The ABC Book Challenge

My Post (5)

Since getting back to blogging over the last couple months, I’ve really wanted to add something new to my weekly posts. And lo and behold, I’ve been inspired by fellow blogger Soffi @A Book. A Thought.  (Follow her!) Soffi’s ABC Book Challenge posts were so fun, I decided I just had to do my own! 😊  So, every week I’ll be posting my favourite, most memorable books and books from my TBR, moving from A-Z.

Previous ABC posts: A + B + C

(PS. Whoever came up with this challenge, I don’t know who you are but thank you!)

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“D”

Memorable Titles

It’s pretty fitting, actually, that I couldn’t think of any other memorable books I’ve read starting with D, because Stephen King’s The Dark Tower are on a league all of their own. It’s an absolutely phenomenal series and if you haven’t read it, take a deep breath and dig in! King is magnificent here (he usually is), the world he built and the characters unforgettable, awe-inspiring and often impossible to comprehend – in terms of how ON EARTH he imagined it all AND got it down on paper in such an gob-smacking way. Just wow. This is a series in need of countless re-reads, discussions and fangirling. Seriously. READ IT PLEASE.

 

To Be Read

Here we are, three amazing sounding YA Contemporaries with male perspectives I can’t wait to read and a YA fantasy series that’s been on my radar for ages! The Dangerous Art of Blending In kind of reminds me of Aristotle and Dante in summary, which is the exact opposite of being put off, i.e it sounds amazing! And of course it will have its own unique style and story. Darius The Great Is Not Okay first peaked my curiosity because of the cover and when I read the blurb I was doubly excited about the prospect of reading a story set in Iran about a pretty nerdy sounding guy and a new friendship :D. I am super excited to read Dear Martin, because I know it will pack an important punch about so many important issues, plus I’ve only heard great things about Nic Stone. And then there’s the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series, one I’ve read nothing but raving reviews about from fellow bloggers and it really excited me because it’s actually not like anything else I’m reading at the moment. Wow, can I possibly read all of these at once please?

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ARC Review: Into The Hollow by Lynn Vroman

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Lynn Vroman’s Into The Hollow is a beautiful story about survival, the harsh landscape of rural Appalachia, destructive families, poverty, friendship and the striking, unforgettable rawness of love. The story follows Free, a girl who loves her younger brother Little more than anything and follows her dad’s “winging it” plans which always fall through because she has no choice if she wants her family to stay together. They’ve had to run away from their old life, leaving them with the bare minimum for survival and limited options for the future. One day, her neighbour Cole, who lives in the same poverty-ridden part of the world as her, finally approaches her and starts asking the questions he’s always wanted to know,  the ones Free doesn’t want to answer. As the pair grow closer, Free discovers that it might actually be Cole who needs her the most. And that might just cost her everything she’s ever known.

I am so incredibly happy I got to read this ARC and I would so love to buy a copy when it comes out in November. I was really blown away by this story and it comes down to three things that are so important to me in every book I read: the writing, the original story and the characters that felt larger than life.

First of all, Lynn Vroman’s writing is so exquisitely subtle, it’s breathtaking. Her style was simple and easy to follow, but it had a delicate bite to it that was powerful and perfect for getting across the scope of the rural landscape, the sorrow and fear of the characters and beauty of a life full of moments that are always changing and always so precious. I was really, really impressed as a reader.

For me, the story felt so fresh and different to a lot of YA I’ve read recently. It has a completely different feeling to it, in the sense that it begins with exploring the struggles of poverty, homelessness and the loyalty young people feel toward their families even if they are not good for them. I found it fascinating to get a look into Free and Cole’s lives, so different to mine growing up. They are living to survive and get by. Free wants nothing more than to keep her brother safe and Cole wants nothing more than to escape his destructive family. It was chilling to read about. The plot is so tender and exciting, with both the harsh and the beautiful thrown in as the characters move through their world and adapt to changes.

The characters really come to life in this book and I adored each and every one of them. Free is a math genius, loyal to her family, tough and protective of her little brother, Little, who is the most adorable five year old you’re likely to read about this year, and desperate to keep her family together no matter how much she has to sacrifice. Cole has lived a difficult life and dreams of escaping it, which he writes about along with his Journalistic headlines in his countless notebooks. He’s friendly, generous and feels everything strongly and head on. Cole and Free’s budding friendship is wonderful to read, I loved seeing how it developed. There are also many other minor characters, such as Cole’s friend group, fantastic teachers and some characters I won’t mention that I either felt sorry for or hated. Each character has an integral role to play, but it’s especially Free and Cole that shine in this book.

I’m not usually one to care about giving ratings. I give stars on my finished reads on Goodreads, but that’s about as far as I go. There was only really reason why Into The Hollow didn’t get the full five stars from me, and that was only that I felt towards the end of the book some of the plot felt a little rushed or that there hadn’t been quite enough backbone. That didn’t spoil my overall feeling of the book, though, just meant it was just a little under perfect, like a 4.7 if I’m being precise. I absolutely loved Into The Hollow. I’m so inspired by Lynn Vroman’s writing style and the story she has breathed into these pages. Free and Cole with always live in my heart.

