ARC Review: Breathless by Jennifer Niven

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~ I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Massive thanks to the publishers for the opportunity!~

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There are some books out there that can really speak to you on a personal level. This book was just one of those books for me. The entire time I read this book I was swept away in a kind of nostalgic whirlwind of a story. A story that was honest, real, poignant, heartbreaking and felt like a true recollection of those moments that make up a life, those moments that touch us the most and make us realise we are alive, for good or for worse.

Breathless is about Claude and her experiences one summer before she is due to start her first year at college. One minute her mind’s full of road trip plans with her best friend and the possibility of having sex for the first time with the boy she likes and the next her whole world crumbles to pieces when her Dad tells her he’s leaving her Mum. In the aftermath of her life changing forever, Claude goes with her Mum to a remote island. There, while her Mum busies herself with writing, Claude tries desperately to stop herself from falling apart. She meets Jeremiah Crew, an infuriatingly charming boy her age who might be the only thing that can give her all she dreams of, at the risk of her heart completely breaking into a million more pieces.

One of the things that really made me love this book is the way Jennifer Niven’s writing captured moments in life at their rawest, saddest, fleeting and most beautiful. Claude’s life and her experiences as a teenager at a moment when her world is completely changing with her family breaking apart, not to mention when she is already on the cusp of a complete life change what with going to college, was something I could really relate to. My parents split up when I was little and then my parents and my step-parents on both sides split up at different times when I was older. So yeah, I really get how difficult it can be to grasp what that means and how it changes everything for everyone. Claude is also dealing with the possibility of losing her best friend, who has a new girlfriend and is going to college far away from Claude. Loss and change are such big, inevitable things in life and I just felt that Jennifer Niven did such a wonderful job putting the anxiety and fear we all feel about both into words.

I truly loved Jeremiah’s part of the story and how Claude’s relationship with him developed throughout the book. While it was undoubtedly heartbreaking, I came away from the book with the feeling that falling in love for the first time is such a beautiful, rewarding experience and also with a sense of hope. I loved Claude and Jeremiah’s adventures on the island and how all their moments together were all about enjoying the present and trying not to think about the ending. Which is impossible, obviously, but such is life and I could really relate to this aspect of their love story, as it was something I went through when I first met my now-husband (we were lucky enough to be in a later stage in life when we could decide to make those sacrifices and compromises that let us be together).

Claude experiences a lot of firsts with Jeremiah and yes, that does include her first experience of sex. I liked Claude’s personal opinions about the whole “losing your virginity” thing and feel like how the book depicts something we all go through one way or another was really relatable. There were times I forgot Claude and Jeremiah are only eighteen, though, as sometimes I felt they were voicing ideas about sex and exploring sex in a way I certainly didn’t until I was well into my twenties. That’s not at all a criticism about the book, though, as I completely agreed with all the sex-related discussions in the book and hope that more teens have these views and also have the courage to talk about them!

I loved the relationship between Claude and her Mum. While I would have loved more of their relationship, I loved what we did get, especially as they enjoyed exploring their family history on the island and taking the time to talk to each other about their real feelings, all secrets aside. Their relationship by the end of the book reminded me in some ways of how close I am to my Mum, which is something really special to me as she is my hero. One of my favourite things about this book was the fact that Claude’s Mum is a writer and that Claude dreams of being one. This is something I can completely relate to as I spent my teenage years filling notebooks and word documents with thoughts, poems and stories. Something I should be doing more of now in my adult life and definitely mean to! Claude’s relationship with her Dad was more complicated and while she spent much of the book feeling betrayed by him, I really enjoyed the depiction of their relationship because it was just so real and felt very much like how most teenagers would react in the same situation. I also loved Claude’s friendship with her bestie Saz and how the changes in their friendship due to being apart and becoming new people were explored. They were so cute and there for each other even when everything was changing. I would have loved to see more of their friendship, actually!

