27 September 2012

Book Reviews: 13 Little Blue Envelopes & The Last Little Blue Envelope

2¢ worth: I don't smoke. These books have nothing to do with smoking. But I feel like I smoked them because I just about inhaled them. From the moment I opened book one (13 Little Blue Envelopes) and read the first letter that kicks off Ginny's journey through Europe, I was hooked. I had to know. I had to know where she went, what she would find, and what happened to her vibrant 35 year-old aunt. Book one moves really fast, bouncing from city to city and letter to letter.  It's quick but not choppy. Ginny is on a mission and it was almost impossible for me to put down. Book two (The Last Little Blue Envelope) was more about closure. More about Ginny going back (more mature and sure of herself this time) to finish things that she had started and get answers. Would I recommend these? Absolutely. Try book one when you need something fast and fun. Then if you're like me and don't want to fill in the blanks on your own, grab book two. 4 stars

Word to the wise: Book one was initially meant to stand alone so it very well can if you don't wish to go on. Book two needs book one.


Whippersnappers: While there is no sex or foul language, there is some minor mentions to sexuality, sexual orientation, nudity, drugs, and death. There was also one dicey scene in book one where I held my breath until Ginny was out safely.


Wrapping: The girl on the covers is just too put together and cool for me. She's pretty but doesn't suit my mental image of the shy slightly nerdy Ginny. That was (especially in book one) part of her charm.


Wondering: Ginny gets to visit some pretty amazing places. So I'm wondering, what city is #1 on your list of places to see? 

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

84 comments :

  1. These are very popular in my library, they are never in. Good to know they are as good as they look!

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  2. these are cute stories. I only read #2 :) totally agree with you on the cover girl , not who I pictured too.

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    1. Oh no! You missed the best stuff ;)

      SO glad I'm not the only one.

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  3. LOVED these books! I had to wait for the second one, but it was so worth it. It gave me severe wanderlust. :)

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  4. I really enjoyed these books as well! I have both of them in my classroom library and they are very popular. Great review and I agree about the girl on the cover- she's too perfect! I have so major hair envy going on with that girl on the cover! Great review!

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    1. Yes! Too perfect.

      Ha! She does have some awesome hair.

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  5. I absolutely agree. Ginny did not look like that for me either. I had a very different picture of her in my head. I haven't read the second one yet. I should do that as I did enjoy the first.

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    1. Me too!
      :)
      Was her hair lighter in your head too?

      You so should sometime.
      It's fun :)

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  6. Too many cities to name them all... New York, Paris, London, Edinburgh, Richmond, Chicago... and on, and on.

    I haven't ever read this series, but I think I'm going to have to now :)

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    1. Me too!!!
      But which would you pick right now if you could only chose one?
      :)

      You should.
      It's light.

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  7. I saw these somewhere else also but GOSH, they sound SO cute. MUST read now. :-D

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  8. Awesome review, I'm almost sure I have the first one on my shelf, I need to read it!

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  9. I don't really read contemporary that much but my friend described the book to me. It sounds cute. I would love to go to Edinborough or anywhere in the UK, even if I've been there already.

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    1. Oh me too. My husband went when he was a chap in college and tells me it's a pretty amazing city. :)

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  10. These sound like good books to read during a marathon. Quick and interesting. I'll have to see if I can find them on sale somewhere. The heroine sounds charming!

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    1. Yes! Good call! I like that idea. You're so clever.

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  11. I enjoyed these books, but it had been so long in between when I read the original and the follow-up that I think I forgot most of the details. So, I would say that marathoning them seems to be a better choice than waiting :)

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  12. I've been wanting to read these for a while. Top city that I want to visit that I've never been to before is probably San Francisco. Top city I'd like to return to is Paris.

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    1. O fun! I hear it's a pretty awesome town. I'm intrigued by the extreme slopes they always show in the movies.

      Oooooo Paris!
      How I dream of Paris.

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  13. I read my first Maureen Johnson book last fall and LOVED her storytelling (as I knew I would, from following her on twitter), and I have both of these books sitting on the shelf. Your review may be just the motivation I need to get them READ, goshdarnit! *grin* Thanks for sharing your reading experience with us!

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    1. Oooo which one did you try last fall?

      YAY!
      I'm reigniting folks.

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  14. Oh I'm excited because I actually have these! I'll have to give them a try asap.

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  15. sounds like a FUN read! I'mm up for out! and what the heck with the smoking on the covers?

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    1. gah, sticky fingers, should be: sounds like a FUN read! I'm up for it!

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    2. No prob :) It is fun!

      I thought of calling this review: I smoked these ;)

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  16. I want to read these now. Sigh over how big the TBR seems to be getting again. Great review!

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    1. You need this book.
      It's light and fun!
      If I had a physical copy I would SO send it to you.

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  17. YES!!!! I loved both of these books! I thought they were perfect. Interesting, fun, great characters, everything. Two of my favorite books.

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    1. Oh I am sorry I forgot to answer you question -
      I can't really say city but I have never been to Maine and have always wanted to. I would love to take a few weeks and just travel up the coast of Maine.

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    2. Yes!
      Agreed agreed agreed ;)

      Me too!
      For some reason, I love the entire idea of Maine.
      I imagine it as lots of bowls of clam chowder, morning walks on the beach, and giant sweaters.

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    3. Ha! Me too! - clam chowder (and lobster!) walks on the rocky beach, heavy cable knit sweaters... and lighthouses!
      Lets go!

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    4. Yes!
      And rock collecting, and windy snuggles, and brilliant little antique shops full of nautical treasures. :)

      I'm ready! :)

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  18. I have it but its need to read it. I have read Name of the Star and I really liked it so I'm sure I would enjoy it. Thanks for the review! I love the smoking pic and meaning!

