41. Stephanie Perkins – Isla and the Happily Ever After

This coming weekend, I’m leaving to head back to school for my senior year (don’t remind me). Yikes!

Which means, I likely just finished my last book of the summer, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. This is the third in a trilogy, and I’ve previously reviewed both Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door.

Stephanie Perkins - Isla and the Happily Ever After (photo taken by me)
Stephanie Perkins – Isla and the Happily Ever After (photo taken by me)

One of my favorite things about this trilogy is that in the last two books, characters from the previous book(s) show up somehow in the story. I think that’s a really cool way to connect all the stories but also keep them separate stories, since they’re not super intertwined.

In this book, Isla is a senior at the School of Americans in Paris, the same school that Anna attends in the first book. Isla has had a crush on a boy named Josh (one of Anna’s friends) since she was a freshman. At the very start of the book she finally finds the courage to talk to him, since she’s all doped up from getting her wisdom teeth taken out. After this Isla’s crush only intensifies.

The rest of the story (obviously) follows their relationship. It has its ups and downs, of course, and it’s kind of a crazy story, really. If you’ve read the other two books, Isla’s story is more wild than the other two, in my opinion.

This was definitely not my favorite book of the three. I’d say Anna and the French Kiss is probably my favorite.

This book was a little better than okay for me. I didn’t love it but I also didn’t hate it. I liked the story over all and definitely liked the ending, but the story did seem to progress a little too quickly for my taste. It could just be because I read through it kind of fast, but the whole story felt rushed and everything seemed to happen so fast.

I did feel like some of Isla’s thoughts and actions seemed childish, but that might just be a trait used to intentionally make the character more realistic, since she is in high school. As a college senior now (again, eek!) the way she reacts to some things just seems silly to me.

Overall, I did like this book. It’s definitely an easy read so it makes for some good light reading. If you have read the first two in the trilogy and not this one yet, it’s definitely worth your time.

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40. Elizabeth Little – Dear Daughter

Say hello to my 40th book of the year!

That’s right, last night I finished book number 40, Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little. I picked this book up at Costco (and you know how I usually feel about Costco books) so I had never heard of it before I bought it.

Elizabeth Little - Dear Daughter (photo taken by me)
Elizabeth Little – Dear Daughter (photo taken by me)

At the start of the book, a woman in her mid-to-late twenties named Jane Jenkins is released from prison because it turns out the evidence in her case had been tampered with. Jane had been accused of murdering her mother and had been in prison for the past ten years. Before all this happened, Jane’s mother was very rich and Jane herself was in the spotlight as a teenager in LA, so her case was very popular. Jane herself doesn’t remember the whole night her mother died and isn’t sure if she did it or not, but since a lot of people are so sure she’s guilty and want to get revenge, she adopts a disguise as she goes on a mission to discover the truth.

I’m still not sure how I feel about this book. At first, it was kind of had to get into, but once it picked up, I was really into the story. However, it still felt like it took way too long to read and I was kind of bored with it overall. On top of that, I wasn’t a huge fan of the ending. It was a good enough story, but the end just left a lot of things unanswered and it was really abrupt.

I didn’t entirely hate this book, but I also didn’t love it. As I said, it took me a while to get through it, so it doesn’t really make for good light reading. I was interested in the story but I don’t know if that was enough for me. In fact, most of the time when I picked it back up to read it, I couldn’t recall who the characters were when their name was mentioned. I feel like if you can’t tell the characters in a book apart, you can’t like it too much.

So basically, I’m just not sure about this book. Overall, I’d say I’m positive toward it, but just barely.

39. Megan Amram – Science… for Her!

I first heard of Megan Amram a few years ago when I found her Twitter account. I thought she was hilarious, so I followed her. She also happened to be a writer for one of my favorite shows, Parks and Rec. She’s hilarious, and I recommend checking out her tweets, for starters.

Megan Amram - Science... for Her! (photo taken by me)
Megan Amram – Science… for Her! (photo taken by me)

I just finished Science… for Her!, a parody “textbook” that she wrote. It’s written in the form of a women’s magazine to provide women with (incorrect) science information in a way that they can understand. There’s not too much to explain about this book, since it’s not a story, but just a look at the cover will give you a good idea of what it’s like.

