13 Little Blue Envelopes When it comes to YA, I am possibly one of the most suggestible persons out there. If I like your books, and you recommend some13 Little Blue Envelopes When it comes to YA, I am possibly one of the most suggestible persons out there. If I like your books, and you recommend someone else, then I will pick it up. If like what you have recommended that first time, I will pretty much trust you no matter what book you thrust at me. Maureen Johnson was one of those books that YA author Stephanie Perkins suggested and I just couldn’t walk away from. This was the only Maureen Johnson book as my library, so it’s where I started. Please note I will be buying ALL of her books in the future. This is the story of finding yourself out of your comfort zone. Ginny’s crazy artistic aunt left a few years ago and is now dead. But all of a sudden there is a package and instructions for her to go on a trip from her deceased aunt. Now I am going to start off on the one point that I eventually had to let go and just accept. My parents would NEVER have let me back pack through Europe on a crazy voyage by a most unreliable aunt at the age of 17 by myself without the promise of daily, no hourly phone calls. NEVER EVER EVER!! And yet somehow she manages to convince them. I think perhaps an earlier scene of this convincing strategy might have helped me to move on in the novel faster. Also, she never wrote to her parents, only to her best friend. I think that if your 17 and back packing across Europe, you might have sent a letter home. Just saying. So after I got over that, and let go the rest of the book was very enjoyable. Keith and her relationship with him felt very real. I love the getting to know you parts before falling for someone. This wasn’t super glamorous, OMG he is so hot - feel the tension. NO. It had awkward real teenage moments, which really worked for me. At the end of the book (the one I read anyways) there is a kind of Q&A section. Which really also helped to understand the travel aspect of it. After a while you can tell Ginny is being worn out by all of this travel, and the letters aren’t making much sense to her in the tasks but she keeps doing it, and you know she is wearing thin. And I kept thinking, YOUR ON THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFE TIME, ENJOY!!! Yes I thought this in capitals. But when Maureen explains that after a while it just starts to wash over you because it becomes too much, well that made sense to me too and gave me a better perspective on the novel. Also, I loved how awkwardly Ginny was. This was a book about her getting out of her comfort zone, but through each experience, we also see how much effort this takes her. It was really humane. It wasn’t all balls to the wall fearless. And I can really appreciate that. This book was written in third person limited, but because we were attached to Ginny the whole time I thought it could have been stronger if it was told in first. I never thought I would see the day where I would actively advocate for first person, but alas I find it works really well in YA. So unless you are using third multiple POV, please give me first person. Or for the other caveat, use third if first will only result in an EMO mess. There are also some brilliant laugh out loud moments in this book. I wish I had owned it while reading it because I would have then bookmarked them all for you. I keep thinking I will remember them, but I hardly ever do. This one that I really LOVED. Reverse mugging. You need to read it in context but it was made of WIN. SPOILER ALLERT!! The last envelope gets lost. And yet the ending still felt very complete to me. I know that there is another book being released in the spring called The Last Little Blue Envelope, and I am very curious about what it contains within. BUT at the same time, I am also very content with the ending of 13 Little Blue Envelopes. So content in fact that I am not sure what Maureen could possibly cover in the next book because the first book took 12 letters. This book will only have one. What if when I reach the end there will be no peace. I like the peace that I have made with 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Mind you I am WAY WAY to curious not to find out. Final Thoughts: If you are going to try Maureen Johnson this is a good starting place. If you like travel books and YA, this book is perfect. There is a lot to fall in love with in this book, and I really enjoyed it. There are of course a few things I would fix, but overall they would not stop me from reading this.
Where to begin…. This book is one of those deeply touching farce comedies where the stakes just keep pilling up and things get funny and hard, but alsWhere to begin…. This book is one of those deeply touching farce comedies where the stakes just keep pilling up and things get funny and hard, but also real. And somewhere the tide has started shifting for me and I am more and more drawn to contemporary novels, the light stuff, the issues stuff, the romance stuff, the high concept stuff. All of it, I wants it now, all of it, I haz to haz it. (okay maybe we should ignore my slip into lolcat)
Scarlet O’hara just turned 15, finds out her families hotel that they (4 siblings - herself included, and 2 parents) live in is close to shutting down and they all have to pull there weight as they are now the only staff. LE suck. She gets ‘gifted’ the empire suite on her birthday and it is her responsibility to care for the inhabitants of that suite. Queue the nex day and she has an unexpected guest who actually really takes up on that offer and hires Scarlet essentially as her personal assistant. Add to that her older brother Spencer(who she is super close with) was given a 3 day deadline to either accept the culinary school offer of scholarship (which expires at the end of those 3 days) or get his acting career up and running in that time. This may seam out in left field but soon enough his getting a role in Hamlet synchs together the strings that tie this plot together.