I honestly don’t know how to capture my feelings about this book and my reading experience beyond what I have already said. I just really loved it and found it so moving, refreshing and relatable. I would definitely recommend giving this book a try when it comes out as I really feel it has a little something for everyone, especially if you happen to be a teenager going through some big, inevitable changes in your life. It’s a book that made me remember moments in my own life, made me think about how much we should all treasure life and the people we love, and also made me want to find the energy to write again. Breathless is dreamy, inspiring, full of feeling and, in Claude and Jeremiah’s shoes, will take you on an adventure you never expected.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my review! I would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you have read this book or are planning to 😊

Happy reading and writing,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

Book Review: Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann

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Wow. What can I say other than I have devoured this book today and loved absolutely every moment of doing so. Claire Kann’s Let’s Talk About Love is simply a delight, an eye-opener and a shout out to nerds everywhere. I would like to mention here that this is not a YA (I thought it was). Turns out it’s more of New Adult and probably one of the best college-age novels I have personally read.

Let’s Talk About Love is about Alice, recently dumped by her girlfriend who couldn’t deal with the fact that Alice is asexual. It pretty much ruins Alice’s summer plans, which largely consisted of binging her favourite tv shows and eating her favourite snacks with her now ex-girlfriend and her best friends in between shifts at the library. Instead, Alice has to face the fact that she is probably never going to be able to date anyone who understands her and loves her for who she is, not to mention the worries she has about her own future. When she meets Takumi, the new employee at the library, Alice experiences a rush of feelings she never expected. They develop a special friendship, but as Alice’s feelings continue to develop… can she risk everything for a love that might not be returned?

First of all, Alice is a phenomenal character. She is unbelievably nerdy, a complete romantic like me and adorable in a way I really can’t describe. She had me laughing and crying. She was just the perfect main character and I wish she was real. Seeing the world through her eyes and her experiences was truly fascinating and eye-opening. I spent the whole book just hoping and wishing that all of Alice’s dreams would come true. The way I feel about the characters is always the most important thing to me when I read any book and so to me this book was perfect. While Alice’s family drove me a little insane with their instance to throw Alice into law school (something she didn’t want to do), and while I got a little fed up with the way Alice’s best friends treated her during their fight, I still loved them all and thought they were great and necessary parts of the story. It goes without saying that Takumi is a fantastic character, I loved him. I love his openness, his genuine heart, his love for cooking Alice food, the way he looks after his twin nieces and so many other things. He was just adorable and I loved his connection with Alice so much, it is literally everything I could ever ask for in a book that makes you squee (just like Alice does when she is overwhelmingly excited).

A big part of this novel is all about Alice’s identity, in terms of her being biromantic asexual, black, female and entirely unsure about what she wants to do with her life. While she’s happy with who she is, she struggles with the way the world sees her, especially the way no one, except her best friends, seems to understand her and the fact that she is asexual and what that means. Her relationships in the past have all led to her being dumped and when she meets Takumi and develops feelings for him, she has to decide if she can tell him the truth about who she is, knowing that might ruin her chances at ever finding love, something she longs for more than anything else. Before reading this book, I knew a little about asexuality, but now I understand it so much more. I am so thankful for this book in teaching me about it because I think it’s so important for everyone to understand others, to stand by them and to see that love is love. This book does an amazing job at telling a story about someone who is asexual and I think it will speak to so many people, whether they are bi, asexual or straight like myself.

I cannot say enough how much you should read this book right now. It is the perfect book to read during Pride Month! 🌈Also, by reading and talking about it, you can also support black authors, which is something I plan to do more often!✊🏻✊✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 Thank you so much Claire Kann for writing such a wonderful book that made me smile, taught me something important and will stay with me forever.

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I hope you enjoyed reading this review and that I maybe convinced you to read this book! I would love to hear your thoughts 😊

Happy reading and HAPPY PRIDE MONTH,

Jasmine @Thesepaperwords

ARC Review: Making Friends With Alice Dyson

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~ I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you publishers and Netgalley!~

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I almost put this book down after the first two chapters. I am so glad I didn’t, because Making Friends With Alice Dyson ended up giving me joy in the way it made me think of home (I was born in Australia and have lived many salty-air, sunny, ocean days) and in the way the friendship and love bloomed between the two central characters.

