To celebrate the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After, I’m joining in on the #IslaIsComing blog tour and taking you on a tour of my own — to the settings of the books. I’ve been blessed to visit each of the major cities our beloved characters visit and thought it’d be fun to share some tips, some pictures, some quotes…enjoy!
“The serpentine river and crumbling cathedrals and sprawling palaces and everything, yes, everything is visible from here.”
― Stephanie Perkins, Isla and the Happily Ever After
Coffee — there’s no better way to people watch than to sit in a Parisian cafe, where the chairs face out to the streets and it’s completely expected for you to stare as crowds go by.
The view of the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe.
Download some Rick Steves, plug your headphones in, and let him take you on a private tour of some of the world’s best museums.
Ghiradelli Chocolate, of course. But you’ve also gotta have an In-N-Out burger, animal style.
The neighborhoods. And, okay, the Full House house. As Lola taught us, SF is full of quirk. Explore that quirk for yourself!
Hike! Okay, so my own hike failed because I’m a flatland city girl and my heels couldn’t handle the incline. But still! Next time! So here’s a view from Coit Tower instead.
Pizza. Pizzapizzapizzapizza. Pizza so big you have to fold it in half to fit it in your mouth.
Everything. Drinks on a rooftop — Manhattan or the boroughs — is always a good way to take in the view.
See a Broadway show. Go shopping. Traipse around Central Park. Visit some museums. Pick an neighborhood and explore the shops.
Haha! More like what to DRINK! Sangria, sangria, sangria.
Sagrada Família, a gorgeous Roman Catholic church designed by Gaudí. Actually, the more Gaudí you see in Barcelona, the better.
Wander. Are you starting to see a pattern here?
My favorite thing to do when I travel is to explore. Immerse yourself in the city and let yourself get lost. That’s why I love these books so much — Stephanie Perkins has a beautiful way of immersing us in her settings. Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff.
(Me, lost in Paris.)
Happy wandering, happy reading.
In the scale of life’s dramas, it’s nothing. But, let’s be honest: It can be damn hard to run a blog.
There are technical glitches and jealousy (no matter how silly that is) and stats to watch and overcommitments and books you just plain hate and creativity blocks and paranoia that zero comments means no one likes you. It can feel like you’re putting a piece of yourself out there for the world to see…but no one is noticing.
But today, in reflecting on four years of AnnaReads.com, I’m making a commitment to forget all of that and focus on my overwhelming gratitude for what this journey has brought me.
There’s a quote I think about often: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” My battles my be small, but your kindness has a huge impact on them. I hope you know how much every comment, tweet, email and follow brightens up my days.
Thank you for four years of books, friendship and support. It’s staggering the people, joy, amazement and opportunity this silly little book blog has brought into my life. To everyone reading this: Thank you.
Um, what didn’t I do over the past two weeks? They’ve been super busy, especially in terms of housework. We rewired our dining room and put up this cool new chandelier:
That’s me enjoying a beer with my friend Jake afterward — let’s be honest, he did most of the hard labor.
And we also got this CRAZY big new couch.
And re-landscaped our front yard. Soooo yeah. LOTS OF WORK.
Frozen’ Director Jennifer Lee to Adapt ‘A Wrinkle in Time’
In a Balm of Space and Time, Healing
Just when you think you can’t love Gayle Forman any more…her If I Stay origin story.
50 Signs You’re Addicted to Reading
True. So, so true.
New Adult: A Book Category For Twentysomethings by Twentysomethings
I thought this article was a really interesting look at NA — well worth the read.
OK, maybe I went a little crazy at my library’s book sale. Books were 50 cents! HOW COULD I NOT? It’s sort of a big deal — the line to get in was all the way down the block!
Here’s my YA stash:
I’ve actually read most of these but never owned my own copies till now! Oh! And Sixteen a compilation of stories that includes A JESSICA DARLING STORY I NEVER KNEW EXISTED. And I called myself a fan! Sigh!