There was a romantic element to this story, Queue Eric. There is some super cute are we flirting are we not scenes, feel the tension, OMG he is so damned dreamy! And then there is kissing. And I like me some kissing, but then I was all disappointed in his honesty at the end, and feel much the same way Scarlet does(who thanks to Mrs. Amberson I now want to call O’hara all the time) – that any self help book that preaches that much honesty should be destroyed, because it sucks.
What I liked even more was the family drama. Lola clearly has her own issues to deal with in regards to what she wants to do with her future. She comes off as a very Jane character from the recent Pride and Prejudice retelling that Hank Green Produced (co-produced?) – The Lizzie Benet Diaries. I know that this book came out first, but I am reading it after I have scene the Lizzie Bennett Diaries. So in my world Lola = Jane. Done deal.
Also I was oddly touched by the spoilt younger sister Marlene (??? – so bad with character names). And not because she is a Cancer survivor, but because I saw some character development there. She is a spoilt brat and her family protects her from the world and no one says no or tells it to her like it is. Until Scarlet snaps. And I get that it’s bad, but at the same time that leaves a lot of honesty on the table to work with and when Marlene gets called up to be a part of something, it gives her a nice option to take a different path then the one she might have had Scarlet never told it to her like it is even if it was a harsh thing to say.
I don’t want to leave Spencer out. I totally liked him, but oddly enough he felt secondary to me even though he was a leading player in Scarlet’s life. Like the moon she would turn to for advice and to share her tragedies with. Two siblings, thick as thieves. And without him we wouldn’t have much of the plot. Because it is his Play Mrs. Amberson latches onto. And it is Scarlet as her assistant that she drags onto this crazy madcap adventure. Yet still, secondary to me.
Speaking of Mrs. Amberson that women seams like a great mystery to me. For example where exactly did she get all of her money to throw around and help out like that. I know there are people out there who have money like that but those people don’t normally do this kind of thing. She is one of those larger than life characters. I would say she is a cross between he Manic Pixie stereotype and the Wise Older Mentor Stereo Type.
Lastly I adored the bits about the hotel done up in various publications and I also really loved the play like structure to the novel. It was fun and entertaining and plenty of quirky and yet really made you think about family too. ...more
Better than the first. It was both a begining and an ending. Also I think I want an Oliver! It was brilliant and introspective and funny, and heartwarBetter than the first. It was both a begining and an ending. Also I think I want an Oliver! It was brilliant and introspective and funny, and heartwarming. Not only did it make me crazy mad jealous of Maureen's ability but I also fell I love with writing and story telling again. Which also leads me to beleive that some things you just improve on with time. ...more
I admit that I had been crushing on this book hard core because the cover is made of sexy.
But I have also recently been bit in thWhy I Read This Book:
I admit that I had been crushing on this book hard core because the cover is made of sexy.
But I have also recently been bit in the ass with wanting a book so bad, and then reading it and having it be not what I wanted it to be and to live up to. So I kind of put off reading this one. Kind of put it off by a lot.
And I had just finished The Duff and wasn’t sure I could read another YA after that because I really really needed to get out of highschool mentality, but forced myself to start this book.
I know for a book I was so excited about I had to force myself to read it because I was scared it was going to disappoint me.
It so totally didn’t!!!!!!! This book is made of bleeping awesome socks!!!! And pink and sparkles and zebra print wrap around dressed (by the way I totally want that outfit!!!)
Made of pink and glitter!!!
I get that Kiersten and Evie are not the same, but man is Kiersten’s blog voice reflective of her writing voice. Made of awesome!!!!
