Hi, everyone! It’s been over two months since I last shared a book haul post. I have to say, now that I’m finally a college graduate, I don’t get allowances anymore, and buying books is quite hard when you don’t have the budget for it. (Let’s be honest, it’s quite an expensive addiction, right?) So it took me two months to gather all these hype-worthy books and talk about them here on this book haul post! So anyway, let’s get down to all the books I bought between the months of June and July!
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the lovely bloggers behind The Broke and the Bookish. This week, we’re free to talk about anything under the sun since it’s freebie week. I chose to talk about ten books I own that I want to read as soon as I’m able. Oh, and for more information about Top Ten Tuesday, please check out The Broke and the Bookish blog – they are amazing.
Choosing this week’s topic (since it’s freebie week) was kinda hard for me. I had no inspiration to draft anything but wanted so badly to participate so I took this dilemma to Twitter. I hosted a poll, and two topics were tied, but I decided to go with this particular topic!
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.
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Part of a Series: Yes. Anna, Lola, and Isla Series #3. (Sorry, I don’t know what to call it. Haha!)
Release Date: August 14, 2014
No. of Pages: 352 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Chick Lit
The Cover: The cover featured a silhouette of the Empire State Building, an infrastructure and/or attraction that’s located at New York City. I know for a fact that NYC was a place indicated in the story, but I found it quite disconnected with the story of the book. They spent more time together in Paris than they did in the States, so I found it so. Although, the rose symbol that symbolized something of value between Josh and Isla was relevant. The iconic Arial font inscription of the book’s title was also displayed. It was good, but I expected more from it. (4 out of 5 stars)
CONFESSION: I got this book on the day of it’s release. Yes. And I just started reading it this year. Why? It’s because I don’t want to end the series. I’ve grown fond and so attached with Anna and Lola, and I didn’t want Isla’s story to be the last. I don’t know. I’m extremely sentimental like that. Haha!
The Story: The story focused on the budding romance of Isla Martin and Josh Wasserstein. Having opposite traits and interests, the two really found love in a hopeless place. Isla, having a crush on Josh since forever, really came through with her relationship with the guy. Josh, on the other hand, had the same feelings for Isla but was afraid to admit it to anyone else. Including himself. The pair is super dynamic and unique. They’re not your usual couple with time and family problems. Having different families and all, they really are opposites, and that’s one thing that made me fall in love with their story. Their contrasts were one of the many reasons why this book was my most anticipated read. I loved how their love story started with an awkward and weird encounter. It’s just my cliche idea of how endless love stories should start. Oh, and I love the fact that Josh’s an artist and Isla was the one who didn’t know what to do with her life. It’s usually the other way around. The girl has everything figured out and the guy usually doesn’t know what to do with his life. It sparked my curiosity and made me want to read this book more and more. (5 out of 5 stars)
The Ending: *This part is filled with spoilers. I suggest you skip this part if you don’t want to cry later on.* May we all just take a few moments of silence as we accept the fact that ETIENNE PROPOSED TO ANNA, YOU GUYS! He got on one knee! Oh my god. I can’t control the feels. It just exploded when I read that part. It was so f*cking awesome and the moment was extremely giddy. I can’t emphasize it enough. You have to read that part! And as for Isla and Josh’s happily ever after, I loved the concept of Josh showing Isla his final work. His edited drawings where Isla’s opinions were put into notion. That part really put me to tears. Josh’s effort of taking down his whole life’s work is super sweet and it really made me say “awwwww”. Everything was in its place. There was no question left unanswered except for one. What happens to Kurt now? It tickled my curiosity but somehow, I can’t seem to care because of the happy ending. 🙂 (5 out of 5 stars)
The Verdict: If I was asked if I’m going to read this book again, I would say yes in a heartbeat. Filled with feels, romantic quotes, and massive servings of swoon, Isla and the Happily Ever After proves to be my best anticipated read of 2014 (And yes, I am 4 and a half months late in reading it). ♥ (4.67 out of 5 stars)
“I am hard on myself. But isn’t it better to be honest about these things before someone else can use them against you? Before someone else can break your heart? Isn’t it better to break it yourself?”
“I’ve always thought the best relationships are those that are as happy and content in silence as they are in action.”
“Crushes are so awful. I wonder if they suck worse for the crush-er or the crush-ee. I consider my three years of watching Josh from afar. Yeah, definitely the crush-er.” – Isla Martin
“Take a risk. Take a fucking risk. If you keep playing it safe, you’ll never know who you are.” – Josh Wasserstein
If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.
Authors: Holly Black, Ally Carter, Matt De La Peña, Gayle Forman, Jenny Han, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Myra McEntire, Stephanie Perkins, Rainbow Rowell, Laini Taylor, & Kiersten White. Edited by Stephanie Perkins.
