September 22, 2014

Book Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After

At First Sight: Ever since their first year at the American school in Paris, Isla has had a crush on Josh, but they never got much of a chance to talk or hang out as she was the quiet sort and he quickly fell into the cool crowd with kids that were in the grade above them.

Still, Isla kept track of him and knows what an amazing artist he is, and that he lived in New York (when not in Paris) same as her, but it was still a shock to run into him at a café near her house and not only because she was pretty high on some pain meds she had taken after a visit to the dentist.

Their unusual encounter, however, started to shift things between them, when they ran into each other again at school a few weeks later. Soon they were both running around Paris falling in love.

But they still had plenty to deal with, like Josh's father's political career that threatens to keep them apart (as his parents think he should date a 'certain' kind of girl if at all), and Isla's indecision about where to go to school the following year, and Josh's constant troubles with the school's administration.

Second Glance: I was never one of those people who went nuts over Stephanie Perkins' books, I grew to like Anna, I hated Lola, and I was half convinced that (Given the many delays) there was nothing Ms. Perkins could do to make Isla to make up for it.

But I think I was wrong. Isla and the Happily Ever After must be my favorite book by Ms. Perkins so far and I found it thoroughly delightful. I liked Isla a lot, from the start. She's awkward and shy and most of her socializing came in the form of her best friend Kurt who struggles with social situations even more than her. She's really good at school though and enjoys reading books about adventures -though she doesn't have many herself.

Josh was interesting too, he made many mistakes but was usually up to fixing them soon after, he tried for what he wanted and I found that likable. And he and Isla just worked together, they had the chemistry and the connection despite their many differences.

I also found Isla's uncertainty about her future very realistic and easy to connect with. I'm one of those people who was never sure what to study, and I found her fear about it very real. I liked her friendship with Kurt, and the fact that they really were just friends. I even liked that she was very open about sex and guys even if she was otherwise shy (she explained it beautifully).

I did have a few qualms, while the book felt true to what a couple of teenagers would do and think, there were some parts that were just too much, or that it felt like a couple of smart kids should have had an easier time figure out (mostly it had to do with their communication issues in the second half of the book). 

Bottom Line: Like I said, I really enjoyed Isla and the Happily Ever After, I even stayed up all night finishing it up. I enjoyed so much spending time with them, even when they screwed up, and I liked the cameos from past characters, those were fun and thankfully didn't overpower the story. 
starstarstarstar
Alex

September 12, 2014

Book Tag: The Seven Sins



Hello everyone!!!

So... a few days ago Aylee @ Recovering Potter Addict tagged me to do this Bookish Tag (created by BookishlyMalyza), so here we go.


1. Greed - What's your most expensive book? What's your most inexpensive book?
I believe the most expensive book I've ever gotten was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which cost me roughly 400 to 450 pesos when it first came out (about forty dollars). But I so not regret it because it was so awesome.

Another really expensive book I got is the Aussie edition of The Piper's Son, if I recall correctly that cost me about 24 dollars. Again, no regrets!

As for my most inexpensive book: A two dollar edition of Persuasion, it even has a decent cover which is read with the cheap editions! SO yay! I also used to jump on all sort of bargain price deals in Amazon, so I scored quite a few hardbacks for three or four dollars (like my Most Excellent Year, Fat Cat and The Tea Rose).


2. Wrath - What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?
I guess Ally Carter? I don't like a lot of the things and attitudes she has on twitter, and I used to love her Gallagher Girls books a lot but then ending of the series wasn't good and I never liked her Heist Society books. So I don't have any warm fuzzy feelings toward her and I don't see myself reading her books. 

I try not to read books by authors I feel antipathy for because I know it will affect the way I feel about the book. 


3. Gluttony- What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?
I'm actually a big re-reader, it does my brain good to re-read something I loved in the past, it just relaxes me. So there are some books I re-read at least once a year: Every other way I re-read The Wallflower Series and the Hathaway Series by Lisa Kleypas, and I sneak in Dreaming of You (my gold standard when it comes to Romance Novels) and Smooth Talking Stranger, also by Kleypas. Julie Garwood's Saving Grace (lovely book). 