So because of the hole Paranomalcy containment thing I had read about in regards to this book before picking it up, I kind of thought it would be a little Harry Potter esque working in the Ministry as an Auro or something. And then I read a review that compared it to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Gilmore Girls, like two of my most favorite shows ever!!!!
And the book is all of that, but more of its own too. The dialogue not as quirky as Gilmore Girls, but fun. The bag and tag not as gruff as Buffy, but still cool. The Harry Potter, not as much magic, more of the scifi elements running on tech. And all of this was uniquely the novels. It grabbed these ideas and put us with this amazing protag who was both insecure yet remarkably perky and still vulnerable and quirky. I loved Evie. Loved her.
And the love interest. Hello!!! Lend is so freaking cute. I like how opposite they are in nature. And really cannot wait to see more about this guy. And the whole wearing the pimply teenage boy face, I so saw what he was going even if Evie didn’t grasp it right away.
And Roth so freaking criptic. And I loved how she was all paranoid that Roth was trying to steal her soul in the beginning and how in the end that is so not it and kind of incredibly the opposite in so many ways. I just wish he would give Evie some straight answers. But if he did that he would really not be Roth. So onwards with the cryptic.
Evie my dear girl. How I heart her. (by the way I totally was wearing pink PJ’s while reading the book) She’s got the right amount of quirk to her. Her longings for normal feel so real. I love that she watches a show akin to Gossip Girls (even though I don’t watch anything like that), it made her very more real. I almost wanted to snort at this quirk at first, but it really grounded Evie and her desires for normal, and how much she just wanted go experience teenage normalcy. I loved Evies longing for a normal life. The whole dating a normal boy thing (who turns out to be really not so normal), and the whole wanting a normal family (wich Lends family turns out to be really not so normal, but yay all the same).
I loved the does he like me/not like me questioning. Oh my gosh he is holding my hand feeling. This was all handled beautifully.
And I totally laughed out loud at this book. Like more than once. Like if I had to dog ear all the pages I would be ashamed of ever lending out my book in the quality it would be in.
I honestly can’t wait for the next installment in this series. I know it is supposed to be a trilogy. But to be perfectly honest if you wanted to right more about Evie like say for 10 or more books, I would so buy them all as long as they were just as awesome as this book.
Also I should totally mention the Monsters. I loved how she handled her paranormal bits. The vamps and the mermaids specifically really rang true for me in a very unique way.
The one thing I totally did not get was why Evie had so much clearance at the Centre, especially after we find out about how Evie is ranked in the computer system of the Centre. This really makes me question Raquel and her relationship even more, specifically what we do not know about Raquel.
It was light and funny, and serious and grounded. And quirky and unique, and familiar too. It had the right blend of just about everything.
In Paranormalcy Evie was this super quirky, perky, adorable character. We fell in love with her personality. In book two much of this personality is wIn Paranormalcy Evie was this super quirky, perky, adorable character. We fell in love with her personality. In book two much of this personality is well, it’s there but there is also a level of bitterness to it, because Evie it confused and is not quite sure where she fits in.
In book one Evie just wanted to be normal, but now that she’s living the life she thought she wanted, well gym glass just isn’t as fascinating as one might think. She feels lost in her new world and despite the problems with the one she left, she still misses it, the good parts of it anyways.
While I still enjoyed this book, it didn’t have the same spunk as the first one for me. It felt darker because Evie was in a darker place. She didn’t know how to juggle everything and so started hiding things from those she loves. Most of the tension from this book comes from keeping secrets and the conflicting situations that arise when she’s caught.
Lend is still absolutely yummy. Jack is an interesting development. Reth is still confusing.
