ARC Review: Perfect on Paper by Sophie Gonzales

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

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Perfect On Paper is one of those books I could have read in one sitting. Had I been able to pause time and all my responsibilities, I would have stayed up all night reading this book. But there was a bonus to not being able to do that, as I then had something to look forward to reading when I got home from work! I am so grateful I got the opportunity to read the ARC of this book because it was such a fun read that made me smile – something we all need in our lives these days.

Perfect On Paper is about Darcy Phillips, a girl who runs a secret advice service through locker 89 at her school. Students leave her envelopes of letters and cash in exchange for relationship advice, which Darcy carefully researches before sending over via email. Darcy loves helping her peers with their relationship woes and she’s really good at it. However, she can’t seem to figure out her own relationship issues, such as whether her best friend Brooke loves her back and her own feelings relating to her bisexuality and society’s biphobia. When senior hottie Alexander Brougham catches her in the act of retrieving letters from the locker, he hires her help to get his ex-girlfriend back. She cannot stand him, especially when he blackmails her. She has to agree to help him in order to keep locker 89 a secret, because if she doesn’t, there’s a chance Brooke would find out something awful she did last year. But when Brooke falls for someone else and she gets to know Brougham… things get even more complicated.

I really, really enjoyed this book. First of all, the concept just screams a fun and exciting plot that dips and twists with each new development, and the story delivers this through and through. Darcy is a fun, smart and witty character. I really loved seeing her locker 89 relationship advice in action with the snippets of letters and her responses that are weaved throughout the novel. Her friendship with Brooke and her secret feelings for her are layered and fun to read, especially when Brooke’s love interest comes into the picture and Darcy’s meddling with Brooke’s relationships unfolds. A big part of the novel is Darcy trying to deal with her feelings for Brooke and ultimately messing things up and then trying to win her friend back. I loved that aspect of the story, as it really established the importance of female friendships and also explored unrequited love. Darcy’s relationships with her mum and her sister, who has just recently transitioned and changed her name to Ainsley, are also a great aspect of the novel, as it really explores how important family is and how, even for a character like Darcy who offers advice to her peers, also needs people to turn to when her life is spiralling out of control.

Now, honestly, the best thing about this book is Brougham. I won’t lie. I just thought he was the greatest and wanted to give him a big hug. The reason for that is partly because he’s Australian like me, but also because his character just developed so well throughout the novel as Darcy got to know him. At first, he seems like an arrogant, self-involved ass, but he is anything but, which Darcy soon discovers as they end up spending more time together. I absolutely loved how Darcy’s quest to get Brougham back with his ex developed in the story and of course, how Darcy and Brougham developed together as a duo and in response to the other. He shows a great interest in Darcy’s relationship theories and they have many discussions that were really interesting and make Darcy reflect on her knowledge and grow stronger as a result. And, well, there were just so many great scenes between the two of them that made me all squealy and happy inside.

Perfect on Paper is a great read and I really recommend it if you are looking for something fun, dramatic and insightful with wonderful, unforgettable characters, an exciting plot and just an overall feel-good vibe. Perfect On Paper comes out in March next year, so add it to your TBR and be on the look out!

Thanks for reading my review. Happy reading!

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

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Blog Tour – Book Review. Foreshadow: Stories To Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA, edited by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma

I was so excited when I was asked to be a part of the Blog Tour for Foreshadow, an incredible anthology of YA short stories by diverse and unknown writers. Foreshadow is edited by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma, who share invaluable insights into writing and the craft of gifting readers with inspiring stories throughout the book. Each story is also introduced by many well known YA authors. The stories included in Foreshadow are rich and complex and all bring a voice into the world of stories that is entirely unique.