Before I get into what I really liked about this book and what I wasn’t sure about, let me tell you what this book is about: When she isn’t at school, Alice Dyson spends all her time studying and preparing for her future. She doesn’t talk to anyone at school except her  friend May and otherwise keeps her mind on her homework, even at home around her parents who expect nothing else from her. One strange day, she shares a moment with Teddy Taualai that ends up going viral around school and changing everything. From that moment on, Teddy follows her everywhere and as Alice begins to come out of her shell, her life becomes messy, complicated and something she never expected.

Let’s get the issues I had with this book out of the way, starting with the first couple of chapters which almost made me put the book down. For me, the opening of the story just felt like playground-drama to the point that I had to check how old Alice was meant to be because I was honestly picturing her and her peers as thirteen-year olds. The whole encounter between Alice and Teddy (which I was happy to learn more about later in the book) just seemed to be taken way too seriously by Alice’s peers. The way some characters spoke to Alice about it and about Teddy just seemed so childish that I couldn’t take it seriously. The immature teasing, bitching and rumour-starting that starts in the opening chapters and goes on throughout the novel just really frustrated me because it  didn’t seem realistic to me and really made me dislike many of the characters. But who knows, I left high school ten years ago so maybe seventeen year olds are just meaner to each other these days (though I hope not as I can’t see how that can be possible).

I also didn’t like May as a character for the most part due to her obsession with being popular. I guess I  personally couldn’t relate to that part of the story and way May tried to mess with Alice and Teddy’s friendship because they weren’t part of the popular crowd. I just found it all so frustrating and it tainted the story a bit for me. At least May changes  by the end of the novel, providing some lovely, strong friendship moments between her and Alice that made me smile.

Another thing I found a little odd about this book was how Alice’s parents were simply never around. I realise the story was making a point about how controlling Alice’s parents are, expecting her to get good grades and basically not wanting her to have a life outside of school, and the fact that they are never around because they work so much and are probably not very happy as a result, but they still neglect Alice anyway. Still, I would have liked more development between Alice and her parents, at least towards the end of the novel as I feel there was a lot there between them that wasn’t fully explored and would’ve given both the story and Alice more substance.

In saying all of that, there was so much I liked about this book. The focus of the book was very much on Alice’s feelings and thoughts as she experienced her last year of high school, dealt with romantic emotions she had never felt before, new friendships and the inevitable changes that occur in life. I could really relate to Alice in so many ways, such as being horrible at making new friends (not just in school but today as well), spending a lot of time making sure I got good grades and finding it difficult to voice what I was feeling. There were many times throughout the book that I really connected with her and I think that helped me end up really enjoying the story and wanting to continue reading it after those initial chapters. Overall, I really liked Alice as a character because I thought she was a good depiction of many teenagers who are so bogged down by study, their parent’s expectations and the cold reality of the future, something that can feel so far away and then comes along too quickly. Alice’s determination to have a future she wants was admirable because I think so many of us just decide to follow the path set out for us without thinking about what we want or having the opportunity to know what we want for our lives when we finish high school. I liked how Alice’s plans were so set in stone and how that caused complications for the new things that came along in her life, namely Teddy Taualai.

As expected, the highlight of this book is of course Teddy and Alice’s relationship and well, Teddy himself. Teddy is just a fantastic, bighearted and deep character who unfortunately has a bad rep according to his peers due to one thing that happened in his past and the many idiotic rumours that follow him around. He is without a doubt my favourite thing about this book. The way he weaves his way into Alice’s life seemingly with complete confidence, when actually he’s scared, nervous and sad because of his past underneath that big, teasing smile, was just so wonderful to read. I can’t say how many times Teddy and Alice made me smile, cringe, swoon, gasp… There were so many great moments between them as the story and their friendship progressed. I don’t think I’ll be forgetting Teddy and his connection with Alice any time soon.

Making Friends With Alice Dyson is a unique and heartwarming book that does a great job exploring friendship and the complicated, new feelings of love. While there were some things I found frustrating and some things I felt the book lacked that would have given the story more substance, the coastal Australian setting and the connection between Alice and Teddy was more than enough to keep me turning the pages with excitement and a warm heart. I am very glad I read this book and would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a story that’s got a little something different and that will make your heart happy.

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Thanks for reading my review!

