August Wrap Up…

Welcome to my August Wrap Up. I had a great reading month, finishing 13 books (2 books off my TBR). I also received 12 ARC’s this month, and I continued my new goal of reading 1 Shakespeare play and 10 Shakespeare Sonnets, as well as 5 Brother’s Grimm fairy-tales, and 3 ‘books’ from Les Miserable by Victor Hugo. I hope to keep this up every month for the rest of the year. I guess we will see if that actually happens.

I have reviews up or coming up for these books so as usual this is just going to be a brief run down on each book I read.

Without further ado, let’s get into my August Wrap Up…

Oscar The Hungry Unicorn by Lou Carter and Nikki Dyson: This was a beautiful little book. With Unicorns all the rage at the moment this book is perfect. The story is strong and sweet and show young readers love and friendship, and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful. I don’t have a bad word to say about this book.

Holiday Adventures by Enid Blyton: I was a little disappointed with this book. I have been loving reading Enid Blyton classics over the last few months bu this one just didn’t live up to my expectations. Some of the stories is this collection were great but overall the books was a bit of a let down.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon: This book was amazing. I am so glad I finally picked it up. I loved the plot, the characters, the writing. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. I will definitely be re reading this one many times in the future.

The Marauder’s Map Guide To Hogwarts by Erinn Pascal: This book was awesome. Filled with interesting information about Hogwarts and amazing illustrations, this book is a must have for all Harry Potter fans. It comes with a torch wand that reveals hidden messages when you shine it on the pages and an invisible ink marker so that you can write your own secret messages. I absolutely love this book.

Diagon Alley: A Movie Scrapbook by Jody Revenson: I adored this book. It was over flowing with fantastic information and behind the scenes secrets, as well as leaflets, stickers and really awesome fold out posters. This is another must have for all Harry Potter fans. I am totally in love with this book.

The Bulldog Track by Peter Phelps: This book was wonderful. I am really interested in Australian military History and I have read many book about the Kokoda Track so I was genuinely surprised that I had never hear of The Bulldog Track ‘the other Kokoda’. I am so glad I have read this book and I cant wait to share it with my friends and family.

Forgotten Women: The Writers by Zing Tsjeng: This book was amazing. Reading about these amazing women was such a wonderful experience. I am so excited to delve deep into the women in this book. I am so glad I got to read this book and I truly believe this book is a must read for everyone.

Forgotten Women: The Artists by Zing Tsjeng: I loved this book. I don’t know a whole lot about art or Artists, but I really enjoyed this book. Reading about these extraordinary women, and the lives they led was really inspirational. I am really excited to use this book as a starting point to learn more about these amazing Artists.

Queerstories by Maeve Marsden: I didn’t love this book. I enjoyed it but it wasnt really what I expected. So of the stories in this book were beautiful and heartwarming as well as heartbreaking but that feeling just didn’t continue on through all of the stories and I found it quite jarring. I also had an issue with all of the swearing. This book is definitely not for younger readers.

Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco: I absolutely loved this book. I love the two previous books in this series and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. Thankfully it didn’t disappoint. I loved getting to catch up with Audrey Rose and Thomas and I thought the idea of a floating carnival as the back drop was brilliant. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book.

The A-Z Of Wonder Women by Yvonne Lin: I loved this book. I was so excited when I got my hands on this book. It was amazing. Great information and wonderful illustrations combine to make a fantastic book that every child especially little girls should read.

When I Was A Child by Andy Stanton and David Litchfield: This book was utterly beautiful. The story was sweet and perfect for reading out loud and the illustrations were absolutely amazing. I cant wait to share this book with all of the young readers in my life.

That’s Not What Happened by Kody Keplinger: This book was amazing. I honestly couldn’t put it down and have already lent it to my sister. It was raw, emotional and at times confronting. The topic was perfectly handled and I truly believe this book should be read by everyone.