It was a solid follow up. It covered the ground it needed to. It wasn’t what I expected, but I was definitely happy to be delving back into that world. Also loved the take on Unicorns. ...more
I am not sure what to say about the ending of this series. I really loved this first book, but I felt stretching it into the a trilogy just didn't worI am not sure what to say about the ending of this series. I really loved this first book, but I felt stretching it into the a trilogy just didn't work out so well for me. The ending was garbled. Don't get me wrong. I love Kiersten as an author, but something about how this ended just didn't his the satisfaction button for me. Maybe because it was to final. It wasn't one of those ending where I could imagine future adventures. They all set off to this parallel world that we don't really know much about. ...more
Anna and the French Kiss This book was picked up due to Kirsten White. I had Kirsten pretty cover on my radar of books to read, and was following her bAnna and the French Kiss This book was picked up due to Kirsten White. I had Kirsten pretty cover on my radar of books to read, and was following her blog and being hit in the head with enough mentions of Anna and the French Kiss, I decided this too must be put on my reading radar. This is a contemporary love story. But it is more than that too. It is about being out of your own skin in a new country, being an outsider learning how to fit in. It is also about going home and finding out that you don’t really belong their anymore either. I felt like at the end of this novel, I knew parts of Paris. Like I could see the cobbled sidewalks, and point zero, and the small movie theatres. The love story. Anna has moved from America to Paris to go to her final year of high school. Anna broke up with her boyfriend to come here, but also had this crush on a guy at the movie theatre she worked with, and they kind of had this moment before she left where she thought they might be together. So she’s holding on to that. However, while in Paris she totally is attracted to this guy called Etienne St. Clair. Except he’s in a serious relationship. So she tries to ignore those feelings and think of him as just a friend. But there are these moments. Moments when you know that they so like each other but are holding back. And she keeps denying it, like no, no he doesn’t like me. And she’s like I will lie to myself and pretend that I don’t like him too. And when she realizes she is madly in love, it is a wonderful scene. Like it felt like I was watching a movie unfold. Also loved that Anna wanted to be a movie reviewer and that Etienne was totally in to history. I loved these character quirks. It helped to flesh them out and make them more real, more human, each with their own interests. Individuals. This story isn’t just about two people in Paris falling in love. It was about two people in Paris trying to not fall in love but failing at it. But they were also people, and not just characters to manipulate in a story. They were uniquely themselves. And therefore two people I could really root for. I also may have cried a little when on her birthday he bolts on her after they are practically having sex on the dance floor, because he’s been busted by his girlfriend’s roommate. That is the moment where he should have come clean and been with Anna, because you know where that is going. But he doesn’t. And I understand why not. I get the hole mother subplot and how that would effect you holding on to something even if it wasn’t good for you any more because it is easier than letting go when you don’t have the strength to deal with that extra drama. And I understand Anna not being forceful during that time, and going for the friends thing because that is what he needs at that time. BUT DUDE, as the reader, I just about threw a hissy fit having to wait it out further. And finally finally, when things do work out. Man is that one HOT scene. LOVE IT!!! Just saying. I read this book over a weekend, and when I was done I was seriously tempted to start back on page one again. I just wasn’t ready for the story to end. This book was fun, quick, beautiful, and smart. I fell in love with the characters, and with Paris. I also gave the book to my mom to read immediately. 9/10 ...more
I have been waiting for what feels like forever for this book. For various reasons the book as been delayed, and I am trying very hard to be understanI have been waiting for what feels like forever for this book. For various reasons the book as been delayed, and I am trying very hard to be understanding of that because I know first had how impossible mental health can be and how complicated and how it can make life harder. However, at the same time I have pushed through my issues, picked myself up and pushed onwards. So, I wonder am I stronger, or are they weaker, or are no two situations alike?
Okay, so that has very little to do with the book, so please go on and ignore the top bit.
I came home from vacation and I read the sample first bit on Amazon, and then I was determined to out and buy the book like RIGHT now, even though I was completely exhausted. But then for some weird reason, it had released as an E-Book before it released in print. So I got mine as an E-book, which feels weird for my collectors habits, and I am going to have to rectify that at Christmas by putting it on my wish list. Never mind that they changed the style of the covers. Ugh.
So the book, I read it in like a day. Seriously. It was quick. I had the kindle app on both my ipad and my iphone, so I read it everywhere! And I don’t know if it is because it was on e-book or because I read it so fast but I just kept feeling like I was waiting for the story to actually start.
So we have Isla, whose name is pronounced like Island without the nd. Yeah try retraining your brain around that one. And she had had a crush on Josh FOREVER. And they both home back in New York. So they run into each other after she has had her wisdom teeth out, and she’s loopy so actually has the courage to talk to him, and then she goes back to the cafe with her best friend, who is a boy, the next night hopping to see him again, and nothing. Then we mope.
