Isla and the Happily Ever After

In the last installment of her trilogy, Stephanie Perkins takes her readers back to Paris and SOAP. Here we meet Isla, the shy, smart girl who's had a crush on Josh for like, ever. He's cool and funny and a very talented artist, but Isla has never had the courage to really talk to him. Until one night in June, the summer before their last year of high school, when they stumble upon each other in a café. She might be a little high on the drugs gotten after removing her wisdom teeth, but they share a few hours together that Isla cherishes through the rest of summer. Though she's sure nothing will change between them, coming back to school only brings Isla and Josh closer. They start dating and Isla is over the moon. She's never wanted anything more than this. But she soon learns the hard way that there's more to a story, than just the happily ever after.

It is not my first time reading Isla and the Happily Ever After, nor, I'm sure, is it the last. It is, however, the last book in Perkins little trilogy (Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door preceding it). The lives of these three girls are beautifully woven together, yet they're all so very different. It was clear for me early on that Isla would be my favorite. She and Josh are perfect for each other and I loved how they fought to be together and faced their biggest insecurities to grow as human beings and take their relationship to the next level. It’s a book about figuring out who you are as much it is about being in love. A lot of what Isla thought and felt are things I think and feel as well, and maybe that’s why this is my favorite out of the three.

I know this is a book that I will reread many times, because it is very mature in the way both main character acts (well, for the most part). What I’m trying to say is that this is a novel about two eighteen year olds in love who still needs to face many responsibilities. Isla in particular is very bright and have a lot of good things to say, but so do Josh and even though I know the words they say aren’t said to me, I still take them to my heart. I see myself so much in this book and I adore Perkins writing, how powerful the story is at times, but also how light and fun some parts are. I love her characters, so full of life that you almost think them real. This is a great read and I recommend it strongly.


Trial by Fire

I’m sure there are few things better than waiting months to read a certain book, just to get it, to finally hold it in your hands and then sit down and read it. And come to the conclusion that it was even better than expected, better than you hoped, better than you dreamed it would be. Yeah. I’m sure there are few things better than that.

Lily Proctor is attending high school and she has a really hard time. Not because it’s high school, but because she’s she. All her life, Lily has been sick thanks to her allergies. She’s practically always sick. But she goes to school with her best friend Tristan, a guy every girl seem to be in love with and Lily is not an exception. But lately she’s started to wonder if maybe he returns her feelings. Maybe he can stop dating a string of girls and start a relationship with her, his oldest friend. Tristan has always stood by Lily, through her family problems and all that her sickness brings to the table. Surely a relationship between the two wouldn’t be impossible.

But after attending her first high school party, Lily realizes that Tristan will never change. She’s in the middle of wondering what her life will be like now that he’s not in it anymore when a voice in her head asks her if she want to leave it all. Lily, thinking she’s going crazy like her mother, says yes. Before she knows it she’s been transferred through time and space, to an alternate universe so unlike her own. Monstrous creatures’ raid outside the city gates but the insides isn’t much better, because that’s where all the witches are. The most powerful one of all is Lillian, Lily’s other self, and she’s the very reason Lily is there. And that’s when the real story begins.

I had high hopes for this one. Very high. It seemed to be great even when I first heard of it, months ago, but reading it… Trial by Fire is a masterpiece. The world Josephine Angelini has created, both the Salem Lily comes from and, especially, New Salem, is magnificent. I’ve read few books with a setting as well created as in this novel. You could smell the fire, the smoke, feel the sun, taste the food. The world which Angelini throws her readers into is so real. It’s everything I look for when it comes to world building. Absolutely brilliant.

Besides the world building, then? Well, we have Lily, a sick girl in her last year of high school who’ve always had a crush on her best friend and spends a lot of time in bed or at the hospital. But when she comes to New Salem, she changes. What’s always made her different and weak in her world makes her strong here. She lives, she thrives, in a way she’s never done before. She’s strong and stubborn, refuses to give up and always tries her hardest. She’s a real inspiration. At her side is Rowan, a young man who helps her survive in this new and very different world, and who also teaches her about magic. He is equally strong and stubborn and it’s a delight to read every time they clash in a battle of will.

Other characters is Tristan, Lily’s best friend who appears in both universes, as well as Caleb, a friend of Rowan and later Lily. Juliet, Lily’s sister who also appears in both universes and isn’t quite different. And, of course, Lily’s other self, Lillian. She is the villain, the cruel dictator over New Salem who very clearly is plotting something, but it’s hard to figure out exactly what.

And right there is another thing that I absolutely loved with this novel. You know from the beginning that Lily will end up in an alternate universe, but after that it was pretty much blank. I had a lot of theories, for all the questions that popped up along the way, but I’m please to say that nothing unfolded like I thought it would. I usually know what will happen in the book, because I can follow the authors’ line of thoughts. That can be fun sometimes, but for the most part it’s just boring. So it was wonderful to not know. And even the things I kind of figured out didn’t really unfold like I’d thought. Sometimes, in books, the questions gets so big that the answer doesn’t live up to the expectations. Here, it surely did. Every question had an answer that was more than enough to settle my curiosity. Except some questions that wasn’t answered at all. I very much look forward to the sequel!

There was one part of the novel, though, were I just got stuck. It felt thick and on the brink of boring. I didn’t really feel like sitting down to read it. I’m not sure if it was just a heavy part of the book itself, or if it was just me. But when I got thorough that I literally couldn’t stop. I just kept reading until there was nothing more to read and then I got sad because I realized that the second part won’t come out until September. So I guess I just have to sit back, roll my thumbs and wait for September and hope that the second installment is as good as the first one. I have every reason to believe that it will.

