How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake Book Review

Goodreads Summary:

All seventeen year-old Grace Glasser wants is her own life. A normal life in which she sleeps in the same bed for longer than three months and doesn’t have to scrounge for spare change to make sure the electric bill is paid. Emotionally trapped by her unreliable mother, Maggie, and the tiny cape on which she lives, she focuses on her best friend, her upcoming audition for a top music school in New York, and surviving Maggie’s latest boyfriend—who happens to be Grace’s own ex-boyfriend’s father.
Her attempts to lay low until she graduates are disrupted when she meets Eva, a girl with her own share of ghosts she’s trying to outrun. Grief-stricken and lonely, Eva pulls Grace into midnight adventures and feelings Grace never planned on. When Eva tells Grace she likes girls, both of their worlds open up. But, united by loss, Eva also shares a connection with Maggie. As Grace’s mother spirals downward, both girls must figure out how to love and how to move on. 

My rating:5/5 stars

My thoughts:

You know those books that are sad and beautiful at the same time and every page is just one overload of feels? How To Make A Wish was one of those books. One minute I was crying the next I was squealing and I finished the book a mess. Though it’s always overwhelming reading a book like this, it’s my favorite type of book to read. I can’t ride roller coasters so books like these are the closest I get.

F/f are my favorite types of stories and How to Make a Wish was no expection. Grace and Eva were adorable together and though there was many obstacles, their love prevailed which is always great with stories like these. Their relationship was very authentic and raw while still being able to uphold the fluffy aspect. I also really liked how unapologetically bi Gracie was, and how it never  really posed a problem for anyone that she told.She was very comfortable in her sexuality which YA needs more of.

While the relationship aspect part of this novel was definitely my favorite part, I also thought that Grace’s relationship with her mother was extremely well done. It was complicated and real, and I think it accurately depicted the difficulties that one faced in times like this. I also thought the relationship between Grace’s mom and Eva to be really interesting,poignant and really heartbreaking. Grief was a central theme in this novel, and I thought it was handled expertedly.

While I really loved the friendship between Gracie and her best friend: Lucas, I felt as though it could have been slightly expanded on. I loved what we got, loved how supportive Lucas was and how much his entire family cared about her, I think there could’ve been just a little more. I would’ve loved to see  more of his personality, maybe learned about his creations and know a little about his girlfriend. Another thing I would’ve liked to see is a little more description of Graces town, because it sounded really adorable but we really only saw the lighthouse and the diner. I think that could’ve have been a nice bonding moment between Eva and Gracie.

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Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall

Goodreads Summary:At seventeen, Norah has accepted that the four walls of her house delineate her life. She knows that fearing everything from inland tsunamis to odd numbers is irrational, but her mind insists the world outside is too big, too dangerous. So she stays safe inside, watching others’ lives through her windows and social media feed.
But when Luke arrives on her doorstep, he doesn’t see a girl defined by medical terms and mental health. Instead, he sees a girl who is funny, smart, and brave. And Norah likes what he sees.
Their friendship turns deeper, but Norah knows Luke deserves a normal girl. One who can walk beneath the open sky. One who is unafraid of kissing. One who isn’t so screwed up. Can she let him go for his own good—or can Norah learn to see herself through Luke’s eyes? 

My rating:4/5 stars

My thoughts:
One of my biggest pet peeves is romance novels that feature a mentally ill Mc who gets better after she falls in love. No matter how strong love is, it can never cure mental illnesses and for authors to constantly utilize this trope is frustrating and so problematic. When I heard that Under Rose Tainted Skies was a book that didn’t follow this annoying trope, I knew that I had to read it. I definitely wasn’t disappointed and I’m truly amazed at the way the mental illness was handled.

From what I understand, the author herself has some sort of mental illness- I’m not exactly sure what- so I’m pretty sure that this is partially #ownvoices which is always great. I thought the author’s depiction of Norah’s agarophobia was really great- I recently read Follow Me Back and the Mc has agarophobia but comparing the two, it seems that Under Rose a Tainted Skies. I thought it was particularly interesting how there wasn’t any specific tragic incident that triggered it, and it just manifested itself. Mental illness can’t always be so easily pinpointed to one specific incident, but that doesn’t it make any less valid or real. A lot of the stories I’ve read that feature characters with anxiety disorders often rely on the tragic incident as a major plot which I’m really not a fan of so I’m glad that this book didn’t do that.

As I said, I loved how Norah’s mental illness didn’t magically disappear after meeting Luke,love doesn’t magically change anything.She does make a lot of progress throughout the book but by the end, there’s still a lot of work to be done and that’s okay.It’s extremely hard and any step-no matter how small- is amazing. 

While love doesn’t cure all, and is definitely more of a side-plot with Norah’s illness being the central focus,it’s still very well developed and adorable. Luke is so supportive and understanding and doesn’t overstep his boundaries and is everything you can dream of in a love interest. He doesn’t force Norah to do anything that she doesn’t want to do.Norah’s her own hero but Luke helps her in the best way he can.

One thing that I think would have been interesting to see would be a resolving of the friends she lost touch in. I think it would’ve been interesting if one of her friends came to see her and apologized because Norah was really lacking any supportive girls of her own age which would have been nice to see.

The only problem I had with the novel was the development of the climax. I found it a little rushed and a little bit unrealistic? It just seemed so unlikely to occur and this event wasn’t given nearly the length of time it deserved. I think it could have been touched upon just a little more.

One year blogversary + Q&A

So according to WordPress, it’s been one year since I created this little blog. It’s been a great year and I’m really proud of the things I’ve posted, and the connections I’ve made. I definitely want to try to keep a steady output of content,and try to blog hop a lot more because I love to talk to other bookish people. All in all I’m really happy of how this past year has turned out in terms of my blog, regardless of the small number of followers.