And I try to re-read the Mediator or the 1-800 series  every other year as well. 

And Harry Potter, of course! And Melina Marchetta's books. 


4. Sloth - What book have you neglected reading due to laziness?
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donelly, it was over 550 pages with a tiny, tiny print and I have had it for over 5 years and I'm still on chapter three, page 30-something. Same with The Fellowship of the Ring - never made it pass page 120. I've also never committed to the In Death series by J.D. Robb (Dobb? I dunno), they are over 30 books to date and it's just too darn much.


5. Pride - What book do you talk about in order to sound like an intellectual reader?
 I was fortunate to have some really awesome teachers in prep school so I read a lot there (French and Spanish literature mostly), and I mostly had access to the classics growing up so I read that stuff. As such I wound up reading some fancy stuff like Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky, those types of dudes. So I would probably pick one of those if I absolutely had to.


6. What attributes do you find attractive in male and female characters?
In male characters I'm all for kindness. I love when the male lead is caring and nice and dependable and the heroine can really rely on him. Not to fix her life but to be her rock when she needs one. I don't mind the occasional alpha, but I mostly love some you can really put your trust on.  Think Levi in Fangirl or Marcus in Just Like Heaven. 

Brooding can be sexy I'll admit, but I don't think I could put up with it in the long haul.

In female characters? I like girls who are smart, laugh at themselves and can be vulnerable without being TSTL. I don't mind if they make mistakes as long as the own up to them. I think my favorite type of heroine over all is someone like Suze Simon of the Mediator series or even Alona Dare of the Ghost and the Goth.


7. Envy - Which book would you like to receive as a gift?
Anne of Green Gables!! I haven't been able to back the books so far (the covers I like go in and out of print and the timing hasn't been right) but there is a new edition out and Christmas is coming!! *cough*sister*cough* 

And Ouran High Shool Host Club, *happy sigh*


And now I tag some peeps:

September 8, 2014

This Be Me


Yup! Just about!!

Been crazy getting ready for work but today was the first day of a new term and things should start leveling out this week. Tomorrow I'll do the Seven Deadly Sins BookTag (which the awesome Aylee @Recovering Potter Addict tagged me for), and maybe pretend to write some more reviews. 

Now I'm off for a nap... right here....

....

August 30, 2014

What's Making Me Happy...



1. First of all! Marit Larsen's new song "I don't want to talk about it" - which I don't believe has an oficial video yet, so I can't link to it, but if you go to her site (MaritLarsen.com) you can listen to as it starts playing when the page loads. 

I think it might be my favorite song of hers (and I LOVE most of her songs). The album drops sometime in October (in Norway) and I hope I'll be able to buy the song then since the single is only available in Norway as of now. The video bellow is of a preview she did with radio station in Norway.



2. Last week's Pop Culture Happy Hour (Live from the Bell House, around minute 16:14) is one of the funniest things I've heard in ages!!! 

3. I've accepted the challenge to teach English (as a language) this term at my school, I'll still be teaching Ecology and Geography, but yeah! time to venture into something new. I also got 94/100 points in my performance review for last term. :D highest I've gotten, ever. 

4. My favorite Pirate who is a Penguin (a.k.a. Sandy) has been slapping my hand away from the netgalley- request button lately so I've actually managed to make a little dent on my For Review Pile. 

5. Discovering romance authors Caroline Linden and Theresa Romain, whose books I'm growing to love so very much. 

August 28, 2014

ListManiac: Reboot, Remake, Sequel!!

Here is my list of the shows I would like to see rebooted, remade or with a sequel! To clarify:
Reboot - Complete redesign of the series, altering the status quo of the characters
Remake - Do over of the series, with the same premise and character's histories.