Shakespeare: I read 1 Shakespeare play and 10 Sonnets in August. I read the following Shakespeare Works This Month:

King Richard The Second

Sonnets 71-80

Les Miserable: For those who don’t know this novel, it is broken up into character sections with each character section containing ‘books’. Within each of these books are chapters. These ‘books’ come in various sizes, it is just the luck of the draw really. I hope to read 3 ‘books’ each month. I have read the following ‘books’ this month:

The Idyll In The Rue Plumet And The Epic Of The Rue Saint-Denis:

– Book 6: The Boy Gavroche

– Book 7: Argot

– Book 8: Enchantment And Despair

Brother’s Grimm: I am happy to say that I not only completed my goals of reading 5 Brother Grimm Fairy Tales in August, I doubled it. I read the following Tales this month:

The Water-Nix

Stories About Snakes

Knoist And His Three Sons

The Old Man And His Grandson

The Bittern And The Hoopoe

The Star-Money

The Stolen Farthings

The Flail From Heaven

The Old Man Made Young Again

Odds And Ends

That’s it for my August Wrap Up. I hope you all had a great reading month. Let me know what you guys read this month in the comments section.

Until my September Wrap Up…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

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Q&A With Fiona Palmer

Today I am lucky enough to be hosting a Q&A with Fiona Palmer. This Q&A is conjunction with the release of Fiona Palmers’s book latest novel; Sisters And Brothers.

So without further ado, lets jump in…

Where and when can we buy your book?

You can buy the book from 28 August at all good bookshops. Link here: https://www.hachette.com.au/fiona-palmer/sisters-and-brothers

Give us an insight into your main character?

I have five characters in this book, but I think the main one might be Bill, the father in the middle of it all. The story starts in the mid 1970s when Bill meets the love of his life and their journey. Then the rest of the book is set in the current day with his daughter Sarah at the centre of the story and how her life changes. Sarah is a hard-working mum trying to juggle the pressures of mummy peer pressure, sure she looks like the perfect wife and mum with all her crap together, but underneath she is a shell, a lost unhappy person.

Was there a particular moment that sparked your idea for this book?

Yes, reading an article about a man looking for his biological father. He did a DNA test through a private investigator and found he had over a thousand half brothers and sisters also looking for their father. Who turned out to be a postman that had been very, very busy over the years on his mail run. It sparked many ideas combined with my own grandad’s adoption story. I had many ‘what if’s’ I wanted to explore.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character/s from this book?

Oh I haven’t thought that far yet. I have photos I found of the characters and used them when writing the book, so at the moment, that is who I see when I think of these characters.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I didn’t decide it, it chose me! It was never on my radar, being close to failing English because you can’t spell or understand grammar made it clear to me that writing was never on my agenda. But no one told me that had nothing to do with writing a story. Those I had plenty of. So much goes on in my brain, creating to the point I started writing it down just to free my mind. And learning to touch type at College made the task so much easier. Then before I knew it I had a story typed out. (Well it took three years between running a business and raising two babies!!) The next step seemed to be trying to get it published. It wasn’t like I started writing with a plan to publish a book. I wrote to free my mind and ended up with something that people told me to try to get it published. I haven’t looked back.

Do you have a special time or place where you like to write?

I have an office at the back of the house. It’s freezing in winter and hot in summer lol. But I find I write better at night when I’m not distracted by the outside and other jobs. At night its dark, dinner is done and I can put on some music and get lost in the words. I can waste a whole day trying to write 1000 words or at night I can spend two hours and write 2000.

What is the hardest/easiest thing about writing?

Procrastinating. That’s why I like to keep busy. I go to my farm job, fill my days in so I have to make the most of the writing time I have. If I find myself with a week off work and can spend the whole time writing…I find I’ll write one day and spend the rest binge watching TV shows!!!! I can be soooo lazy!

Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?

Music helps me. Helps to get me motivated and clear any other wayward thoughts in my head. Then I re-read the last chapter I wrote and then just try to write…anything…even if its crap. You can always fix crap… you can’t fix a blank page.

What book/s are you reading at present?

I’ve just started Pachinko by Min Jin Lee as it’s our bookclub book. I also had Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine on audio book. I think the reader made the story even better!

What is your favourite book and why?

Tough one, it changes depending on my mood. Years ago it was Vampire Academy. Now it’s Sarah J Mass’s books; the Throne of Glass series. I love reading YA, fast-paced exciting novels.

Which writers inspire you?

Some writers I read and their books are so good I just feel like a failure. It’s not so much writers that inspire me but life itself. Nature, people, situations and moments in life. It was these things in the first place that led me to writing and still do.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t give your kids a mobile phone! Stay tuned for a book related to this issue.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?

Harry Potter because this book drew me back into reading. I’d forgotten the joy and the excitement of living through a book. So glad she wrote a whole heap! Plus then I wouldn’t have to work again!

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Just keep writing. Write what you love, what you are passionate about and what you love to read. Don’t stress the small stuff. Edit the book when you are done. First, get it down.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

http://www.fionapalmer.com

Facebook: FionaPalmerRuralAuthor

Twitter: @fiona_palmer

Instagram: @fiona_palmer

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed today’s Q&A. Dont forget to check out Sisters And Brothers by Fiona Palmer.

https://www.hachette.com.au/fiona-palmer/sisters-and-brothers

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

The Famous Five: Five On Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

‘The very first Famous Five adventure, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy!

There’s a shipwreck off Kirrin Island! But where is the treasure? The Famous Five are on the trail – looking for clues – but they’re not alone! Someone else has got the same idea. Time is running out for the Famous Five, who will follow the clues and get to the treasure first?’

I loved this book.

‘The Famous Five’ is Enid Blyton’s most popular series based on the characters Julian, Dick and Anne, George and Timmy the dog. They are fun and exciting, with great story lines and great characters.

Enid Blyton created truly relatable characters complete with faults. Young readers can easily identify with these characters and really connect with them and there friendships.

The Famous Five is filled with exciting adventures involving lost treasures, secret maps, and a deserted island with castle ruins. The story takes place in a quaint seaside village where the children spend there days exploring and adventuring.

I first read Five on a Treasure Island as a child and I loved this story and all the other Famous Five adventures. I always wished I could be one of the Famous Five.
As an adult, I was just as excited about this story. It was like taking a trip down memory lane. Enid Blyton just seemed to understand how children think and her stories, even though they were written decades ago, are still relevent today. This book and other Enid Blyton classics should be a staple for all young readers.
The Famous Five series were my favourite Enid Blyton books as a child and I am so glad I am getting the chance to relive these simpler times through these amazing books.

The Famous Five by Enid Blyton is the perfect book for young reader or for readers who are young at heart.

Queerstories by Maeve Marsden

‘From hilarious anecdotes of an awkward adolescence, to heartwarming stories of family acceptance and self-discovery, the LGBTQIA+ community has been sharing stories for centuries, creating their own histories, disrupting and reinventing conventional ideas about narrative, family, love and community.

Curated from the hugely popular Queerstories storytelling event this important collection features stories from Benjamin Law, Jen Cloher, Nayuka Gorrie, Peter Polites, Candy Royalle, Rebecca Shaw, Simon ‘Pauline Pantsdown’ Hunt, Steven Lindsay Ross, Amy Coopes, Paul van Reyk, Mama Alto, Liz Duck-Chong, Maxine Kauter, David Cunningham, Peter Taggart, Ben McLeay, Jax Jacki Brown, Ginger Valentine, Candy Bowers, Simon Copland, Kelly Azizi, Nic Holas, Quinn Eades, Vicki Melson, Tim Bishop and Maeve Marsden.’

There is a lot to unpack in this book.

This jam-packed book contains a wide range of stories written by various members of the LGBTQIA+ community. With so many different voices and a massive selection of stories to choose from, this collection can be read from start to finish or picked up at a random story.

I honestly don’t know what I was expecting from this book. I guess I just didn’t expect what I got. Does that make sense? This book was filled will interesting stories but it just didn’t have any flow. The lack of cohesion between the stories was really jarring. I read this book from start to finish, so for those who are just reading it story to story this may not be an issue.

Some of the stories in this collection were beautiful. They were funny, heartwarming and really captivating. I had moments of both laughter and tears whilst reading some of these stories.

I did find that some of the stories just didn’t resonate with me. I didn’t feel any emotional attachment to them at all. I also had trouble dealing with all of the adult language and other adults themes. I dint alway notice it, but when I did I just found it unnecessary and sometimes damaging to the story being told.

I don’t have a problem with adult themes and language on a whole, but I felt like it was overused in some of the stories. If the story called for it, I didn’t even notice but some of the stories were just flooded with it for no apparent reason.

If you have an issue with adult theme or language, this is not a book for you. As a warning this book is definitely not suited for younger readers. Adults only would be my recommendation.

Queerstories by Maeve Marsden is and interesting read that will make you think.

Father’s Day Reads…

Welcome one and all to another Wacky Wednesday post. With Father’s Day coming up on Sunday week in Australia, I have decided to go through my Top Father’s Day Reads. If you’re looking for something to read or something to Gift this Father’s Day then this list is for you.

So without further ado, lets jump into my Father’s Day Reads:

Minefields by Hugh Riminton: This amazing memoir covers so many historic events that many readers will be familiar with. I loved this book. The writing was emotive, the subjects were moving and wonderfully described, and the layout was perfect. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book.

A Little Book About Me And My Daddy by Jedda Robaard: When I saw this book I had to have it. It looked so sweet and warm and I couldn’t resist buying it. I am so glad I did, the book definitely lived up to its cover. Not only is it a great book but it is interactive and totally adorable. I just loved this book so much. If you are look for a gift for your child to give their Dad this Father’s Day, this is the book for you.

Bad Dad by David Walliams: How can you not love David Walliams. This book, like all the rest, was absolutely perfect. I loved the relationship between Frank and his Dad so much, it was a beautiful thing to read about. I honestly cant wait to see what David Walliams comes out with next. This book is well worth a read this Father’s Day weekend. If you have a child in your house maybe you could get it for them to read with their Dad this Father’s Day.

The Water Diviner by Andrew Anastasios: This amazing book details the lengths a Father will go to in order to find his sons and bring them home. This beautiful, emotional story is filled with both heartwarming and heartbreaking moments that truly show what a Father’s love looks like. This book is well deserving of a place on this list. If you havent read this book, get yourself a copy now.

The Looney Tunes Treasury by Andrew Farago: This was an interesting pick for this list, I know. My thinking was more about how much I loved this book, and how maybe the best book to give your Dad is somethings that he can just browse whenever he is in the mood. I loved this book so I hope you do read it, but it is really just representing any sort of book that is a collection of information. Whether you Dad is into Looney Tunes, Beer, Music or Sport, these collection books make for great reads and great gifts.

Well that’s it from me. I hope you guys enjoyed this post. As usual if you have read any of these books or you have any recommendations for me, hit me up in the comments section.

Until next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

The Bulldog Track by Peter Phelps 

March 1942: The world is at war. Too old to fight and with jobs scarce at home, Tom Phelps found work as a carpenter in the goldfields of the New Guinea Highlands. No one expected the Japanese to attack in the Pacific. But they did.

Tom and his mates weren’t going to hang around and wait to be killed. With escape routes bombed by the Japanese, their only option was to try to reach safety by foot, through some of the most rugged terrain on Earth – the Bulldog Track.

Back home in Sydney, Rose Phelps, their son, George, and three daughters, Joy, Shirley and Ann, waited for news of Tom’s fate. George watched the horrors of war unfold on newsreels knowing his dad was ‘over there’.

Travelling by foot, raft, canoe, schooner, train, luck and courage, Tom Phelps, half-starved and suffering malaria, would eventually make it home. His stories of New Guinea would lead his son and grandson to their own experiences with the country.’

This book was wonderful.

I was so excited to read this book and it didn’t disappoint. I am a pretty big fan of Australian Military history so I have read many books about the Kokoda Track but I had never even heard of The Bulldog Track or the ‘other Kokoda Track’ as it is sometimes known.

To get to learn about The Bulldog Track while following a group of ordinary men, as well as learning about Tom Phelps and his family made for a truly wonderful reading experience.

This book perfectly captures the Aussie spirit and the heart of what mateship really means. Reading about these amazing men and the journey that they went through was not only informative but emotional too.

I loved that this book not only followed the men on their journey over The Bulldog Track but it also gave the reader a glimpse into what it was like for the families that were left behind in Australia during War time.

I can’t imagine a better book to introduce a reader to The Bulldog Track and I am genuinely excited to learn more about this topic.

The Bulldog Track by Peter Phelps is a must read for all Australians.

The Marauder’s Map Guide To Hogwarts by Erinn Pascal

‘”I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.”

For years, Harry Potter film fans have marveled over the Marauder’s Map, the enchanted map of Hogwarts that first appears in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. For the first time, readers can relive all the movie magic with this beautiful guidebook to the secrets of Hogwarts, complete with four foldout pages containing portions of the map.

When all is said and done, this spellbinding guide is sure to have fans saying, “Mischief managed.”‘

This book is awesome.

This fantastic book is not only filled with awesome information its interactive. As you make you way through the book and open the fold out maps you can use the wand that comes with the book which is not only an awesome wand but a torch to read hidden messages on the pages.

I found so many interesting things I didn’t know about in this book. I wasnt expecting it to have so much information in it. I also wasnt expecting it to have behind the scene information that I didn’t know about.

After you have absorbed all this wonderful information and gone over the maps with your wand light to find the hidden messages, you can use the other end of the wans, which is an invisible ink marker to write your own messages and creat your own map on the blank parchment pages at the back of the book.

The Marauder’s Map is one of my favourite creations from the Harry Potter Universe so as soon as I saw this book I knew I and to have it. I also knew that I would love it. However I didn’t realise just how magical this book was going to be.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book and I am extremely grateful that I now have it for my Harry Potter collection.

The Marauder’s Map Guide To Hogwarts is a must have for all Harry Potter fans.

Birthday Haul/Party Wrap Up…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME…

This past week I turned the big 3-0. So I have decided today im going to share my Birthday Haul and Wrap Up My Awesome Party.

Birthday Haul!!!

As usual I was very spoilt by my friends and family so I am not going to go into detail on  all of the goodies I was given im just going to list the Harry Potter or Book related gifts:

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Harry Potter Sorting Hat

Harry Potter Music Box

Harry Potter – Platform 9 3/4 Purse

Harry Potter Pillow Case

Harry Potter Diagon Alley Scrapbook

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The Marauder’s Map Gide To Hogwarts

Harry Potter – Gryffindor Hair Bow

Harry Potter Charm Bracelet

Harry Potter – Eye Of The Basalisk Print

img_2622Harry Potter – Call Of The Warewolf Print

Harry Potter – Underwater Challenge Print

Harry Potter – Magic Spells A5 Notebook

Harry Potter Deluminator Replicaimg_2778

Golden Snitch Lapel Pin

Harry Potter – Ron Weasley Pen

 

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Harry Potter – Quidditch World Cup Tin Sign

Harry Potter – Order of the Phoenix Tin Sign

Undesirable Number 1 Notebook

Harry Potter – Deathly Hallows Backpack

Harry Potter – Letter Pencil Caseimg_2777

Harry Potter Pop Doll

Harry Potter – Hogwarts Slogan Vintage Mug

Harry Potter – Take Me To Hogwarts Ring

Book Sleeve

Animal Bookmarks

Thumb/Page Holder

 

 

Now for my Party Wrap Up!!!

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I have been planning my 30th party for a long time and it was everything I had hoped for.

If you have read my blog before you know that I love Harry Potter, so it shouldnt be a surprise that my 30th was a Harry Potter themed Fancy Dress Party.

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I kept the guest list small so I could have it at home, I didn’t want to spend money on renting a room, I had more important things to spend money on.img_2802

I had Harry Potter theme everything; food, drinks, decorations, cake. We had games; Pin the Sock On Dobby, Ministry Of Magic Post, Quidditch Beer Pong. I also had various thing set up for photographs; Wanted Posters, Sorting Hat, Flying Hogwarts Letters, Platform 9 3/4.img_2803

 

My little sister who is the creative/artsy member of our family helped me make a lot of the awesome things we had; Gringotts Banks with Chocolate Coins, Olivander’s Wand Shop where each guest got a hand-made wand, Ministry Decree’s for decoration.

 

 

 

My Party wouldn’t have been as awesome as it was without her help.img_2805

I chose to have a barbecue for the main food, but all of the snacks had Harry Potter

themed names. I did however have a few actual Harry Potter treats; Butter-Beer and Liquid Luck which each guest got on arrival; which was of course through Platform 9 3/4.

We had prizes for Quidditch Beer Pong, Pin The Sock On Dobby, Ministry Mail, Harry Potter Trivia and of course for Best Dressed.

I had so much fun planning and organising this party and I am so proud of the way it turned out.

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I had an amazing night and I don’t have the words to describe how thankful I am for my amazing family and friends for making it such a wonderful night.

That’s it for My Birthday Haul and Party Wrap up. If you would like to see more photo’s from the Party check out my Instagram; Instagram.com/gemsbooknook

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Diagon Alley: A Movie Scrapbook by Jody Revenson

‘Diagon Alley is a cobblestone shopping area for wizards and witches, and it was Harry Potter’s first introduction to the wizarding world. On this bustling street, seen throughout the Harry Potter films, the latest brooms are for sale, wizard authors give book signings and young Hogwarts students acquire their school supplies – cauldrons, quills, robes, wands and brooms.

This scrapbook takes readers on a tour of Diagon Alley, from Gringotts to Ollivanders, Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and beyond. Detailed profiles of each shop that give readers an unprecedented inside look at the beloved wizarding location.

This book is amazing.

This fantastic book was over flowing with Harry Potter magic. Not only did it have wonderful information such as illustrations, behind the scenes photographs and insights from the actors and film-makers.

Not only is this book a wealth of awesome information but it is packed full of interesting features. With removable inserts such as stickers, wanted posters, maps and other Harry Potter collectables. I honestly didn’t expect this book to have so many wonderful pull outs and paper knick knacks.

I have found with scrapbooks like these that sometimes they lack any new information, but that isn’t the case with this book. I found out quite a few things that I didn’t already know and was blow away while reading some of the details about how the movies were made. Not only does this book have amazing features but it has truly interesting information.

One of the things I loved mot about this book was getting to revisit some iconic scenes from the movies, like Harry’s first visit to Ollivanders, or when Harry, Ron and Hermione escaped from Gringotts on the back of a dragon. Getting to relive these amazing moments and find out how they came to be made for a truly amazing reading experience.

Diagon Alley: A Movie Scrapbook by Jody Revenson is a must-have collectible for all Harry Potter fans.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

‘My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.’

I absolutely loved this book.

I honestly done have a bad word to say about this book. I couldn’t put it down and I read it in one sitting.

I loved the addition of illustrated pages in this book. They really helped to enhance the characters and give the reader an insight into their minds.

Speaking of the characters; they were fantastic. I absolutely loved the main characters and I honestly feel that all of the characters were three-dimensional and relatable. I could feel what they were felling and I couldn’t wait to learn more about them.

I loved the plot of this book just as much as I loved the characters. It was fresh and exciting. I don’t think I have ever read a story like this before. I loved the way it played out. It was sweet and romantic as well as being heartbreaking. It was one of those rare books that is equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Not only did this book have amazing characters and a great plot, the writing was truly beautiful. It had a cinematic quality that really drew me in and kept me captivated. Nicola Yoon did a fantastic job with this book, like I said, I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon is one book that is not to be missed.