This book was hilarious and had me literally laughing out loud more than once. I’d definitely recommend it as a good humor read. In all honesty, it is a bit of a weird book to read, just because of its texbook/magazine style, but it’s seriously funny and worth the time.

The one downside I noticed was that I felt kind of weird reading this book in front of other people, because it does look like a textbook, but it made for some good, funny, light reading before bed.

If you’re at all familiar with Amram, you’ll love this book, and even if you’re not familiar with her, you’ll probably still love it.

38. Molly Wizenberg – A Homemade Life

Ugh. I’m sick. Who gets a cold in the middle of summer?!

Obviously, being sick leaves a lot of time for reading, so I finished up my latest book in just two days.

Molly Wizenberg - A Homemade Life (photo taken by me)
Molly Wizenberg – A Homemade Life (photo taken by me)

The book is A Homemade Life, a memoir by Molly Wizenberg. I’ve had this book laying around for a while, ever since I read Delancey, another memoir of hers about the restaurant she opened with her husband. A Homemade Life came first, and is a memoir of Wizenberg’s life, revolving around food, and she put recipes throughout the book.

I’ve been a little hesitant to read this book. I’m not really sure why, because I loved Delancey. I thought that a book filled with recipes would be weird or boring, but it wasn’t.

Wizenberg has a really cool way of telling stories from her whole life that have food intertwined, so that the recipes following each chapter make perfect sense.

Food obviously plays an important role in her life, so, naturally, it plays an important role in the book. It was a really interesting take on a traditional memoir, and I flew through it.

My only complaint is that most of Wizenberg’s recipes are a little too exotic for my tastes and I probably won’t ever try most of them, although some did sound too good not to try.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and it was fun to have recipes to go along with each of her stories. She has a really fun way of sharing her life based on food dishes, and it’s a good, easy read.

37. Peter Swanson – The Girl With a Clock for a Heart

I have a really serious problem.

Right now, I only have two books in my to be read pile. And no money to buy new ones! What am I gonna do if I run out of books?!

I just ordered two more books, but I was hoping to save those to bring to school at the end of the month (don’t remind me…).

Anyway, I was looking through all the books in my room to see if there were any unread ones I had missed. I found this book that I bought a while ago but wasn’t super excited to read.

I found The Girl With a Clock for a Heart at Costco at the beginning of the summer. I find that when I book up a book at Costco that I haven’t heard of before, it usually doesn’t end well for me. But for some reason, I had gotten this one, and I decided to give it a try.

I”m still not too sure how I felt about it, though.

The main character is a guy named George. When George was in college, he fell in love with a girl who had gotten into some pretty serious trouble (like possibly murdering someone!) and then disappeared from his life.

Peter Swanson - The Girl With a Clock for a Heart (photo taken by me)
Peter Swanson – The Girl With a Clock for a Heart (photo taken by me)

That is, until he randomly sees her at a bar he frequents twenty years later. Liana shows up and asks George for a favor. He can’t help but to say yes, because he’s still kind of in love with her and wants to keep her safe. However, things are never as they seem with Liana.

The book jumps back and forth telling the story of George and Liana’s relationship starting when they were in college and what happens when she reenters his life now.

As I’m sure you can guess, George gets mixed up in some shady stuff and finds himself in danger more than once. Even though she’s betrayed him before, George can’t help but love Liana and try to protect her, but he comes to find he’s been a part of something he didn’t fully understand.

This book surprised me with how much I liked it (since I usually don’t enjoy books I pick up at Costco), but I still wasn’t a huge fan. The story was interesting enough, but had kind of a cliffhanger ending that just left me feeling like it was unfinished. In terms of suspense novels, this one wasn’t too scary but still left me wanting to know what happened next.

It was definitely an easy read, which is why I think it stood out to me compared to other books I buy there, they usually are too boring for me to get into. I flew through this one and it didn’t even feel like I had been reading it that long.

If you think this book sounds interesting, I’d recommend it, because it doesn’t really disappoint. I think the story overall was intriguing, albeit far-fetched, I just wasn’t a huge fan of the ending.

36. Taylor Jenkins Reid – Forever, Interrupted

You guys. I think I’ve found the one.