Part of a Series: No
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
No. of Pages: 320 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Short Story, Romance, Holiday, Fiction, Contemporary
The Cover: The U.S. cover featured 12 different couples having fun on a natural skating rink with snowy mountains in the background. This was, indeed, very related to the title, and the genres of the book. It was clever, simple, and very Christmas-y. The U.K. edition, on the other hand, looks absolutely breathtaking. With a light green cover, and pink pages, oh my god. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the one I have in my shelf. 😦 (5 out of 5 stars)
The Story: Since there are 12 stories that I need to rate, I will individualize each and state my opinions about the short stories. *PS. The individual reviews are filled with spoilers. If you want to read the book in peace without spoilers, please skip the bulleted texts below.*
- Midnights by Rainbow Rowell – This short story involved the typical love story of two best friends who realized that they were in love with perfect and smooth timing. Noel and Mags’ love story was short, but it was very relatable and extremely cute and it tugged on my heartstrings. (5/5)
- The Lady and The Fox by Kelly Link – To be completely honest, I really didn’t understand this story. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found this very confusing. But then again, maybe I’m just not familiarized with the author’s writing style. Hmm. (2/5)
- Angels in The Snow by Matt De La Peña – This might be one of my favorite short stories in this book. Shy and Haley’s story was very relevant, modern, and again, very relatable. Being a college student with a limited budget, I fully understand what Shy went through. What I haven’t experienced was him celebrating the holidays alone. And he didn’t need to lie to Haley about his plans for Christmas. But then again, that might be one of the reasons why I loved this short story. (5/5)
- Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han – This one was bordering between fiction and fantasy. The main character, Natalie, being an orphan, was adopted by Santa Claus and was brought to the North Pole to live the rest of her lives. I’m not quite sure as to who she ended up with. Either she ended up with Flynn, an elf with whom she has feelings for, or Lars Lindstrom, a human who she met one night while she accompanied his father deliver gifts around Europe. The story was cute, and again, relatable. (Or maybe I’m wrong, since I haven’t been in love with an elf before.) (5/5)
- It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins – The 5th story of this holiday read might also be one of my favorites. Marigold and North’s love story was unlike any other. Their love sprung from quite a circumstance. Here’s where the “insta-love” seemed powerful. It might be a little unrealistic, falling in love with a man just by having him deliver a Christmas tree to your home and it also seemed weird for him to offer to rearrange the interior design of your home, during Christmas, when you really don’t know him at all. BUT, I loved it! The feels were there and the story was cute. So was the characters! (5/5)
- Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan – This story was my most anticipated one from this book. Being gay and all, I really can relate to David Levithan’s works. And, this story really delivered. It focused on the love of the narrator, whose name wasn’t mentioned, and Connor, his boyfriend and their scheme to make Riley’s little sister, Riley, believe in Santa Claus again. It was a really touching story which showcased the lengths that a person will go to show his loved one what he/she can accomplish to show their love. Indeed, a great story! (5/5)
- Krampuslauf by Holly Black – This short story focused on the “naughty” side of the holidays. It was about Hannah and “Krampus”, and entity (?) who punishes bad kids and rewards good ones (kinda like Santa Claus). I don’t know if it’s just me, but I didn’t quite understood this one. Some of my book friends liked this story but it didn’t really caught my attention. Hmmm. Maybe because I didn’t find what I was expecting. A short story filled with “insta-love” and swoon. (2/5)
- What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? by Gayle Forman – This story, like Angels in the Snow, also depicted a life of a college student, Sophie Roth, who felt entirely like an outsider in the University of Bumfuckville, until she fell in love with Russell, with whom she shares a fascination on with Ned Flanders. Their character developments were quite fast, which lead to me being confused in select scenes, but I liked this story nonetheless. (4/5)
- Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire – I loved this one! Just like most of the stories, I also find this one cute, direct, and romantic. The story revolved on the maturing life of Vaugh, the story’s main male character, and his love for the Pastor’s daughter, Gracie. It’s about the lengths and efforts that a person will endure just to show someone how much they love them and anything is possible as long as your heart is set on what you’re doing. (5/5)
- Welcome to Christmas, CA by Kiersten White – This story was cute as well, focusing on the life (and jobs) of Maria and Ben. What got me interested was that they both worked for this local diner in a place called “Christmas”. Intriguing, right? But anyway, I didn’t fell in love with this story because of the love aspect. What hooked me up was the forgiving and family aspect which the holidays are truly known for. Maria who completely disliked her step dad, came to realize that her opinion about his mom’s new partner might not be correct after all. (5/5)
- Star of Bethlehem by Ally Carter – I definitely loved this one! I really really did! I just love the concept of this story. It focused on the complicated life of Lydia, an artist from the US who wanted to escape going to New York and exchanged plane tickets with Hulda, a girl who didn’t want to go to Iceland. So they exchanged plane tickets and Lydia, the story’s main character, arrived at Iceland with a family who accepted her even if they didn’t know that she wasn’t the girl they think she is and Ethan, an apparent boyfriend, who knows exactly what she’s up to. In the end, Lydia ended up staying with the family that made her feel at home in a place called “Bethlehem”. (5/5)
- The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor – This last story wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I had high hopes for it since it’s the story that’ll end this whole book. I understand that religion and worship was a part of the story. But other that that, I didn’t quite understand this story. I found it quite confusing and their’s too many words used to describe what the speaker was doing and/or feeling. I felt like the story was going in circles and I didn’t like it at all. What I understood was in the end, the girl woke up this “dreamer” character, whose purpose I can’t comprehend, and they fell in love. (?) Meeeh. (2/5)
The Verdict: I loved this book so much. I am a sucker for holiday reads like this one and i absolutely am in awe with this one. I have the US version of the book and am eyeing for the UK edition with pink pages and much more servings of fabulous. My favorite stories, as obviously stated above, are Midnights, Angels in the Snow, Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown, Your Temporary Santa, Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus, Welcome to Christmas, CA, and Star of Bethlehem. God, I recommend this book to everyone! ♥ (4.17 out of 5 stars)
“You’re a kaleidoscope, you change every time I look away.” – Mags, Midnights
“I guess I don’t really know what I want to do, either. Sometimes I feel like a shook-up bottle of soda. Like, I have all this passion that wants to explode, but I don’t know where to aim it yet.” – Shy, Angels in the Snow
“I sang because that is what I do when I am happy and when I’m sad. I sang because it is who I am when I am being the best possible version of me.” – Lydia, Star of Bethlehem
“I am here, and he is here, and everything I need to know is that I will hold him and he will hold me until I am warm again, until I know I belong.” – Your Temporary Santa
“Shame leads to secrets, and secrets lead to lies, and lies ruin everything.” – Marigold, It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown