know.  Give her books a try.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

18811411This book is sort of written like a celebrity biography.  It's completely fictional, but it is laid out like a true story with the author writing about her own brief, yet memorable, encounter with the subject and how that inspired her to look a little deeper into Addison's life.  I enjoyed this book because it was different from other books I usually read.  There are photographs of the characters throughout the book to further illustrate their personalities and to make it more real.  The story is told through a series of interview entries, without the interviewer presence.  It details the final two years (maybe a little less) of the life of Addison Stone, an up and coming artist already famous in NYC.  She is a very interesting and complex character.  A ticking time bomb that was bound to explode.  He covers her struggles with mental illness (schizophrenia), her manic energy, and thirst for experiencing life.  She didn't feel fear, even when she should have.  She didn't have a great home life and couldn't wait to escape.  When a chance to move to NYC came, she grabbed it and never really looked back.  Too young to be alone in the big city, she didn't always make the best choices.  It details her highly dysfunctional relationships with both friends and lovers.  The interviewees include her long time best friend, Lucy, high school boyfriend, Jonah, a variety of authority figures (parents, teachers, influential people in the art world), as well as New York friends, her brother and two New York boyfriends, Zach and Lincoln, who are both people of interest in her death.  Following her ups and downs was rather entertaining.  She was full of an energy that just sucks you right in.  The author created a very interesting character.  Despite knowing from the beginning that she died, I found myself holding on to the very end wanting to suck up all the details of her story that I could.  It reminds me of those behind the scenes TV True Hollywood Stories or whatever they are called.  This was just like that.  It reminds me of the headlines and stories all over the place telling us details of famous people's lives that I think all of us can't help but read a little, even if we couldn't really care less.  Call it morbid fascination.  That is probably why I liked this book.  It felt like an inside look into the life a young, famous person who died too young.  Guilty pleasure or whatever, it is worth a read.  I enjoyed the various narrators helping piece the story together.  It was a nice change of pace from the normal stuff I read.  If you are looking for something a little less mainstream, perhaps this is it.  Happy reading!

Monday, August 18, 2014


17586991Henny is another picture book I recently discovered.  It is about a chicken who has born with arms instead of wings.  Now to be honest, she does look a little creepy, but the story itself is enjoyable.  At times she has a lot of trouble with the fact that she can't do things the other chickens can do, like flying.  At other times she relishes in the fact that she can do things they can't, like use chopsticks.  She comes to realize that being different isn't always fun, but it is wonderful once she realizes her potential.  This book is all about being different and how that can be a good thing.  There are times in our lives that being the same as everybody else is all we want.  Fitting in and being accepted can be crucial to our development.  Then, there are times in our lives that all we want to do is stand out, be unique, even special.  Henny experiences both those desires and in the end realizes how wonderful being different can really be.  She may not have wings to fly, but her arms allow her to pilot a plane.  I think that the point is there is no right or wrong way to do things, trying them is what is important.  Even more, accepting who we are and figuring out what makes us special is something that we all need to experience in order to truly be happy.  This is a great book to help illustrate how wonderful being different can really be.  Happy reading!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Septimus Heap

11984131A very cute kids series is Septimus Heap by Angie Sage.  The adventures follow a young boy named Septimus Heap.  He is the seventh son of a seventh son, and as such, he is destined to be one of the most powerful wizards of all time.  He is just a boy though, so he must take up an apprenticeship with the ExtraOrdinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand, in order to be properly trained to someday take her place.  The books are filled with adventure and mishap.  The characters are a lot of fun and the world the author has created is rather enjoyable.  Septimus' family is rather entertaining.  His brothers are all very different.  His sister, Jenna, is a force to be reckoned with.  His best friend Beetle is always up for an adventure.  After raising seven kids, Sarah Heap is not to be messed with.  All the characters, good and bad, are fun.  The series is full of quirky characters and great adventure, not to mention a bit of magic, time travel, possession, dragons and danger.  It is very fun.  The books are all quite thick, but the content is appropriate for younger readers than Harry Potter.  I would recommend it for about 10 years old, but could be read to kids slightly younger.  If you like fantasy and want something a bit silly, yet well written and entertaining, give this series a try.  Happy reading!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Killer Instinct

20409231Killer Instinct is the second book in the Naturals series.  It is perfect for fans of The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting.  I am absolutely loving this series.  This second installment (set to be released November 4, 2014) is just as good, maybe even better than the first one.  The Naturals are a group of teenagers with highly developed skills that help the FBI solve cold cases.  They keep getting dragged into active cases, which is what they prefer anyway.  The FBI agent in charge of them wants them far away from danger, but they can't help but get involved.

The characters include Cassie, a profiler who can get inside the mind of anybody.  Dean is also a profiler who developed his skill while being raised by one of the countries most notorious serial killers.  Michael is an emotion reader.  He can read even the slightest facial expression and know what anyone is feeling.  Lia is a human lie detector. A born liar herself, she can discern even the slightest falsehood in others.  Last but not least we have Sloane, a genius with a memory for facts and numbers and an eye for detail.

The kids all live in a house with Judd, a retired Marine, as their guardian.  Together as a team they are pretty much unstoppable.  The problem is they don't like to follow the rules, which often leads them into trouble and sometimes even danger.  They are a very interesting and fun team.  All of them have messed up childhoods, some of which we are still learning about.  This book involves a serial killer, as does the first book.  Despite specific instructions to stay far away from the case, the group can't help but get involved.  This case has Dean's psycho father written all over it.  They are forced to seek his help from his prison cell, and none of them will be the same once he is inside their heads.

This book is just awesome.  I love a good murder mystery/psychological thriller and this book hit the spot for sure.  I really enjoy the characters and can't wait to get to know them further.  I am loving this series!  The books are well written and well paced.  I just want to keep reading to see who the killer is and whether my guess is correct.  I guessed right in this one, but that didn't make me enjoy it any less.  I'm now experiencing the down side of reading an advanced copy of a book.  I have to wait even longer for the next one to come out.  I'm definitely glad I found this series.  It is well worth the wait.  I highly recommend hit.  Happy reading!

Monday, August 11, 2014

What Do You Do With an Idea?

18570357I stumbled upon this picture book the other day and was blown away.  It is amazing.  Everybody needs to read this.  The message is applicable to all ages, not just children.  What a great idea for a story.  It follows a child (I don't remember if it is a boy or girl, it isn't important) who has an idea, but has no clue what to do with it.  He tries to ignore it, but the idea just won't go away.  It follows him where ever he goes.  Other people tell him the idea is too big/crazy/unpractical, etc.  All the responses people often have to our ideas.  After awhile the child decides to nurture the idea and run with it.  Soon the idea has grown into something amazing.  The child learns that with what began as a tiny inkling, he was able to change the world.  All it took was believing in himself.  It is really such a great and inspiring book.  If we only believed in half of the ideas that cross our minds, just imagine what we could do.  We too could change the world.  The illustrations are adorable as well.  This is a book that not only should everybody read, they should own it.  The book is great for inspiring all ages.  It can help build confidence and inspire us to dream.  Find a copy of this book today, and let it start you on a new path.  Happy reading!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Book Lover's Day

Tomorrow, August 9th, is Book Lovers Day.  It is meant to be celebrated by settling down with a good book and enjoying the simple act of reading.  It is the perfect day to share books with friends and family.  I'm going to take this opportunity to share some of my all time favorite books with you.

Let's start with kids books.  Where the Sidewalk Ends is my kind of poetry through and through.  It's simple, humorous and is easy to read.  Shel Silverstein is just brilliant.  The Secret Garden is a children's classic that everyone should read, especially girls.  I have read it probably six times and loved it every time.  Matilda is another book I have enjoyed over and over.  What a wonderful little girl she is.  Roald Dahl's dark and twisted humor always entertains.  Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is such a fun and fantastic adventure.  I can't wait to read it with my daughter.  I'll wrap up this portion with two series I adore.  First, Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a perfect blend of action, adventure, mythology and friendship.  It is very entertaining and should not be missed.  Finally, Harry Potter.  It is a series that forever changed the book industry and has turned millions of people into readers.

The next group of books I want to discuss are in the Young Adult genre (arguably my favorite genre).  I guess I am one of those stunted adults that just can't get enough of it.  I've selected just two to talk about.  The Book Thief is a beautifully written, life changing story about the love of books and the power they have to transform lives.  It truly is a magnificent story that everyone should read.  The Truth About Forever is my guilty pleasure teen book of choice.  It is filled with wonderful characters.  It is about friendship, learning to live again after tragedy and finding love when you least expect it.  I just love that book.

On to adult books.  My favorite is The Power of One.  It is just such an awesome and inspiring story about overcoming limitations.  It exemplifies how one person truly can make a difference and perhaps even change the world.  To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those books that touches your heart and changes your life.  It captures childhood and the human experience better than most books can ever hope to.  These is my Words introduces a character like no other.  She is not soon forgotten.  Sarah will get under your skin and leave you wanting more.  Gone With the Wind is a love story for the times.  I fell in love with Rhett Butler and wanted to strangle Scarlett O'hara for not seeing how great he is until it is too late.  Another great love story, retold more than any other one (perhaps besides Romeo and Juliet) is Pride and Prejudice.  It may be cliche, but I still love it.  Mr. Darcy is wonderful.  Last but not least, Atlas Shrugged.  Ayn Rand is one of my very favorite authors.  Her fiction is not for everyone, but I wish there was more of it.  I really enjoy books that make you think and expand your outlook, and her books truly do that.

I challenge everyone to take some time tomorrow to sit down and read, not because you have to, but because you want to.  Read alone or together as a family.  Just enjoy a good book because you can.  Take it one step further and share your favorite books with your friends and family.  Sharing books and the love of reading is one of the best gifts you can give others.  At least that is what I think.  Happy Book Lover's Day and Happy reading!