Here we go:

5. Candy Candy - Reboot and Sequel
This is a series that I saw when I was a kid and it's still extremely popular in my country and much of Latin America... and Italy, apparently. It tells the very sad story of a girl named Candy White who gets adopted by a very rich family from Chicago, falls in love twice but both romances end badly (because of REASONS) and she eventually becomes a nurse around the time of the WW1 (and if you trust the Italians, starts 'dating' her quasi-adoptive father - who is only, like, five or six years older than her )

Yep, this is a story where all of that (and more) happens and its AWESOME. The thing is that the quality of the animation is rather poor (the series must be almost 30 years old and it shows) and it ends very abruptly because the author and illustrator started to have problems with each other and with the production company so the anime series (and the novels it's based on) ended in a very infuriating "dot dot dot". I think a reboot would be lovely because it could streamline the story, but I'll settle for a sequel with an actual ending.


4. Ouran High School Host Club - Sequel
OHSHHC suffered from the fact that the manga was still being published (and fair ways off from being done) when the anime series was produced, so they had to find their own ending and took some weird detours from the manga (which ended in a very satisfying way even if it did suffer a weird holding patter in the middle of the story where nothing happened for chapters on end).

But still, the anime ended in a very open way and I honestly thought there would be a second season, particularly because Ouran was and still is wildly popular. But, alas, it's all rumors until now (though I think they did a life action version, I don't know which route it took, manga vs anime). Anyway, I would love to see the story continued and this characters I love so much blissfully happy. Maybe even an Ouran: The College Years series since we didn't see much of that in the manga.


3. Daria - Remake
I had a hard time calling this one because Daria (as produced by MTV) was a very strange animal, the animation wasn't great and the character designs were deliberately simple and drab (production costs and Daria's general state of mind? Who knows?) but the truth remains that it still speaks strongly to people of my generation and I still watch the series religiously whenever MTV airs it. I love Daria, I don't want her updated or rebooted, I don't want her made into a Millennial (that would really piss me off), but I would love to see the animation revamped a bit and maybe a few more stories into how Daria eventually coped with her world.

Because the one thing that always struck me about Daria (and which I notice more an more with every re-watch) is that although Daria is a bit bitter and cynical and cutting in her remarks about her own generation, her friends and herself, this is not a downer series.

There is hope all through out: that one day she'll get along with her parents, because Daria and her polar opposite sister Quinn tell each other the things they need to hear the most when it counts, because Daria stole her best friend's boyfriend, and then broke up with him and still remained friends with both. And hope because, as depressed as she sometime seems, Daria really wants to be happy deep down, she just happens to recognize that high school is not her moment, but that doesn't mean she won't get there.

2. Gilmore Girls - Sequel
No matter what Kool-Aid you are drinking or how OK you are with the ending of the series, if you were a fan of Gilmore Girls, you have to admit that the series ended abruptly. In a hopeful place, sure but, DAMMIT I WANT CLOSURE!!!!

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I want to see my characters be happy, specially when I suffered through that God-Awful season 6 with them!!!!!!!! I wanted to see Luke and Lorelai actually make a go of their lives together, and Rory becoming a kick ass reporter, and maybe get back together with Logan or Jess in the future. Lorelai and Sookie being super successful with their inn. And Paris! There is never enough Paris, sorry.


1. First Shop Coffee Prince - Sequel
This is a Korean Drama (my favorite ever) that tells the story of how an arrogant rich boy is forced to make a success of a small business (the Coffee Prince Coffee shop) on his own without help from his family, and how in the process he falls in love with one of his employees, even though he thinks she's a guy for most of the story (and she even pretends to be his gay lover for a while, just to annoy his grandmother). Both leads were great and had awesome chemistry together and I always expected them to make a second series.

They even hinted heavily at something called "Coffee Princess" in the finale, but then the lead actor had to go do his obligatory military service and I think that cooled off the plans some. He hasn't been making many dramas since his service ended though, and that makes me sad in and of itself. But yeah, I want more of this awesome story.

So that's me! Let me know what do you think and if you got a TV series that you would like to see Remade, Rebooted or with a sequel!! :D