All the best,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

ARC Review: Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett

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~ I received the ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Massive thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this gem early. ~

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I cannot tell you how delighted I was to be approved for an ARC of this book. I have been counting down the days to read Chasing Lucky ever since I heard of its existence because, let’s face it, I am there for any book Jenn Bennett writes. Chasing Lucky is another fantastic book of hers. I read it in a day and would be happy to rewind time and read it over again for the first time.

Chasing Lucky is about Josie, a girl who has moved around a lot for the last five years with her single Mum, chasing happiness and running away from the so-called Saint-Martin love curse that has ruined her family. When Josie and her Mum return to Beauty, the small town they lived in until that her Mum ran away with her when she was twelve, to run their families bookshop. There, Josie unexpectedly comes face to face with her childhood best friend and apparent bad boy, Lucky. Josie has no idea how to feel about it, especially when she makes a disastrous mistake that Lucky takes the fall for, sending her life in a direction she never expected.

One of the things that always grabs me most in Jenn Bennett’s books is her main characters. They are always unique, relatable and immediately likeable. Josie is a great main character, because she’s struggling with things we all go through: figuring out her future, what she loves to do, who she wants to be, where home is and, of course, what family, love and friendship really means to her. I also loved her take on photography and how that developed in the story. I instantly liked Lucky, for there was always something more under his brooding, snarky surface and I enjoyed seeing the mystery of his character unfold and seeing him open up. Both Josie and Lucky have complicated backgrounds and I just loved how in depth their characters were, how the years they spent as best friends and the five years they’ve been apart has changed them and made them into who they are. Of course, the best thing about this book is the relationship between these two. From the sarcastic banter to the complete honesty that develops between them as they begin to know each other again. I loved how their romance story developed, it kept me on my toes and had me turning pages like no tomorrow. How I love them, they are everything!

The overall plot of this book is well balanced with romance, comedy, heartache, small town politics and family drama. It’s not all about Josie and Lucky. Josie’s family, especially her Mum and what really happened in the past with Josie’s father, are a big part of the plot. I enjoyed the family aspects and the whole thing with the so-called curse, which led the plot in many directions whenever something went wrong. Josie’s moment of revenge, the messy mistake that Lucky ends up taking the fall for, was an entertaining part of the story, leading to many twists and turns that tested Josie’s character, her ability to communicate and to trust both herself and others, especially Lucky and her Mum.

I feel like this book is just the perfect book to run away with to the bedroom or the couch with a cup of tea or coffee. I enjoyed reading it so much because it had all the thrills and the adorable moments I want in a YA contemporary. It also carries an important message: to find happiness, you have to break down your walls and let people in.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my review and that it makes you want to pick up this book when it comes out! 😊

Happy reading,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

Book Appreciation Post: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I’m very proud and happy to say that over the last couple weeks I have read and thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the first three books in Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes. Wohoo!!

I call this post a “book appreciation post” for two reasons: 1), I have little to no desire to write lengthy, coherent book reviews at the moment (not even for ARCS, though of course I will write those anyway) and 2), I have no idea how I could possibly write a review for this series!? How do you review a series that is just so amazing, twisty, beautifully written and overwhelmingly clever? How can I express how much I love the characters (Elias, Laia, Helene, Harper, Darin <3)? I simply can’t right now!

All I can say is that I am so glad I finally read this series. While I did lose my way in the series a little in A Reaper at the Gates, as things just took a turn I didn’t expect and it took me awhile to grasp it all, I just loved these books. It was amazing to live inside the pages of Laia, Elias and Helene’s stories for days on end. I just can’t wait for A Sky Beyond the Storm to come out so I can read more about what happens to these characters and their world!

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Hope you enjoyed reading my little post and I hope you’re all coping okay with the way the world is at the moment.

Happy reading time!

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

 

ARC Review: Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin Van Whye

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~ I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. So thrilled to have had the opportunity, thanks Netgalley and the publishers! ~

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“Awwwwww” is the first thing that comes to mind when I thought about how to best sum up my feelings about Date Me, Bryson Keller. While I read this book, I don’t think a page went by where I didn’t respond to the story with some form of  “aww”, whether due to the incredible adorableness of the story or feelings of sadness for what the main characters Kai and Bryson go through. Date Me, Bryson Keller is an extremely entertaining and enjoyable book that gave me a lot of feelings and I finished it feeling all kinds of giddy-happy.

