BOOK REVIEW: 13 Little Blue Envelopes – by Maureen Johnson

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Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
(Little Blue Envelopes #1)
Author: Maureen Johnson

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 23rd 2005
Publisher: HarperTeen
Finished reading: December 1st 2016
Pages: 322
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“Sometimes, life leaves you without directions, without guideposts or signs. When this happens, you just have to pick a direction and run like hell.”

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I decided to switch genres a bit and pick up a contemporary romance read. I know these kind of stories normally are not really my thing, but I remember I enjoyed Maureen Johnson‘s short Christmas story in Let It Snow and The Name Of The Star last year and the travel theme sounded great. I have to admit I had my doubts about 13 Little Blue Envelopes, but I can see why contemporary romance fans would love this book. As I already feared, this book fell a little flat for me. Sure, the travel bits are quite interesting and it is without doubt a cute and easy-to-read story, but the whole plot just isn’t believable. I mean, why did her parents let Ginny travel to Europe like that in the first place? The things happening to the main character are not exactly credible either. I’ve had my share of travel experience myself and random things can happen during a trip, but 13 Little Blue Envelopes for me crossed the line. If you are looking for a sappy, fast-paced, easy and entertaining contemporary romance read, this is without doubt a good choice. It’s probably also a perfect summer/beach read if you can forget about the credibility details. That said, I’m not sure I’m going to read the sequel myself.

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After her eccentric aunt died half across the world, Ginny receives a package that will change her life. Inside she finds thirteen little blue envelopes with messages and instructions her aunt wrote before she passed away. In the first one, Ginny finds $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London. It also said she shouldn’t open the other ones until she completed each task, and that she couldn’t have contact with the people back home. Clearly her aunt wants to show Ginny the Europe as she knew it, and Ginny is about to do a whole lot of things she never dreamed to be doing that summer…

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I know, I know, I should have known 13 Little Blue Envelopes wouldn’t be for me. I thought the whole road trip/travel theme would distract from the cheesy romance, but in the end it was the low credibility of the plot that sort of ruined the story for me. Sure, a lot of random things can happen when you travel without a fixed destination, but this story just didn’t convince me. If you are looking for a quick and easy contemporary read and don’t mind the little details, this might still be a good choice though.

WWW Wednesdays #114 – December 7th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m close to finishing Kill The Next One by Federico Axat. The story started out strong, but became a little weird later on… Fingers crossed the last part will make up for it. I’m also a few pages into The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and I’m looking forward to continue this classic later today. Finally, I’m about to start my very first Reading Alley ARC: Tipping Point by Tomas Byrne.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first decided to switch genres a bit and pick up a contemporary romance read. I wasn’t too sure about 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, but I remember I liked her short Christmas story last year and the travel theme sounded great. YA contemporary romance fans will without doubt love this book, but I have to admit it fell a little flat for me. Sure, the travel bits are quite interesting, but the whole plot just isn’t believable. I mean, why did her parents let her travel to Europe like that in the first place? And the things happening to her weren’t all totally believable either. It is fast-paced though and can be entertaining if you forget about the credibility details.
* I picked up Another Day Gone by Eliza Graham afterwards, and I have to admit I had high hopes for this book. Historical fiction, set during various generations, interesting blurb… It had all the right signs, but unfortunately I had a hard time enjoying this story. I couldn’t get a proper feel for the story OR characters and it was all kind of confusing. It took a long while for it to become clear what the story exactly was about, and those plot twists and suspense around the past were actually annoying instead of entertaining. It seems like a well-researched story and it has a lot of potential, but I couldn’t warm up to the actual story. Most people seem to love it though, so this might just be another case of unpopular opinion review.
* I then finally picked up another classic: The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. I was vaguely familiar with the story, but this is the first time I’ve actually read this classic. It took a while to get into the story, but the second half of the story was without doubt very entertaining. I don’t think it’s my favorite classic, but I definitely enjoyed it a lot better than his other story Treasure Island.
* Afterwards, I FINALLY picked up my copy of This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab. People kept telling me I should just read this one and that I would love it, and they were totally right. ADSOM is still my absolute Schwab favorite, but this one came a close second! Brilliant, just brilliant. The prose is just excellent and I love LOVE the worldbuilding. Like in Shades Of Magic, the worldbuilding isn’t all that complicated, but this simplicity just WORKS. The idea of Verity with its three types of monsters is intriguing, and I loved the main characters August and Kate. Both the dynamics between the characters and their development is very well done and I can’t wait to read the sequel next year. V.E. Schwab has definitely proven to be worthy to be in my TOP 10 of all time favorite authors!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’m trying to read more books published before 2000 for a challenge, so I might read Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown next. I also need to read both Netgalley ARCs Walk Into Silence by Susan McBride and From Sand And Ash by Amy Harmon soon…. And my newest TBR jar pick is still Little Women by Louise May Alcott., which I will probably pick up closer to Christmas.

WWW Wednesdays #109 – November 2nd

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m finally continuing with my last TBR jar pick The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and I’m definitely enjoying it a lot better than the first time I tried to start reading it. I’ve also picked up my Netgalley copy of No Excuses Detox by Megan Gilmore, which is turning out to be a really interesting read so far and I can’t wait to start trying out the recipes.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished The Good Sisters by Helen Phifer, which turned out to be such a great and creepy read! Definitely on the top of this year’s Halloween list; if you like a well written story with great descriptions and the right creepy atmosphere (complete with haunted convent), defiintely give this one a go. It’s brilliant!
* I then read The Scholl Case by Anja Reich-Osang, which is a true crime read about the Scholl Case where a former German mayor killed his wife. It wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be, as it focused more on the history of both the mayor and his wife and the murder case was forced into the background. The whole thing read more like a historical fiction story, and I’m not sure to what level this story can actually be called ‘non fiction’. The pace was pretty slow as well…
* I then picked up Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender, mostly because I wanted to read more Halloween related books. And I really enjoyed this one! Fast-paced and just the right dose of creepy; the perfect and entertaining read for the October month. I will definitely be continuing this series soon.
* I also decided to read Sanctum by Madeleine Roux for the same reason. I had completely forgotten how good this series was! Almost no romance, a fast pace, lots of creepy scenes and the photos are a nice touch. I really enjoyed this one and I’ve moved the third book right to the top of my TBR pile as well.
* The last book I finished was Love You To Death by Caroline Mitchell, a Netgalley read that didn’t turn out to be as good as I hoped it would be. I had a hard time getting a proper feel for the story and I wasn’t really convinced by the characters in general… Lucy (killer) had a lot of potential, but Ruby (detective) felt weak as a main character and I didn’t appreciate the romance or love triangle either.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Next up are two of my pending Netgalley ARCs: The Power by Naomi Alderman and Anything For Her by Jack Jordan. I’m especially excited about the first title after I read Claire‘s review not that long ago and I can’t wait to start reading it. I also want to read Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, but I need to reread Six Of Crows first so I might wait a little while longer. And my next TBR jar pick is still A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I’ve heard so many great things about this novel that I can’t wait to finally pick it up!

Friday Finds #58 – October 30th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at A Daily Rhythm and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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