All of the Harry Potter books
All-American Girl by Meg Cabot (LOVE)
Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly
Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Losing It by Cora Carmack
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen
Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Then, Tara and I went a little loco and bought up a BUNCH of romance novels. I mean, at 50 cents…why not?!
On to the real stuff…
MCCAFFERTY! JESSICA DARLING! JAMIE! I LOVE YOU!
For my Kindle (thank you to St. Martin’s Griffin):
In the mail:
Thank you to Knopf Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, Algonquin Young Readers and Chicken House!
The big one: Last week I got an early copy of Isla & the Happily Ever After from a VERY generous book friend. So I read and devoured that immediately. (read my review)
I also read:
The Fever by Megan Abbott (book club pick!)
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (read my review)
Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (read my review)
Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley (enjoyed, but more to come on that later)
Losing It by Cora Carmack (didn’t love it as much as I wanted to — so it goes with me & NA)
Also worth noting: I did the math, and I am reading books at a rate of half a book per day so far this year. GOODNESS.
I got this for my car:
And this case for my phone to highlight my Pride & Prejudice love:
I think the irony of who is saying the highlighted quote is hilarious…I really hope the people who made thing did it in a tongue-in-cheek way vs. ignorant. I think it’s funny to REAL P&P fans.
Hope your week went well. TGIF!
Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss #3)
By Stephanie Perkins
Publication date: Aug. 14, 2014
Dutton, 339 pages
Source: Borrowed the galley from a lovely book friend
From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren’t always forever.
Their romantic journey is skillfully intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and Étienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.
— Goodreads.com description
AHHH I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS.
GOOD feelings (albeit complex) for those of you who were concerned. I’m happy to report that Isla and the Happily Ever After is well worth our wait for it.
Because I fail at organizing my thoughts, here they are at random:
- Stephanie Perkins is hilarious
- I loved Kurt
- I will never ever ever send my kids to boarding school
- This book is more ADULT than I remember the other being and yes I mean that in the ALL CAPS way
- Barcelona is described perfectly; Stephanie Perkins so wonderfully captures setting in her stories
- Josh cries a lot (not judging, just observing)
- The romance is really overwrought, but um, that’s sort of the point; I mean, look at the title of the book
- There were about 100 things about the book and the romance specifically that, as I said above, would have driven me INSANE were it not so damn well done
- Most of this was a big ole case of Old Lady Syndrome, especially when Etienne and Anna came back into the picture
- But again, it was like “This should be bothering me but it ISN’T so maybe Stephanie Perkins is a sorcerer because I don’t know what else explains it”
- PS: I don’t remember Cricket and Lola being so OUT THERE; I still love them best
- Even though I definitely don’t love some of her other characters, Stephanie is so fantastic at making me “get” them — which I think it more important than loving them
Wow. This was probably a very un-useful review if you couldn’t follow my train of thought. To sum up: Did I love every little thing? No. Did I love the sum of those parts? Absolutely. If you wanted to you could pick it apart, but the writing is so superb and the tone so perfect that it overwhelms anything else. You guys will not be disappointed.
Let’s Get Lost
By Adi Alsaid
Publication date: July 29, 2014
Harlequin Teen, 352 pages
Source: A gift from my friend DJ! Thank you, sir!
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.
Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.
There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.
— Goodreads.com description
I love road trip books. I love love love them.
And Let’s Get Lost was a unique one — instead of just following Leila on her road trip to see the Northern Lights, the story follows four people she meets and whose lives she touches along the way.
It’s quite lovely how it shows the impact you can have on someone’s life if you are as open-minded and as giving of your time as Leila. And I love her spirit — she’s a force, that girl!
But we didn’t get to know her at all until the very end, which made her too manicpixiedreamgirl for my tastes. I am just not into that. And then when we did get to know her…her story was so far-fetched and underdeveloped that it didn’t sit well with me.
I was definitely a fan of the spirit of this book and the creativity in its telling, but my lack of connection to Leila meant I didn’t love love love it.