Date Me, Bryson Keller is about Kai, a secretly gay teen who on a whim decides to ask Bryson Keller, the most popular guy in school, out. Months ago, due to his belief that there is no point to high school relationships, Bryson accepted a dare that means he has to date the first person who asks him out every Monday for the rest of the school week. Kai does not expect Bryson to accept his dare to date him for the week. Nor does he expect what happens next…

As soon as I read the premise for this book I had very high hopes that it was going to be the perfect rom-com and I have to say that now I have read it, I am not at all disappointed. Date Me, Bryson Keller met all my expectations. Not only does the book contain a precious romance, a fun plot, strong friendships, families finding acceptance, realistic depictions of homophobia and a true, honest portrayal of what it’s like to be a closeted gay teenager, it also has two main characters that I absolutely loved. I really can’t say enough how much I enjoyed reading about Kai and Bryson and seeing how by getting to know each other they also got to know themselves better. I could hug them both. Not to mention Kai and Bryson’s sisters, who both really deserve a massive thumbs up shout out.

I think this is a book that will speak to many and I have to thank Kevin Van Whye for writing a book that speaks the truth and will give so many people hope and understanding. It isn’t easy to step out the door and be brave enough to be who you are and I think this book really depicts how amazing it is for someone to do just that in a world where they are unfortunately not accepted by everyone as they should be. I felt this is a very hopeful book that looks to a future where people can love who they love without being judged and bullied for it. I have hope.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought it was just lovely. If there was a sequel I would read it right now because I would love to spend more time with Kai and Bryson, who are just both too darn precious.

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Thanks for reading my review! 🙂

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

ARC Review: The Crow Rider (The Storm Crow Book #2) by Kalyn Josephson

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~ I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Massive thanks to Netgalley and publishers for the opportunity ~

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The first book in The Storm Crow duology, The Storm Crow, had been on my reading radar for ages. When The Crow Rider became available on Netgalley, I immediately jumped at the chance to request it and then purchased a copy of The Storm Crow so I could straight away immerse myself in a world where a princess fights for freedom alongside magical crows. For me, reading both books in the duology back to back was the perfect way to experience and enjoy every thrill this magical series has to offer.

The Crow Rider is a fantastic conclusion to the series. As I read it immediately after The Storm Crow, I felt there was a perfect flow between the books and that it just jumped right back into the action and pulled me in for a fun and stormy ride. Thia’s journey throughout this book was really well developed in terms of finding her own strength of character and fighting for what she believes in. I loved learning more about the world and the secrets of Thia’s home and where her family’s power came from. I loved spending more time with characters such as Prince Ericen, Kiva, Caylus, and of course, my favourite character Res. I also loved meeting new characters and seeing how they all became part of the story, whether they were fighting against or with Queen Razel.

The only small letdown in this book for me personally was that I felt the main romance plot could have been more developed. It didn’t feel fleshed out enough for me. I just wasn’t entirely convinced by the way things happened and didn’t really experience any super swoony feelings I normally get with very well-written romances. However, because I loved everything else about the book, especially Thia’s friendships and her relationship with a certain special storm crow, the romance thing didn’t negatively impact my overall experience of the book. There is just so much more going on in this series that made the story so inviting and enjoyable.

If you are looking for a light, magical and action-packed fantasy series to whisk you away to a new world during this trying time, I would highly recommend picking up The Storm Crow duology. If you’ve already read The Storm Crow, I definitely think you will enjoy the The Crow Rider and finish the book wishing there was more like I did. You can’t really go wrong with magical creatures in my book and the crows in this series are no exception. The whole series gave me so many feelings, simply made me smile and took all my worries away while I was reading. What more could I ask for from a book, really.