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Let me know what you think! Will you be picking up a copy of Into The Hollow when it lands in stores on November 6th?

Until next time,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

 

~~ I received the ARC of Into The Hollow via Read Now @ Netgalley ~~

Book Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K Choi

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I finished Emergency Contact late last night and I wish I could read it again, you know, for the impossible second first time.

Before I say anything else about all my feels, let me tell you a little about what this book is about. Emergency Contact is told in alternating perspectives of two brilliant characters. The first is Penny, who is setting off to university to study writing, leaving behind her mum who wants to be Penny’s best friend and her high school boyfriend, which Penny is pretty happy about to be honest. Penny has a lot to figure out about her past and how on earth she can write the greatest short story when she has no idea what she wants. The second is Sam, a 21 year old who lives in the cafe he works in and is emotionally and physically starved. He dreams of making documentaries, but right now his own life is such a mess, he can’t delve into the lives of others. When Penny sort-of-accidentally becomes Sam’s “Emergency Contact” they find themselves in an awkward but beautiful semi-real friendship through text messages, sharing secrets and dreams and finding more of a meaning than they were in “the real world.”

Right, so that’s a pretty basic summary of the book because actually, this book is even more complicated and interesting and wonderful than I ever imagined. You know when a book really just speaks to you? Well, this one spoke to me and it kind of fascinated me, too. It’s sarcastic, angsty, real and hilarious. It’s sweet, unexpected and often hard to read. It’s written in the third person, and while the writing isn’t perfect, I thought that was amazing because I’m currently writing a YA novel in third person and lately I’ve only been reading first person perspectives, so it felt fresh and inspiring to me. It’s got discussions about writing, which were brilliant, intuitive and highly useful for a budding writer like myself. Most importantly, this book has two flawed and wonderful characters that I simply loved reading about and seeing bloom. I loved seeing how Penny and Sam came together and developed their relationship starting with text. It bought up some really interesting discussions about virtual reality vs real life, how technology can bring people who are a bit awkward together in exciting ways. I mean, it worked for me and my fiance 😛

Emergency Contact is maybe not a book for everyone (it seems from some reviews I’ve read that people either love or hate it) but I thought it was remarkable and original and highly entertaining. It reminded me of great, indie films but in book form. I swooned and I got teary and mad and really felt for the characters, who were realistic because they were not always likeable and struggled finding their way in the world. This is a book that makes me want to write stories on a new, different level than I normally do. Inspired.

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

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EDIT:  So, I’ve had a lot of traffic on my blog because of this post which makes me excited and also makes me wish I’d written a better review 😛 Damn, talk about feeling like an inadequate book reviewer! Honestly, I am still thinking about this story and the characters and I keep reading other reviews and getting puzzled by some very negative/offended thoughts and opinions. This is honestly one of my favourite books I’ve read recently and I hope that if you read it you’ll love it too, because it needs so much more love! ❤

 

The ABC Book Challenge

My Post (5)

Since getting back to blogging over the last couple months, I’ve really wanted to add something new to my weekly posts. And lo and behold, I’ve been inspired by fellow blogger Soffi @A Book. A Thought.  (Follow her!) Soffi’s ABC Book Challenge posts were so fun, I decided I just had to do my own! 😊  So, every week I’ll be posting my favourite, most memorable books and books from my TBR, moving from A-Z.

Previous ABC posts: A B

(PS. Whoever came up with this challenge, I don’t know who you are but thank you!)

 

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“C”

Memorable Titles

 I had even more C books than these 9 but just had to cut it down! Quite a few of these are actually some of my favourite series, so that’s cool!  I really like Rainbow Rowell (you will see a lot of her books throughout my ABC Challenge) and Carry On is just a magical, fun book and really different from her others, I loved it! Children of Time is a phenomenal story by one my favourite authors Adrian Tchaikovsky, read more about him and this amazing book hereThe Colour Project is a YA Contemporary I really enjoyed more than I expected to, especially it’s exploration of art and charity organisations. It really melted my heart and I wish more people were reading it! The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is simply one of the most unforgettable and original books I’ve ever read. I remember reading it when I was 14 and just being completely blown away by the story and the exploration of autism, something I knew nothing about back then. Please read it if you haven’t already! The Cormoran Strike series made me love the crime genre and I’m so excited to read the newest instalment! The Chronicles of Narnia had to be on this list as a memorable title because that’s exactly what it is; a book series that warmed me up as a child and still does today. Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy is amazing and so unlike anything else I’ve ever read. He is a genius. I’m really excited for the film, though I have no idea how they’re going to re-create the magic that is the books. Lastly but possibly most importantly, Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Cemetery of Forgotten Books Series is so close to my heart it may as well be a part of it. I love these books so much, they are beautiful and rich and heartbreaking and hilarious and, of course, they are about books! I really, really can’t wait to read the final book in the series that was very recently published!! 😊

 

To Be Read

I really don’t have many C books on my TBR, but here’s the two I do have. Complusion has been on my list probably for years if I’m honest, I had to read the blurb because I completely forgot what it’s about. Still sounds interesting to me and I really hope to read it at some point! Comics Will Break Your Heart was very recently added to my TBR and I am so excited about it! Sounds like a great character story with comics/geeky pop culture at its heart :).

