Book Review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

36127456Book Summary 

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

My Thoughts 

Kasie West has now written ten books. I have been a huge fan of her books, ever since I read The Distance Between Us for the first time (which is still my favorite of hers, by the way). I think she does a great job of creating relatable characters with cute storylines.

Does this plotline sound a little familiar?

Ahem.

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I definitely got some Radio Rebel vibes from this book. Which is not a bad thing!! I actually thought the plot flowed pretty well and I enjoyed it. I’m just saying, if you enjoyed the Disney Channel original movie, you’ll probably like this as well.

Personally, my favorite character was Alana. One of my favorite things about Kasie West is that she always manages to create very wholesome relationships between her MC’s friends and family. Alana was such a supportive and loyal best friend, and her witty banter with Kate was definitely done in classic Kasie West style. Also, Kate lives next door to a bunch of her cousins, so there is a strong family aspect as well!!

Can we just give a quick round of applause for acknowledging that there are still some protagonists in the book world who respect their parents and listen to their advice instead of rebelling against them always?

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THANK. YOU. KASIE. WEST.

And the love interest! Oh. My. Gosh. Diego is so cute!! He is polite, sweet, thoughtful, and just all around ADORABLE.  He’s honestly the biggest part of the conflict in this book- Alana is dating him when Kate falls for him too- the real question is, who is Diego in love with??

I guess you’ll have to read to find out!

My kudos to Kasie West for reminding us that friendship > boys. I live for strong female friendships and Listen to Your Heart delivers.

Read If You’d Like:

  •  a quick, fluffy summer read
  • school podcasts
  • lounging on the lake
  • strong friendships + family bonds
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Book Review: Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

31952703I wish I had adequate words to describe my feelings for this book.

After I finished, I kind of just stared out the window of the car and held the words I’d just read close to my heart, like a beautiful moment that I wanted freeze for just a few seconds more.

This book is, undoubtedly, written in deep blue. It deals with authentic, real themes such as grief, death, divorce, and (the dreaded enemy of any teenage lovers) unrequited love.

The main characters, Rachel and Henry, felt like real people. Their backgrounds were not explored in depth, but the development over the course of the book was amazing. They both had their own struggles and their own voice. The book was split into POV between the two of them, and unlike most books that do this, I was able to distinguish between Rachel’s voice and Henry’s voice.

And even the side characters had amazing storylines, which is so rare in YA fiction these days. I loved Henry’s odd, cute, and lovable sister George. And Rachel’s connection to her brother, Cal, who drowns before the book takes place, is heart wrenching, heartbreaking, and heartwarming all at the same time. I almost wish the book had explored some of the side characters more, because they were all uniquely intriguing and I wanted to keep following their story.

One thing I loved even more than the characters, though, was the setting and the idea behind it. This mostly took place inside a bookshop that Henry’s family owns. It has a section called “The Letter Library” where people can leave notes in the margins of books or underline words for other people to find. Normally I am completely against writing in books, but in this context I think it’s a lovely idea.

The only thing I disliked about this book (at times) was the writing style. It fluctuated from being very descriptive to very succinct and precise and sometimes I just wanted more. Perhaps the author wanted it to be simplistic, but I thought it would benefit more in places if we were shown more and told less.

Overall, if you like books, oceans, and a bit of a happy sort of sadness, I’d say you would find Words in Deep Blue quite enjoyable.

 

18 Books to Read in 2018

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2017 was a pretty dang good year for YA releases (my primary genre of choice), but I have to say that 2018 looks EVEN BETTER. 

#1: Not If I Save You First by Ally Carter

Release Date: March 27th, 2018

35238072Blurb: 

Maddie thought she and Logan would be friends forever. But when your dad is a Secret Service agent and your best friend is the president’s son, sometimes life has other plans. Before she knows it, Maddie’s dad is dragging her to a cabin in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness.

No phone.
No Internet.
And not a single word from Logan.

Maddie tells herself it’s okay. After all, she’s the most popular girl for twenty miles in any direction. (She’s also the only girl for twenty miles in any direction.) She has wood to cut and weapons to bedazzle. Her life is full.
Until Logan shows up six years later . . .
And Maddie wants to kill him.

But before that can happen, an assailant appears out of nowhere, knocking Maddie off a cliff and dragging Logan to some unknown fate. Maddie knows she could turn back- and get help. But the weather is turning and the terrain will only get more treacherous, the animals more deadly.

Maddie still really wants to kill Logan.
But she has to save him first.

Why Read? Ummmm so this is another amazing Ally Carter spy novel?? Also suppressing the urge to kill irritating boys is super relatable.