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Thanks for reading my review! Happy reading to you all,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

ARC Review: Destination Anywhere by Sara Barnard

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~ I received an ARC of this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Big thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity!~

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Wow. I really don’t know what to say about this book. So, I will simply just be completely honest. Destination Anywhere surprised me. I did not expect for Peyton’s story to hit me so hard or for me to have so many feelings while reading this book. I’ll just get this out there straight away: this book made me cry. There aren’t many books I’ve read that have led to me sitting there on the sofa with tears in my eyes and a massive lump in my throat. There was just something about this book and a scene in particular that was about a third of the way in the book that really just got to me and made me weep. In a beautiful way. In a this is what a great story is supposed to do kind of way.

If you don’t know anything about this book, here’s a little summary: Destination Anywhere follows the story of a girl called Peyton, who one day decides to book a flight and gets on a plane to Canada with a bag and her sketchpad. She’s decided it’s the only thing she can do to get away from her horrible, traumatic past and make a fresh start. She’s in search of something, some happiness, some sense of who she really is. She doesn’t know how she’s going to find it, but she has to try. Or else she might not be able to survive life any longer.

How do I review this book without giving spoilers away? Oh, Peyton, I just don’t know where to start. Peyton’s whole background story about her years of being bullied and what happened with her group of friends and boyfriend in college was just beyond heartbreaking. As a reader, you really get a sense of her struggles and how hard it was for her to go through years of school without anyone to call a friend and being bullied and abused constantly by her classmates for absolutely no reason other than that she was simply unlucky. If her years of being bullied weren’t enough, the experiences she goes through and the things she does to hold onto the first group of friends she ever had in college and the way they ended up so awfully letting her down…well, it was just soul wrecking. I felt so horrible and heartbroken about Peyton’s life and I so badly wanted to reach through the pages and give her a hug.

While there is so much heartbreak and many dark moments in this book (much of which are pretty adult and perhaps not suitable for younger teens), especially in Peyton’s flashbacks about what happened before, there is also a beautiful side of the story that just gave me so much happiness. Sure, Peyton’s travel in Canada doesn’t go as smoothly as she thought it would at first, but the friends she meets along the way make the whole decision to go off into the world on her own worth it. I have no words for how much I loved the other travellers Peyton ended up connecting with along the way. Their friendships were just perfect and gave me so many giddy feelings and just made me so happy for Peyton. Just trust me on this, there are certain characters you will all absolutely fall in love with.

Peyton’s search for happiness isn’t just about her trying to find a connection with people that she never had. It’s also about her finding a way to be who she wants to be and live a life that gives her happiness. This means trying to tell her parents that she wants to be an illustrator, leave college and work towards studying an art degree. It means trying to make them understand how unhappy she has been and asking for their support. It means Peyton sketching the beautiful landscapes of Canada and the people she meets. It means her realising that there is nothing wrong with her and that it’s not her fault that everyone at school couldn’t see her. It means her having the confidence to know she can make her own good choices and build her own life in the best way. I think everyone can relate to at least one thing that Peyton goes through. I know we can all relate to searching for a place for ourselves and how to be the happiest we can be.

I love Peyton. I love the friends she makes during her travels. I love how the story ends. This book, this story, just really spoke to me and I’m so glad to have read it. Also, I have now bumped Canada up to the top of the list of places I want to visit the next chance I get. I’m just so moved and inspired by this story and I hope you will be too if you read it. Please do. This is a book that will tug at your feelings and make your heart warm.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my review! If you’ve read this book or if I’ve convinced you somehow to add it to your TBR, I would love to hear from you!

Dreaming of travelling now.

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

 

Book Review: Lucky Caller by Emma Mills

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First of all, how beautiful is that cover? It fits so perfectly with a story that is all heart and has everything you could ask for to read the day and the night away. I have always loved Emma Mills’s books and Lucky Caller is no exception.

Lucky Caller tells the story of Nina, her final year of high school and her experiences doing a radio broadcasting elective, which leads her back to close proximity with her childhood best friend, Jamie, who she has managed to avoid to years. Things don’t exactly go to plan with her group’s radio show and everything is changing at home with her Mum’s oncoming marriage and her Dad’s ever-pressing absence from Nina and her sister’s lives. While trying not to make everything worse, Nina has to figure out what she’s going to do about Jamie…

I spent all day yesterday reading this book and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Emma Mills always manages to write realistic and touching slice-of-life stories and for me, that’s all I need for a story that carries me through the day. This book felt like a warm, cosy blanket. And yes, I did drink hot chocolate while reading it. There was just enough drama and awkward teenage content to keep me turning the pages. Overall, I really enjoyed the radio broadcasting plot and all the things that went wrong alongside that. It was just a lot of fun.

