October 16, 2014

Bite-Sized Reviews :: Edition Eight

I realized that I have quite a few books that I've read but not blogged about piling up. So it's past time for another edition of Bite-Sized Reviews! Yay! (I know how excited you are. ;) But enough about me and my giant (actually only four) pile. On to the book reviews!

Isla and the Happily Ever After - As a fan of Ms. Perkins, I'd been anxiously awaiting the delayed publishing of her third novel. And happily devoured it soon after it came out! It was so nice to get back to the French boarding school again, as well as see Josh get his happy ending. Isla and Josh are too cute. Which I totally expected because Ms. Perkins knows her cuteness-factor when it comes to young adults: Anna and Etienne, Lola and Cricket, and now Isla and Josh. I really like Isla the most though. It's interesting to be inside her head and watch as Josh basically sweeps her off her feet and how she handles that. Her insecurities and doubts combined with Josh's reckless tendencies, make their romance filled with ups and downs. But as the title so aptly states, they do get their happily ever after. It's the getting to the ever after that's the fun part! (Also, the appearances of the characters from her other novels are a fun addition. It was lovely to see where those couples are now. Plus we get a pretty swoonworthy moment or two with them! Which is always a plus. :)

In Consequence - As a huge fan of the miniseries North and South based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell, this is actually the first sequel/retelling of the story that I've read. And what fun it is! Events happen just the same until the riot scene, at which point things take a much different route. John and Margaret have way more opportunities to spend time together, setting up several cute and sweet moments between them. Their interactions are almost always fraught with misunderstandings in the original story, and that remains the same here. Although things get cleared up quite a bit quicker and their open communication is a welcome change! I also really enjoyed getting a glimpse of their married life together. Nicholas is as impudent as ever, Mrs. Thornton as stern, Mr. and Mrs. Hale just the same, and really the entire cast of characters are wonderful. If you enjoy retellings of classic stories, I'd recommend this one for a bit of fun.

The Near Witch - I didn't think this sounded like my type of book at all, but I kept hearing such good things about it that my curiosity was piqued. And am I ever glad I picked it up! Ms. Schwab's writing is seriously wonderful! From the very first page, it swept me up and refused to let loose until I reached the end. Resonating with sounds and tastes and feelings, it is wonderfully expressive. While the story seems like a fantasy, at the same time, it really feels more like a historical novel. It's such a curious mix of so many different things. And it does them all well! When I closed the last page, I immediately turned the book over and started reading my favorite parts again. I love it when stories do that for me. I have, without a doubt, become a huge fan of Ms. Schwab's writing and look forward to reading more from her. Highly recommend!!!!

The Great Unexpected - What an unexpected delight! (See what I did there? ;) I found the audiobook at a library sale and snatched it up because Natalie had exclaimed over it (and she has yet to steer me wrong). Believe me when I say that this is an excellent middle grade novel. Ms. Creech takes a vast array of seemingly unconnectable characters and then gives hints little by little (keeping you turning pages or continuing to listen so you can find out what happens next) until there's an invisible thread connecting them all. And the characters are the shining points of the entire story! Naomi and Lizzie, Nula and Joe, Witch Wiggins, Crazy Cora, Mrs. Mudkin, the Ireland ladies, and of course the "infamous" Finn-boy. They are all delightful! This is a fun adventure full of eccentric and quirky characters that you'll love. I think I'll go have another listen. :)


  1. I didn't even know there were retellings of North and South, I definitely need to check that out, also, the great unexpected sounds adorable.

    I liked Isla the best too :D

    1. There are a few, Alex. Not sure how many, but this one was cute. The Great Unexpected was just fun! :)

      I really enjoyed getting to know her! I was surprised how much I liked her. I vaguely remembered her from the other book, but she didn't really stick out in my mind then. Now she definitely does!

  2. I'm definitely eager to read Stephanie's books after all of the awesome reviews I've read. Cannot wait to see what they're all about. Thanks for sharing, Kara. :)

    1. She's a great writer, Rissi. I'll be anxious to know what you think if you ever get the chance to read one of her books. :)

  3. Isla was my favorite out of the trio but I know some people felt that she wasn't "defined" enough as a character or that her relationship felt too insular. I understand, but at the same time they were SO cute and I can't help it, it was my favorite book<333

    I hadn't heard of this N&S retelling! I LOVE N&S, possibly even more than Pride & Prejudice so I'll definitely be on the lookout for this title :D I haven't read anything by Victoria yet but I plan on picking THE ARCHIVED up soon...I have no excuse, since it's on my shelf lol.

    As for Sharon Creech, I love her CHASING REDBIRD. It's such a good story. I also recommend WALK TWO MOONS if you haven't already read it :)

    1. They were adorable, Sandy! I'm totally on your side. With how quick they got together in the beginning I wondered about it, but it wasn't long until I could tell how perfect they were for each other. SO adorable. :)

      I love N&S too! It's SO SO good. The book was cute. Not amazing, but definitely cute. Victoria Schwab is absolutely an author I'll be reading more of! She's amazing.

      I haven't read anything else of Sharon's yet, but I'll be on the lookout for both of those. Thanks! :)


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