Then we get to school, in the fall, and there is sparks. And then there is a misunderstanding about her best friend being a boy, because Josh totally thinks they are a thing, then decides that no matter what he wants her in his life, so even if it is as only friends, and he says this, and then she’s all like wow, no we are not dating, and then they Josh and Isla proceed to make kissy faces.
Then they are madly hopelessly in love. Escape for a romantic weekend. Get caught. Are split up by the powers that be. Enter our darkest night at the 50% mark of the story. It felt weird. Like the passing was off. Like we skipped the falling in love part and went straight to the being in love part.
And Isla…. She was the nothing girl. Every other story was filled with characters with passion and drive, and she was the I don’t know what I want to do with my life girl. Even at the end, it was a I will go here and explore my options, but she was still a vacant canvas. And we are told that those are the best kind because they are filled with possibility, but Isla just kept striking me as the girl who was to terrified to even try.
And we get a few scenes at the end where she takes chances, or rather we are told she is taking chances, but they feel so minute. So small. She has this paralysis, this fear of making the wrong decision, that she just fails to make any decision. She works so hard at being the best, but why? I just feel that she was a week character. I guess books have to have that too, but mostly I just felt disappointed in her. I wanted more for her. I wanted her to want more for her.
At the end we get to have the Gangs all here moment. Etienne proposes to Anna. And am I supposed to be excited for this? I think I was happier imagining my own ever after for them. Duh, they would be together forever, but maybe wait. Maybe establish yourselves? He got his first job ever to pay for her ring at a movie theatre. He used his starter job for a ring? Is it wrong that I think it sends the wrong message to girls? To think that a guy should be so wrapped up in you that everything he does is about you? That is what that moment felt like. Marriage is not happily ever after, and I felt like that was the message I was getting. The Disney ending. Marriage is a whole new beginning.
Maybe I am too hard on third books. Maybe it is because the author is giving me their version of the ending, and I like mine better, where I get to imagine it out. I really liked the end of the Shiver series because we where given just enough. The immediate problem was solved. The potential other problems had potential other solutions arranged for them. And our two MC’s where given just enough of a hint of a happily ever after that we could imagine where they went from there. I like those types of endings. I am a writer, and I like to build it from there own my own. Take the life of the characters and let them be in my own mind. The curse of a writer I suppose.
Absolutely go read this book if you are a fan of Stephanie Perkins. By all means, I will not stand in your way. Perhaps you will love the things about it that I did not. Perhaps you will see it in a different light. Perhaps you will not be so apprehensive about the curse of the writer as a reader. Perhaps you are only a reader. Go. Enjoy. ...more
The book started off cold and dirty. Like a guild rat on the street. Precisely who the main characters was. Short little scenes from various characterThe book started off cold and dirty. Like a guild rat on the street. Precisely who the main characters was. Short little scenes from various characters, little climaxes ending on cliffhangers and then the next scene. A set up for a world and the characters within it. Focused, and yet not. It meandered and there was a hint to the point of where things were going, but finally I reached a scene were Weeks had just upped the anti by 1000% and it felt like I was reading a runaway train. It was dark before and hinted at the shadows. And I was being taken for a rollercoaster ride of a lifetime through the pits of hell.
Seriously though. Weeks sets things up, by giving us a guild rat who is training to be more than an assassin, he is training to be a wetboy (sorry that still makes me giggle..wetboy). A wetboy is an assassin with an edge, he has magic. Except while Azoth has the ability for magic he can’t reach out and use it. The link isn’t there. And me and my traditional fantasy thinking mind assume that he is giving us the key, the impervious character with the flaw who will overcome great odds and get us through all off hell without a scratch. But Brent knows what he is doing. He gives us more than just scratches. He breaks bones.
The bad guys finally get to the city, as had been foreshadowed, but of course the monarch wasn’t prepared as the government is in shambles. And it is absolute mayhem. And I was left gulping, screaming NOOOOO!!!!! They can’t die.
Weeks really does an amazing job of finishing up his book. He lets the mayhem rein and for that I applaud him. It takes a lot to put your prized possession into the fire and let them burn. He leaves us with nothing but shreds, and perhaps a little hope. But that hope is only for escape with no chance of redemption.
These books were garnered through the library, and unfortunately I only read the first one before they became overdo and needed to be returned as someone else wanted them. Luckily I got the book box set for Christmas....more