Of course, the characters and relationships in Emma Mills’s books are always what make me come back for more. There are just so many great and realistic friendships and interactions between family members in this book. Scenes between friends and family are always so much fun to read, especially when they feel so real and are written with so much honesty and heart. I really related to Nina’s character, especially with her inability to struggle with speaking her mind and going after what she really wants. Her issues with her family and her fears about everything changing that went alongside that was also relatable to me and simply put, I just really liked her character. Jamie was also a wonderful character, just so endearing, adorable and nerdy. I won’t lie, the whole story of Nina and Jamie was without a doubt the highlight of this book. The way Emma Mills presented their journey from kids to them in the present day was perfect. I just loved reading every scene they were in together and seeing where the story took them by the end.

While this might not be the kind of book that is life-changing or blows you away, I thought it was a lovely read. Lucky Caller simply made me happy and that is truly all I can ask for from a book on days when all I need is something to smile about. I think Lucky Caller is a book I will go back to time and time again when I need exactly that.

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Thanks for reading my review! Let me know if you’ve read this book or plan to! 😀

All the best,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

ARC Review: The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

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~ I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Netgalley and publishers ~

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I finished Meg Rosoff’s The Great Godden late last night and I don’t know how I feel about it, to be honest.

The Great Godden is about a family’s summer vacation at the beach and how everything changes when two brothers, the Goddens, come to stay with them. The main premise is that the main character falls in love with Kit, the elder golden child of the two brothers, and pretty much every one else does as well. But everything is not as it seems…

There are a few things I admire about this book. First of all, there is no denying that Meg Rosoff is a sophisticated, poignant and clever writer. I have never read a book that has quite the same flair and I found how Meg Rosoff chose to tell the story intriguing. The Great Godden reads almost like a memoir or an historical piece, even though it’s set in this decade as far as I know. The story is told through the narrator/main character, in slice of life segments as the summer unfolds. The narrator has no known name or gender, so that kind of leaves the reader guessing and free to decide who the character is. The fact that the main character has no name or gender is quite fascinating, though it was something I didn’t realise until about half-way through the book. Being female, I imagined them as a girl, but towards the end of the novel, there were certain plot points that made me realise I think I would have enjoyed the book more if I’d imagined the character as a boy.

While I could admire the writing style and the way Meg Rosoff chose to present the narrator/main character, overall I didn’t really enjoy this book as a story. Characters are always such an important part of my enjoyment of a book and unfortunately, I just didn’t connect with the characters this book. Sure, there were moments I thought the little brother, Alex, was amusing and moments I wanted to protect the younger Godden, Hugo, but apart from that…I just didn’t like the characters because I couldn’t connect with them. For me, there just wasn’t enough depth to any of them. If I had connected with the narrator, I would have enjoyed this book a lot more, but my personal reading experience just didn’t allow for that. Though, as I’ve said, I admire the narrative style, I personally felt it lacked substance, largely because I didn’t feel like I truly understood the main character. I didn’t understand everyone’s obsession with Kit, though I can’t really say how I feel about his character without giving things away. I didn’t believe in the romance aspect of the story or really get any feeling that the narrator was in love with Kit. It just didn’t come across that way to me.  Although I didn’t struggle to finish the book, there wasn’t much in the actual plot that kept me hooked or got me excited or made me feel something. Everything felt emotion-less. Things just seemed to happen story, such as to the narrator, and then were just pushed aside as if they didn’t happen at all. In the end, I finished this book just feeling underwhelmed, confused and a little bit disturbed.

The Great Godden certainly got me thinking and I can see it as a book that would be great to study and write an essay on. Overall, though, it’s just not my type of book. I really hope other readers out there enjoy it more than I did because I do think it has its moments and might really speak to some people. But it’s just not for me.