My new favorite book.

I just finished Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid. And I loved it. Every second of it.

Taylor Jenkins Reid - Forever, Interrupted (photo taken by me)
Taylor Jenkins Reid – Forever, Interrupted (photo taken by me)

The main character of this book is named Elsie. At the start of the book, Elsie is a newlywed. She’s been married to Ben for nine days and they were only dating for six months before that. But they’re madly in love.

Elsie and Ben are sitting on their couch in wedded bliss when she says she’s craving Fruity Pebbles. Ben jumps up to save the day and heads out on his bicycle to get Elsie the cereal she wants. But he never comes home with it.

On his way home, Ben is hit by a truck and killed on impact. Just like that, the man Elsie loves is gone.

She’s soon in the hospital, waiting to see her husband’s body, when his mother, who doesn’t even know Elsie exists, comes in. Elsie has to introduce herself to Susan and explain her relationship with Ben, but Susan wants to hear nothing of it.

The book flashes back and forth in time to tell two stories at once – Elsie and Ben’s love story alongside Elsie and Susan’s healing process.

I loved this book. The whole time. I could hardly put it down (until last night when I forced myself to stop reading just so I could have one more day with it).

The writing style is great, I really came to love the characters and feel like they were people I knew. I loved how Jenkins went back and forth between the two stories. Ben and Elsie’s love story was amazing and romantic, while the story after his death was emotional and moving. If the story had just been about Elsie dealing with her husband’s death, it probably would have been too sad for me to read, but interweaving their relationship makes the book warm your heart.

I honestly feel like this is my new favorite book. It moved me in a way no other book has. It also really made me appreciate the love I have in my life.

For anyone who’s read the book, you’ll find it funny that my copy was a used one bought from a library. But I can totally see myself buying a brand new copy in the future. I’ve heard it said before – you can never have too many copies of your favorite book.

I definitely think I’ll be reading this book again in the future. I absolutely love the story. I also can’t wait to read Jenkins’ other books (and hopefully she writes lots more!).

I would 100% recommend this book to others, it’s an easy read but a great story. The book pulled at my heartstrings the whole time and made me tear up more than once – no easy feat with me.

35. Gayle Forman – Just One Day

I’m going to start off this post by saying that I love this book.

So, I don’t remember when I first heard about this book, but it’s been on my to-read list for a while now. So long, in fact, that I forgot what the story was even about. But lately, I feel like I’ve seen people talking about this book everywhere, and they all had great reviews. So I felt like I had to read it next (it was like fate, which if you read the book, you’ll appreciate ;)).

Gayle Forman - Just One Day (photo taken by me)
Gayle Forman – Just One Day (photo taken by me)

The story is about a girl named Allyson who is on a trip in Europe following her high school graduation. Allyson has always been a “good girl” and has done what she’s expected to do.

On one of the last nights of her trip, she meets a boy who’s appearing in a play, and she and her friend Melanie go to see it. The next morning, Allyson and Melanie are on a train to London, where they’ll stay for a few days before returning home. But on the train, Allyson runs into none other than the boy she had met the night before, Willem.

They talk during the train ride and once they get to the train station in London, Allyson mentions that she’s upset she didn’t have a chance to visit Paris. Naturally, Willem suggests that they take a trip there – for just one day.

It’s totally unlike Allyson to say yes, but something about Willem makes her feel different from her usual, safe self. So she goes.

Now, I thought this book was just going to follow their one day in Paris and be all romantic and have a happily-ever-after ending. Boy, am I glad I was wrong about that. This book is so much more than that.

Towards the end, I was taken on an emotional rollercoaster. I couldn’t figure out if the ending was going to be happy or leave me feeling like something was left out. I think it’s great when a book can affect your emotions like that.

I loved the way the book ended and it left me feeling really happy. I also can’t wait to read the sequel, Just One Year.

The only “complaint” I have about this book is that I wish their had been more resolutions in the relationships with other people in Allyson’s life. There are a couple of people who Allyson has rocky relationship with, and I would have liked to have seen how they turned out. But I understand that those didn’t really fit in with the ending.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend this book to people, it’s so good. It did take me a while to get into it at the beginning, but after that I just couldn’t put it down.