Best of 2014

Legend trilogy

Los Angeles, California, Republic of America. Two fifteen year olds paths are crossed in an unexpected way. June is the Republic’s prodigy fit a military future ahead of her. Day is a criminal living on the streets fighting against all things the Republic and its military. When Day murders June’s older brother, she takes it on herself to hunt him down and kill him. But it doesn’t take June very long to realize that there are a lot of secrets being kept from her and trusting the Republic might not be the best thing to do, after all.

Cinder, Scarlet and Cress (Book one, two and three in the Lunar chronicles)

A funny, charming and witty new version on fairytale classics (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel), these three books intertwine with each other in the search for the cure to the plague, the long-lost Lunar Princess, a grandmother, a criminal escaped from prison and, of course, a body for Iko. The three girls’ lives wrap around each other and they have to work together to save Earth from the evil Lunar Queen.

Anna, Lola and Isla

Three books, three girls, three love stories. Anna and the French Kiss; the girl going to boarding school in Paris, falling in love with one of her new friends and all that comes with guiding around that. And the fact that he already has a girlfriend. Lola and the Boy Next Door; the eccentric girl who’ve always had a crush on the boy next door – until he moves away and breaks her heart. But now he’s back and he’s very hard to hid away from. Isla and the Happily Ever After; after having a three year long crush, Isla finally reaches past her shyness to confront the guy she can’t let go of, only to find that he feels the same way. But the happily ever after doesn’t come as magically as she’d hoped.

Across the Universe trilogy

Amy Martin leaves Earth with her parents frozen and neatly tucked away in a glass box onboard the spaceship Godspeed. They’re leaving for a whole new world, a planet that will save Earth. Amy, not wanting her parents to leave without her, follows them on the three hundred year long trip across the universe, only to wake up too early, almost drowning in her glass box. Saved out of that, Amy learns that she is onboard Godspeed and that they still have many years of travel left. Being unable to be refrozen, Amy have to learn to live on the spaceship with the strange crew, among them Elder. She resent being stuck on the ship but soon figures out that there are more than one thing not quite right onboard and, setting out on to solve the mystery, Amy learns a world changing truth which only leads to more mysteries and more lies.

The Gentleman Bastard sequence (book one, two and three)

Among the Right People in Camorr’s underworld lives Locke Lamora and his tightknit band of thieves. Working from the temple of Perelandro, they create wicked scheme after wicked scheme to take money from the rich. Unlike Robin Hood they don’t give it to the poor but instead keep it in the glass burrow until they know what to do with it all. But before they can figure that out they’re pulled into a war between the Capa and all the thieves of Camorr, and the Grey King. The gang needs to fight back but there are forces much stronger than them on the other side, hitting the temple hard. At first it was about going back to their old lives of scheming and stealing money, but soon it’s down to survival in a room that keep closing in on all sides.

The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves (book one and two of the Raven Cycle)

The only non-seer who sees a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve is either because you’re his true love or you killed him. And Blue, who lives in a house filled to the brim with psychics, have always been told that she will cause her true love his death. So she isn’t very thrilled when she sees the spirit of a young man on St. Mark’s Eve. It doesn’t take long for her meeting him in real life. His name is Gansey and is one of the Raven Boys. Blue has always tried to stay away from them since they’re all just trouble, but before she really knows what’s happened, she’s deeply involved in Gansey’s frantic search for an ancient legend, a Welsh king who vanished nearly thousand years ago. Thinking she can help him to live by keeping an eye on him, Blue sticks around, but her life and the life of Gansey and his three best friends intertwine and before she knows it, Blue can’t imagine not being without her Raven Boys. But there’s still so much she doesn’t know about them. Or about herself.

A Thousand Pieces of you (book one of the Firebird trilogy)

Marguerite’s parents are scientists and they have created a device which allows you to jump into parallel universes. It’s their life’s work and they’ve just gotten their first device, the Firebird, to work properly. That’s when one of their research assistants kills Marguerite’s father, steals the Firebird and disappears into another universe. Marguerite does the only thing she can think of; she uses a prototype to follow him and start her search around dimensions to catch and kill him for what he did. But on her travels through different lives, Marguerite realizes that this doesn’t just start and end with the murder of her father. It is much bigger than that. So big that she perhaps nothing will be the same every again.

Keturah and Lord Death

Keturah sees the great hart not far from her cottage and follows it into the woods. In there she gets lost and wanders around, simultaneously trying to find her way out and waiting to die. After days a man appears, a man that is Lord Death. Keturah doesn’t want to go with him and sticks a bargain. If she can find her one true love in three days, he’ll spare her life. But finding the one man you love in just three days appears to be much harder than she’d hoped and Keturah is slowly wondering if she will have to go with Lord Death anyway. Until one surprising solution appears.

Howl’s moving castle

Being the oldest of three sister, Sophie Hatter has always known her destiny in life. To take over the family hat shop. The younger sisters are sent away to learn a job and find a husband while Sophie has to help in the shop. Until one day, when the Witch of the Waste comes in and sets a curse on Sophie, turning her from a young woman to an old lady. Sophie’s only hope in getting back to her own age is to walk up to the moving castle and ask Wizard Howl to take the curse away. But rumor has it that Howl eats young women’s hearts and store their souls in his castle, which is almost enough for Sophie to accept her old body. Almost.

My life next door är egentligen inte med på listan, den råkade bara hamna på en utav bilderna och jag, för lat för att ta nya, laddade upp den ändå (men känns den intressant finns ju recensionen i arkivet). Bare with me, children. Until next year.