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2017: My Year In Books

2017 is finally over, and boy am I glad!! This was one of my lowest points reading wise ever. Usually I can easily read over 150 books in one year, but this year I only read… drumroll please… 48 books.

I think this was probably due to the fact that during the months of August-December, I was so overloaded with college and homework and other stresses that I didn’t read very much. I’m hoping that as the new year approaches, I will find more free time to start blogging and reading and writing more often.

I did, however, want to take a moment and look back at my 2017 year of reading and set some goals for this coming year.

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Hello! I Am NOT Dead, Just… Exhausted.

HELLO MY BOOKWORM FRIENDS.

It’s Sarah, the girl you haven’t heard from in almost six months? Whoops. Yeah. That’s me.

I heard some interesting rumours circulating through the blogsphere that I am dead.. and… that’s not true.

Just in case you were worried.

I know what you’re thinking… SARAH WHERE HAVE U BEEN.

And the answer, my friend, is: College.

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(actual gif of me crying)

I honestly did not expect college to be this busy. Or this draining. I am taking some difficult general credits (send HELP please) and I have not even finished a single book on my own free time yet. I know. It’s awful.

I did read a bunch of boring history books that are N.O.T. worth reviewing, but other than that nothing has happened that I felt like documenting on this blog.

BUT

Next semester (starting January), I will have so much more free time!! I decided to treat myself and take a Creative Writing class that I am STOKED for. Which means I will finally have time to read (and hopefully review) some books!! I am relieved!

Please comment some of your favorite new reads below, I am so behind on the times. I promise Breathe Pages will be fully operational come January!! I need some new things to read.

See you soon!

xo/Sarah

#WriteRight: How to Choose the Perfect Character Name in Three Easy Steps

 

Copy of talk to me.pngA character’s name is not only the first decision you’ll make regarding their character background- it’s also probably one of the most important decisions. You want their name to have meaning and value. Sometimes you might want an average name, like Joe or Jane.

If you do want to go the more interesting route, please be careful. If you end up with something ridiculous, like Mirekendesworhten, your poor readers are going to want to cut out your tongue. (No offense to the Mirekendesworhtens of the world. Sorry.) You want the name to be awesome and easy to pronounce.

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So You Want to Publish a Book: A Guide to Self-Publishing

In early 2016, I began a process that was completely foreign to me: self-publishing. After almost eight months, I finally published my first novel, The Rose Garden. To date, it has sold over 300 copies, and to celebrate I thought I would shed a little light on the whole process for you curious little minds out there.

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Write your book. And rewrite. And rewrite.

True, this step is kind of a given, but it’s the most important out of all the steps. Let me stress this: just because your book is self-published does not mean it can still be full of errors. You want to put out quality work, here! Your book is important, and you should make sure that it’s close to perfect before you put it out there. Your readers don’t want to feel like they’re reading one of your high school essays.

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#WriteRight: Five Overused Romance Tactics You Should Definitely Avoid

And I’m back for more writing advice. Today I’m here to talk about one of the most complicated parts of writing any story… the romance.

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After reading thousands of books throughout my professional reading career, I have reached a simple conclusion: Love sells. Almost every single book I’ve ever read contains some form of love. It’s easy to understand why: love is relatable. Every human being has a natural desire to love and be loved. The reason we like to read about love is because we all either have experienced it or want to experience it.

Love comes in many forms- friendship, family, or romantic. But at some point in your novel, you’ll want to include some form of relationship between your characters. And the most popular type of love, especially in YA fiction, is the romantic kind. Whether or not your book is a “romance novel,” you’ll probably end up writing about some sort of relationship. And it’s important to get this right, because it might be what makes or breaks your novel.

Here are five clichés I know I’m tired of- it’s probably best to avoid them all together.

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Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson: ft. Jane Austen Vibes and Swoon Worthy Boys

An immersive read for Austen fans alike, Edenbrooke suffers slightly in excess description and repetitiveness, but will ultimately enchant readers craving Regency Era romance.

So, fun fact- I recently got a job at a bookstore. And I’m telling you, working12820360 at a bookstore is the ultimate dream job. Full disclosure, it’s not really healthy for my wallet, but it’s a heavenly experience.

And there’s this book that my manager loves called Edenbrooke. I mentioned once that I’m kind of a Jane Austen fan, and she promised me that I would love Edenbrooke as well.

Yesterday at work I caved and bought it. (I have absolutely zero self-control when it comes to buying books. Hahahaha.) I went home, sat on my bed and opened to page one, and didn’t move until I’d closed the book three hours later.

There were a *few* things that bugged me, but overall this was probably one of the best Regency Era novels I’ve ever read. If you’re a fellow Jane Austen fan, I would totally recommend this book to you. If you like flirtatious rich young men (@ me) you will love this book.

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