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What do you think of my choices for C? Anything you would add/omit?

See you next time!

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

 

Book Review: Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson

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I can only really start talking about this book with one word: Inspired.

Piecing Me Together is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring books I’ve read this year. It’s about a girl named June, who dreams of being successful and has always been told she needs to get out of her neighbourhood to do so. She has a scholarship to a private school and gets top grades in all her subjects, her favourite being Spanish. When she’s offered to take part in Woman To Woman, a mentor ship program for “girls at risk” (and all black girls like her), she accepts under the guidance of her mother, who has always taught her to take every opportunity given to her. Inspired by and learning through her participation in the program, old and new friendships and her passion for language and making collages, June finds herself on a journey of self-discovery and courage in a world that has both light and dark spaces in it.

Renee Watson is a beautiful writer, I was really moved by her poetic and subtle skill at writing June’s story, and the story of many young women, black or otherwise. There were so many things to relate to in this book, from having the courage to speak up for yourself to feeling like you know your place in the world as a young person to race and privilege issues in our society.  For me, as a white person, it was also educational and a wonderful insight into what it’s like for so many girls like June and what they go through in the face of judgement and racism. I really enjoyed how art and discussion both played a part in the story to show the struggles all young people face in many different ways, and the understanding that comes from interacting with different people and talking through words and art.

If you’re after a book that’s really plot driven with action, mystery, romance or suspense, this might not be a book for you. This is more of a coming-of-age exploration of diversity and a number of social issues in our world. It’s an inspiring, character-driven book about finding your feet and a sense of belonging. For me, it was a moving book that I think is so important for everyone to read.

“It makes me feel like I’m learning a secret code or something. I don’t know. It’s powerful….knowing how to read words and knowing when to speak them is the most valuable commodity a person can have.”

Let me know if you think you’d like to read this book! It’s truly a lovely read 🙂

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

 

THE ABC Book Challenge

Since getting back to blogging over the last couple months, I’ve really wanted to add something new to my weekly posts. And lo and behold, I’ve been inspired by fellow blogger Soffi @A Book. A Thought.  (Follow her!) Soffi’s ABC Book Challenge posts were so fun, I decided I just had to do my own! 😊  So, every week I’ll be posting my favourite, most memorable books and books from my TBR, moving from A-Z.

Previous ABC posts: A

(PS. Whoever came up with this challenge, I don’t know who you are but thank you!)

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“B”

Memorable Titles

These five B books are all incredible and so different! I’ll start with Because You’ll Never Meet Me, a book I absolutely adored right from the beginning. It’s about two boys who develop a friendship online, but can never meet because one of them is deathly allergic to electricity and the other is dependent on his electrical pacemaker to keep him alive. It’s original, tender and such an incredible read about friendship and trusting in others. The Bone Clocks is a a phenomenal piece of art made of colourful words and characters and a beautifully constructed story of ideas, I adore it. The Bone Sparrow and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas are both books that I’ve mentioned on my blog a number of times because I see them as essential reads for young people (and everyone else!) as they carry with them breathtaking stories about history and present issues in our world. Lastly, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is a heartbreaking story unlike any other I’ve read and Oscar is truly illuminating character through which loneliness, depression and finding the courage to be yourself is explored.

To Be Read

First of all, I have to say I am a big Markus Zusak fan, but every day I feel so awful that I haven’t read The Book Thief yet! I have a copy of it in a storage box; one thing about travelling around a lot is that I don’t have access to a lot of my hard copy books right now! So, meanwhile, I am saving this book for a very special day when my fiance and I can move into our house and read it together. I’m really excited to read Markus’s new book Bridge of Clay, it sounds amazing and comes out this month, yippee! The Book of M isn’t a book I would normally be drawn to, but the cover drew me in and it actually sounds like a really unique story I’m really looking forward to immersing myself in. Between Two Skies is a book that’s been on my radar for a long time but I’ve just never had the chance to get my hands on it. It’s about a girl struggling with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and I think it will be an extraordinary, powerful read. Bone Gap and Breathing Under Water are two books I’ve been wanting to read for ages that are very different in plot, but both deal with the unpredictability of life, death and forgiveness.

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Yay, I really enjoyed making my second ABC post😊  Hope you enjoyed reading. What books would’ve been on yours and have you read any of my B books?

Be back soon,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords