The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

‘Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in with her classmates. She doesn’t want to go to parties at the weekend – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.

It’s like she hasn’t found her people …

That is until she moves to a new town where a book club, The Paper & Hearts Society, is recruiting. Tabby might just be in luck. Enough of her old “friends” who only talk to her when they need something. It’s time for Quidditch themed fancy dress parties, games like “shut up and Shakespeare” … and LOTS of chocolate.’

I adored this book.

As soon as I saw this book I knew I had to have it. I mean book lovers in a book club, discussing books, playing bookish games and going on a bookish road trip. What’s not to love.

I loved that I knew so many of the books that the characters were discussing in this book. They covered both classics and modern books which is unusual and I really loved it. As I was familiar with the books I felt like I was able to understand the characters and where they were coming from when discussing these books.

The characters in this book were amazing. They were different and diverse yet they found common ground in their love of books and developed wonderful friendship because of their common interests.

Lucy Powrie did a fantastic job with this story. It was fun and sweet while still covering some difficult topics. I though he did an amazing job in dealing with mental illness, grief and bullying. She didn’t gloss over the subjects and the characters dealt with these issues differently but in really normal ways.

The writing in this book was absolutely beautiful. It was perfectly paced and had an emotional cinematic quality about it. This made for a truly wonderful reading experience.

The Paper & Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie is a must read for everyone.

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This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

’10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.’

This book was captivating.

I honestly didn’t expect this book to get to me as much as it did. Being an Australian I don’t have any experience with School Shootings so I was really interested in reading this book. I didn’t however realize just how moved I was going to be by it.

I am not usually a fan of books being told from multiple points of view, but for this book not only did it work, I think it actually enhanced the story.

I loved the fact the the story was told over the 45 minutes that the shooting took place and that the characters were all in different parts of the school, these elements really added an urgency to the story and an extra layer of panic, fear and frustration.

Have the story told from four points of view meant that we didn’t only get to know and experience this event with the four characters but also with their friends and people close in area to them whilst the shooting was taking place.

The characters that were did get to spend the most time with were so relatable and the emotional connection between the reader and the characters was completely solid and establish from the first shot.

Marieke Nijkamp did a fantastic job with this book. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about it. I will definitely be reading it again in the future and I truly believe everyone should read this book at least once in their life.

This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp is a must read book for everyone.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

‘France, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.’

I loved this book.

I honestly don’t know if I have enough words to describe how amazing this book was.

I have read a lot of Historical Fiction so I was expecting this to be an emotional read, but I was overwhelmed by how much I connected with these characters. I loved that each of the characters where different and handled their situations how they believed was best, and I loved getting to see how these choices affected the other characters.

Kristin Hannah has done a fantastic job with this book. The writing book was utterly breathtaking. The emotions radiated off the pages, and the descriptions had a really cinematic quality to them. I had to remind myself at time that I wasn’t actually living this story with these characters.

I loved how Kristin Hannah handled the chapters set in Oregon. Not knowing which of the characters you were reading about until the end of the story made for a wonderful reading experience.

This has been one of the best books I have read this year, maybe even one of the best books I have ever read. If you are looking for a wonderful reading experience then this is the book for you.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah will take you on an emotional journey and stay with you long after the final page.

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

‘When fifteen-year-old Julia Beaufort-Stuart wakes up in the hospital, she knows the lazy summer break she’d imagined won’t be exactly like she anticipated. And once she returns to her grandfather’s estate, a bit banged up but alive, she begins to realize that her injury might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees is missing, and he disappeared on the very same day she landed in the hospital.

Desperate to figure out what happened, she befriends Euan McEwen, the Scottish Traveller boy who found her when she was injured, and his standoffish sister, Ellen. As Julie grows closer to this family, she experiences some of the prejudices they’ve grown used to firsthand, a stark contrast to her own upbringing, and finds herself exploring thrilling new experiences that have nothing to do with a missing-person investigation.

Her memory of that day returns to her in pieces, and when a body is discovered, her new friends are caught in the crosshairs of long-held biases about Travellers. Julie must get to the bottom of the mystery in order to keep them from being framed for the crime.’

I didn’t love this book.

After reading book Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein I was excited to dive into this book. unfortunately I was disappointed with it.

I could really connect with any of the characters in this story which made it really difficult to care about what was going on.

I had trouble becoming immersed in the story being told because it just didn’t capture my attention. The two previous Elizabeth Wein books I have read have been Historical Fiction that dealt with World War Two so I was interested in the subject matter. I really couldn’t care about the subject matter of this book.

Elizabeth Wein’s writing has always captivated me but it missed the mark in this book. I think it may have something to do with the way the characters spoke. This made it difficult to read certain parts of this book, especially the scenes with the travellers.

I really wanted to enjoy this book but I just couldn’t.

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein just wasnt the book for me.

Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

‘Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive.’

I adored this book.

This book took my breath away so many times. This harrowing story shows both the best and worst of humanity, while ultimately displaying the human capacity for love and hope.

The characters in this book captured my heart completely. They showed unbelievable courage and strength in the worst of circumstances. The characters were flawed and relatable, even when you couldn’t possibly understand the situations they were going through you could understand the characters themselves.

Ruta Sepetys has a truly wonderful writing style. The writing was lyrical, flowing and full of emotion and I found it to have a real cinematic quality to it. This emotive, cinematic writing made this a truly compelling read.

I am so glad I read this book. I knew nothing of the story that it told, the journey, the miles and the years that this book covers were completely new to me. I am now a little obsessed with learning more about this topic.

Between Shades Of Gray by Ruta Sepetys is an absolute must read for everyone.

February Wrap Up…

Welcome to my February Wrap Up. I had a great reading month, finishing 18 books (unfortunately 0 books off my TBR). I also received 4 ARC’s this month, and I continued my new goal of reading 1 Shakespeare play, as well as 10 Brother’s Grimm fairy-tales.

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 February Wrap Up..

Disney Pixar My Magical Story Collection: A Special Book Series. This Collection is clouded the following 15 books, which I read this month: The Lion King, Coco, Cinderella, Incredibles 2, Up, Alice In Wonderland, Monsters Inc, Frozen, Inside Out, The Jungle Book, Moana, Zootopia, Cars 3, The Beauty And The Beast, and Finding Dory. Each book is a summary of the Disney Pixar films and they are absolutely perfect. The stories were perfectly abbreviated and the illustrations just tied everything together perfectly. I’m so glad I decided to get this series, it is wonderful.

A Keeper by Graham Norton: I absolutely adored this book. The story was compelling, the characters were real and flawed and the writing and descriptions were breathtaking. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say a bout this book. A must read for everyone.

Zealot by Jo Thornely: This book was awesome. Cults have always fascinated me so I knew this book would be right up my alley. I knew about most of the cults in this book but I hadn’t read a lot about them. I really enjoyed the way in which Jo Thornely wrote about these cults, it was like you were just having a wacky conversation over a drink. I am excited to do some more reader but into these cults.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer: This book was amazing. I loved the way the two times lines bounced off one another and help each story move forward. The story itself was equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming. I genuinely believe that everyone should read this book at least once in their lifetime.

Shakespeare: I read 1 Shakespeare play in February. I read the following Shakespeare Play This Month:

Julius Caesar

Brother’s Grimm: I am happy to say that I completed my goals of reading 10 Brother Grimm Fairy Tales in February, In fact I read 11 Tales. I read the following Tales this month:

The Golden Bird

Brother Lustig

The Bright Sun Brings It To Light

The Sparrow and His Four Children

The Duration Of Life

Faithful John

The Six Swans

The Seven Ravens

The Twelve Brothers

The King’s Son Who Feared Nothing

The Drummer

That’s it for my February 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 March Wrap Up…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass

‘Meet Prince Maxon before he fell in love with America, and a girl named Amberly before she became queen. See the Selection through the eyes of a guard who watched his first love drift away and a girl who fell for a boy who wasn’t the prince. This must-have companion to the Selection series includes four novellas—two of which are only available in print in this collection—as well as exclusive bonus content.

Includes:

  • The Prince
  • The Guard
  • The Queen (in print only in this collection)
  • The Favorite (in print only in this collection)
  • Exclusive new scenes from The Selection, The Elite, and The One’

I really enjoyed this book.

As with many collections, some of the stories in this book were better than the others.

I really enjoyed getting to catch up with characters that I had grown to love in this original series and I loved getting to see important scenes shown through various characters eyes.

Kiera Cass did a fantastic job with this book. Especially the scenes and stories that involved minor characters from this original series. The back ground and insights she gave to these characters added an extra layer to their personalities and explained the decisions they made in the original books.

I loved that Kiera Cass introduced each of the stories. Her insights into the world and characters she created was a really wonderful addition to this book.

Not only was this book full of great stories and exclusive scenes, it was also illustrated. By far my favourite illustration was a beautiful map of Illéa. I loved the addition of the illustrations in this book. Even though there weren’t many of them they were place in the perfect positions to compliment each of the stories.

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass is an absolute must have for all fans of the Selection series.

The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

“Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezin ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.”

This book was absolutely amazing.

I am a huge fan of historical fiction, so getting to read an historical fiction that was based on actual events made for a wonderful reading experience.

Given the subject matter it didn’t surprise me that this was a deeply moving book. I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster from start to finish. What surprised me about this book was that even through all of the horrors that the characters experienced this book still have genuine moments of hope and joy, I really didn’t expect this book to have such a warmth about it.

Another thing that surprised me was the addition of an epilogue. I am so glad there was an epilogue at the end of this book. I became so emotionally attached to these characters I don’t know how I would have coped if I didn’t get to find out what had happened to them. Good or bad, I’m glad I got to know.

I think the fact this this book follows a young girl gives this story an innocence that you don’t usually find in historical fiction. The joy and happiness that Dita and the other young charactrs got from books is something that I believe would have been lost if it was told from an adults point of view.

As a reader, I loved seeing the impact the books had on the characters. Seeing how these simple, damaged books changed both hearts and minds made me truly greatful for my love of books.

The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antoni Iturbe, Translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites is a must read for everyone. This story will stay with you long after the final page.

February TBR…

It’s that time again… TBR…

I had a good reading month in January, reading 8 books (4 books from my TBR). I am aiming smaller this month hoping to read 4 or 5 books in February. I am also hoping to read at least 1 Shakespeare Play, and 10 fairy-tales from The Brother’s Grimm.

As usual this TBR is bound to change, so this is what my TBR looks like at the moment.

So without further ado here is my February TBR:

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Smoky The Brave by Damien Lewis

Siren’s Wave by J.A. Hazel

Grind by Edward Vukovic

Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth

Stranger Than FanFiction by Chris Colfer

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Everless by Sara Holland

Clean by Juno Dawson

Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley

I guess we will see how I did in my February Wrap up. I hope you all have a great reading month, As usual keep your eye out for reviews.

Untill next time…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem

January Wrap Up…

Welcome to my January Wrap Up. I had a good reading month, finishing 8 books (4 books off my TBR). I also received 4 ARC’s this month, and I continued my new goal of reading 1 Shakespeare play, as well as 10 Brother’s Grimm fairy-tales.

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 January Wrap Up…

Harry Potter: Hogwarts A Movie Scrapbook by Jody Revenson: I loved this book. It was filled with awesome photographs and amazing behind the scenes information. Not to mention all of the removable treats that littered the pages of this book. This is a must have for all Harry Potter fans.

Happily Ever After by Kiera Cass: This book is a collection of novellas and bonus content that accompanies The Selection series. I really enjoyed this book. As with most collections some stories were better than others but overall I found myself really getting into these stories. I am thinking I may need to re read the entire Selection series now. If you love the Selection series this book is a must read.

The Book Of Daniel by Jeff Apter: This book was amazing. As a fan of Daniel Johns I knew I was going to love this book. I didn’t expect to be so moved by it. With amazing insights, interviews with Daniel and his friends and family, as well as great photographs, this book is a must have for all Daniel Johns fans and all music fans.

Saving You by Charlotte Nash: This book was absolutly beautiful. The story was compelling, the characters were real and flawed, and it had a genuine emotional kick. I didn’t want this story to end. I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this amazing book. If you are looking for a great Australian read, this is the book for you.

Boy Erased by Garrard Conley: This book was absolutely heartbreaking. This amazing memoir takes the reader on an emotional journey through conversion therapy and how this practice affected so many people’s lives. It was hard to read at times and even harder to come to terms with the fact that it is still happening today. This book was a real eye opener.

The Librarian Of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe: Based on the true story of Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus. Translated by Litit Zekulin Thwaites. This book was absolutely mesmerising. It was heartbreaking and compelling. I didn’t want to put it down. It was an emotional journey reading this book but it was so worth it in the end. A must read for everybody.

The House Of Second Chances by Esther Campion: I absolutely adored this book. The writing was beautiful, the story was compelling and the characters were real, flawed and relatable. You don’t have to have read Leaving Ocean Road in order to love this book but if you have there are plenty of Easter eggs for you to enjoy. I am sad that I have finished this book. I want more.

Landscape With Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson: This was a strange book for me. It was a bit choppy in its flow and there were a lot of stop start moments yet I really enjoy it. I couldn’t get over how beautiful the writing is. The writing has a real lyrical feel and the descriptions, especially those of the art were absolutely breathtaking. I will definitely be reading this book again.

Shakespeare: I read 1 Shakespeare play in January. I read the following Shakespeare Play This Month:

The Two Gentlemen Of Verona

Brother’s Grimm: I am happy to say that I completed my goals of reading 10 Brother Grimm Fairy Tales in January. I read the following Tales this month:

The Tailor In Heaven

The Peasant In Heaven

The Moon

Eve’s Various Children

The Poor Boy In The Grave

Clever Grethel

Our Lady’s Child

Gambling Hansel

Hansel And Gretel

Master Pfriem

Iron John

That’s it for my January 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 February Wrap Up…

Happy Reading…

❤ Gem