I have never been a big reader of short stories. While in the past I have enjoyed several literary short stories, I have always tended to read novels because I love how the reading experience allows me to spend a long time in the story and with the characters. In saying that, when I first heard about Foreshadow, I was immediately excited by the idea of reading a selection of YA short stories that also offered inspiring expertise on the craft of story making. As an aspiring writer, I do not write nearly as much as I would like to – life and writing blocks always get in the way. So I hoped that reading expert advice, insights, and also story prompts, from Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma, two authors I highly admire, would inspire me to pick up my pen and dabble in writing a short story (something I have never really tried before). While I haven’t yet had a chance to pick up that pen since finishing this book last night, my fingers are itching and I have many ideas floating in my head all thanks to this book. It was not only Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma’s words that inspired me, of course. It was also the incredible stories and the voices of their authors.

The diversity of the thirteen stories included in this book is thrilling. Each and every story has something different to say, with unique perspectives and original ideas that explode off the page. Some stories are set in reality, while others are set in fantasy worlds or re-imagined alternative realities. While of course there were some stories that didn’t speak to me as much as others, there was always something there in them. Something enticing, intriguing, strange, mind-boggling and altogether beautiful. For me, there are four stories that I absolutely adored and can’t stop thinking about: “Fools” by Gina Chen , “Solace” by Nora Elghazzawi, “Sweetmeats” by Linda Cheng, and “Break” by Sophie Meridien, each full of life, love and magic. So look out for those stories when you pick up this book! No doubt you will fall in love with the others as well. Plus, if you enjoy this anthology as much as I did, I have some good news for you. Each of these stories and many more like them are published on Foreshadow: A Serial YA Anthology, the online anthology for short stories that was first created by Emily X.R. Pan and Nova Ren Suma and lead to this printed collection.

If you are a writer, an aspiring writer, a lover of YA fiction/books/short stories, you will thoroughly enjoy this immersive collection of stories and voices that celebrate the magic of story telling. I urge you to go pick up a copy now! 🙂

Happy reading as always,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

The Last Five Books I Read Were Five Star Reads

I have had a fantastic couple months of reading which means, as the title of this post suggests, I’ve added five books to my favourite books of all time. Always great for a bookworm like me! Without further ado, here are the five books I read that blew me away and are 100% gold.

The Licanius Trilogy by James Islington

This is such a fantastic fantasy series. It blew my mind. Each book is utterly perfect and while the story has its peak moments and highlights, there was never a dull moment and I just loved every moment, every twist and turn. The story is so well-crafted, the characters are lovable and real and I truly loved the world in which the story takes place. If you want a fantasy series that is more adult than YA fantasies but is still about younger characters (17-20 year olds), has an astonishing storyline that is impossible to predict and will make your mind spin until the very last page, and characters that keep developing and who you will want to hug, this is the series for you! You will not be disappointed, trust me.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

I love Alice Oseman books and Loveless was no exception. This is such a wonderful and brave Own Voices book about asexuality. The story follows a girl called Georgia who desperately wants to fall in love but has never kissed anyone or even had a real crush on someone. In her first year at college, she is desperate to figure out who she really is and what the rest of her life looks like, even without romantic love. I loved this book because Georgia’s path towards learning who she is and how platonic love can be just as, or even more, important than romantic love, was inspiring, heartfelt and at times, hilarious. I loved Georgia and her friends, and especially wanted to give Rooney a big hug. This is just one of those deep and feel good stories and I cannot say enough how much I loved it.

Darius The Great Deserves Better

by Adib Khorram

What can I say about Darius? I just love him. He is without a doubt one of my favourite YA characters of all time. This book is the sequel to Darius The Great Is Not Okay, which is one of my favourite books, and I am so, so pleased to say that this book was just as good. I just want to give Darius a big hug and keep reading books about him and his life while drinking all the tea I can. I really, really hope there will be a third book because I desperately want to know what happens next to Darius and his family, Sohrab and a certain, special someone! This book is just like a big warm hug and I urge you to read it (after the first one of course if you haven’t read that either) ASAP!

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Thanks for reading my little post. I have been quiet on my blog lately but hopefully I can kick my butt into gear and write more bookish posts in the near future! I would love to hear from you if you have read these books or if you plan to in the future. Happy reading,

Jasmine @ Thesepaperwords

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