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    1. Oh coool! I say she wrote that but haven't tried it.

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  19. Girl, you always find the best photos! I still don't know how you do it. Wonderful review, so eloquent! I'd love to go back to Glasgow, Scotland. That place holds a special place in my heart.

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    1. Aw thanks sugar pie!

      OMG me too!
      Scotland.
      *le sigh*

      When were you last there? Tell me more!

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    2. Turn of the century (2000). I was 13, toured two castles, walked some beautifully green parts, saw and talked with some very attractive Scotsman and envisioned them in kilts. I've been lost ever since! Where did you go?

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    3. O how fun! Scotsman? YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

      I haven't been to Scotland buut I would LOVE to go. It's on my bucket list for sure. It's so romanticized in my head. Plus, who doesn't want to see a Scotsman? meow!

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    4. Ehem *Scotsmen -- oopsie.

      It's not just romanticized in your head, its wonderful! I hereby promise to sneak you in my suitcase next time I go.

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    5. Don't worry I made the same mistake ;)

      Ha! Love it. Thank you. I can't wait ;)

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  20. Fabulous review(s)! These books were great! They really are fun travel stories...Completely agree about the covers. They just don't seem like Ginny, do they?

    I'd love to go to travel all through Italy and see the lovely artwork they have there.

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    1. No they sure don't ;)

      You and me both. I think somewhere in Italy would be my top choice. :)

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  21. These sound fantastic! As for travel, I would love to visit Bath and London...

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  22. I picked this up for free on the kindle last year--I think it's time I get to it.

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  23. I'm going to pick this up at the library! I want to read these books. ;)
    Prague! ;) I would love to go there!

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    1. Ooooo *high five* My papa loved Prague. FABulous choice.

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  24. I never heard of these but the two books look really really interesting! And I enjoyed your review a lot! As for travelling, Europe in general is absolutely incredible and historical so any country would be just great (especially UK!) :D

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  25. Great Review! I have book one on my kindle I think I'm going to enjoy it. I like how you said pick up this book when, "you want something fast and fun". I totally will take your advice when the moment strikes.

    PS: it sounds like you read not listened to this one... am I right?

    PPS: I'm not much of a traveler, so I don't have someplace I really want to see, other than maybe some of the more well known iconic places in Europe ie: The Leaning Tower of Piza (it may fall soon.)

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    1. Oh good :)

      I'm so glad to hear that.

      I did read this one!
      You perceptive girl! ;)
      Turns out that if I read on my iPod, I can read while rocking Baby Whimsy or while she's playing. I can't manage something as large as a book or Kindle, but with my iPod it's doable.

      Yes! Good choice. I SO want to go there.

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  26. I loved book one but never read the sequel and I'm not sure I will. I kind of liked how things ended with the first book. It was neat that she got to experience so many different things but I would never have been brave enough to travel like that on my own.

    I've always wanted to go to England and I wouldn't say no to visiting Italy either :)

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    1. That's understandable. It did have a good ending.

      But can I tease you by telling you she doesn't end up with the guy you think she will? ;)

      It was really. BRAVE! Some times I was worried for her safety.

      England does sound awesome. I bet I could stay there an entire summer and not get bored.

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  27. Awesome post and I'm glad to hear you were taken in by the series! I've heard its awesome...and so its been patiently waiting on my wish list. Number 1 on my list? Italy...no particular part, just the whole country!

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    1. Italy is my number 1 too :)
      I want to get lost in Tuscany.

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  28. I didn't even realise there was a sequel! I still haven't read the first one but I am interested.
    The number one place I want to go is St Petersburg, Russia! I love travelling.

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    1. Russia!
      NICE!
      Why St. Petersburg exactly?
      Is there something specific there?

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  29. Replies
    1. Ahhh a tropical beach girl! :)
      I hear the water is amazing there.

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  30. I think I have an ebook of 13 Little Blue Envelopes somewhere. I need to find it. I've heard Maureen Johnson's books are amazing.

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    1. This was my first two and I really dug it. I must try her other work. :)

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  31. I have been wanting to read these two - it sounds like Ginny goes on quite an adventure!

    I would love to visit Greece someday :)

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    1. She sure does!
      Quite the scavenger hunt :)

      Oooo Greece!
      Me too!
      Especially all those little islands.

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  32. Sounds good. The cover appeals to my retro-loving-side. #1 place I want to visit: Paris. How about you?

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    1. Ahhhh Paris!
      *le sigh*
      I must go there.
      It's probably #2 on my list.
      My #1 is probably Venice.

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  33. You're right...the girl in the cover doesn't look nerdy at all...

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  34. Yet another set of books I own but have yet to read. I adore Maureen Johnson on Twitter and loved The Name of the Star. I really need to read more of her books!

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    1. I should check her out on Twitter. I'm listening to The Name of the Star right now actually. :)

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  35. I don't know why I didn't think I wanted to read these...but now I really do!

    I have never been to Seattle...I really want to go there!

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  36. Alright, I vaguely remember reading 13 little blue envelopes. So maybe I didn't? And this was years ago. But if I did read it, I remember liking it. I had no idea there was another one! Great reviews! And I would want to visit Dublin.

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  37. I don't think I've read these books before, but I read a book with a similar title and it's making me all nostalgic and whatnot!

    Great view Ms. Whimsy. I'm curious about your Second-Hand-Book smoke?

    Amber Elise @ Du Livre

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    1. Thank you :)

      I used the picture because I inhaled these.

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