So as a one year celebration I thought’d be cool to do a little Q&A where you guys ask me any questions that you might have and Ill answer them in a later post. So if you have any questions, post them in the comments below!

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

My Rating:4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

We follow three best friends: Jamie,Taylor,and Charlie as they go to States  for a weekend to attend SupaCon(which is basically like Comic-Con). This is dual perspective novel in the eyes of Charlie and Taylor. I thought that this was a really cute story about fandoms and first loves while also discussing some really important topics like anxiety,bisexuality,autism and a lot of other really great things. This was such a diverse book and it was absolutely wonderful to read  about these characters and see them navigate their way through this very chaotic weekend. This SupaCon sounded so cool and I absolutely loved how geeky all three of the characters were and all the references they made were awesome.

I think my favorite part of the book was so adorable one was m/f and the other was f/f and both of them were soo great and like even though one of them was completely developed over the weekend, it didn’t seem like insta-love at all.The chemistry was great and I just wish the book could’ve been a little longer so that we could have seen a little more of the couples.

As I said, the diversity was amazing and I’m pretty sure it’s an #ownvoices so that’s even better.I thought the social anxiety and autism rep was especially poignant  and I really related to a lot of things that Taylor was saying  about her social anxiety and I thought it was really interesting to see how she coped with it during this very intense weekend. It was also so important to have a female character that has autism because it’s something that one rarely sees. I think of the most  touching scenes was when Taylor found a graphic novel that featured an austistic female protagonist and it was just so amazing to see how happy she was when she bought it and how much it meant to her. Representation is so important and I’m sure there are a lot of readers who feel the same way about Queens of Geeks.

I have two minor problems with this book, they definitely didn’t damper my enjoyment of the novel but they did make me take off half a star. The first problem was that of race, I’m white so my opinion doesn’t really matter and it could be completely unfounded and I apologize if that is the case but I just wanted to remark upon it because it did rub me the wrong way.We have three PoC in this novel: Charlie is Chinese American,Charlie’s love interest:Alison is black and Jamie is Latino. While Charlie’s identity is pretty important and she talks about it throughout the novel, it really wasn’t clear that Jamie was latino like at all and they only mentioned  it at the very end.I admit that I am the worst when it comes to registering character’s descriptions so it’s very possible that I missed it and if it did I apologize but to me it just seemed like the author was trying to fit a quota and Jamie’s and to a certain extent Alison’s identity didn’t seem as developed as it could have been.

The other problem that I had was the development of Charlie’s fame. She is a famous vlogger and starred in a popular movie but they barely even mentioned her being a vlogger and didn’t really elaborate on what she did to become so popular. Also the movie that became popular seems so generic and not very remarkable at all, and I think it would’ve been more interesting if these aspects had been a little more finetuned because it’s a very interesting part of the novel that wasn’t developed as well as the other parts.

Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:After a shout-out from one of the Internet’s superstar vloggers, Natasha “Tash” Zelenka finds herself and her obscure, amateur web series, Unhappy Families, thrust into the limelight: She’s gone viral.

Her show is a modern adaptation of Anna Karenina—written by Tash’s literary love Count Lev Nikolayevich “Leo” Tolstoy. Tash is a fan of the forty thousand new subscribers, their gushing tweets, and flashy Tumblr GIFs. Not so much the pressure to deliver the best web series ever.

And when Unhappy Families is nominated for a Golden Tuba award, Tash’s cyber-flirtation with Thom Causer, a fellow award nominee, suddenly has the potential to become something IRL—if she can figure out how to tell said crush that she’s romantic asexual.

Tash wants to enjoy her newfound fame, but will she lose her friends in her rise to the top? What would Tolstoy do?

My Rating:5/5 stars

Plot:

The minute I read the synopsis for this book and saw that it featured an ace protagonist I knew that I had to read it. I’m kind of getting emotional thinking about the book and how much it means to me and I’m honestly just still in disbelief that this book actually exists. This book could be lowkey about an asexual character just sitting in their room and doing nothing and I would fucking read it because I am that desperate for a book like this. Luckily besides the fact that this book features an ace protagonist, the plot is really awesome.

We follow Tash:vlogger and co-creator of a webseries called Unhappy Families an adaptation of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and how she copes with this overnight fame that occurs after a famous vlogger mentions the webseries.  I love watching webseries so I thought it was so interesting to see Tash talk about directing, writing, shooting and everything that goes with filming something like this. I really think it’s great that we’re getting more books that are portraying YouTubers because it’s such an interesting subject that has a lot of potential to it.I also liked how we saw both sides to the fanbase,the amazing ones who makes gifs and fanarts, and then the haters who will criticize  you no matter what you do. I really think it’s important to portray fans as they are, and show the ugly side because it’s a sad truth that not everyone seems to realize. People really don’t understand that there is a person behind the persona.  I’m not a youtuber or famous in anyway but I’ve seen booktubers review it and they seem to enjoy that aspect of the novel and find it realistic.

Not only is this book a great story about youtubers and creators, we also get some great family dynamics,friendship, and discussions about asexuality. This book really has everything and if there was one thing that I’d have to say that I’d like to have seen more was a little bit of the plot to the webseries because it’s something I’m really interested it and would’ve liked to seen a little bit of how they adapted it.

Characters

While this book is really great without the ace protaganist, it’s what made the book really special. I identify as ace myself so this book really meant the world to me. I’ve related to characters before but that was more like “oh they like books and I like books, cool.” but this is much more deep and personal and like for the first time I’ve really felt represented. Everything Tash said about being asexual was so relatable and I was just like yessssss somebody gets it. There’s nothing in this world that’s like being represented and I hope that I will feel this way many more times. Besides the fact that tash is ace, she’s just a really awesome nerdy human and she’s one of those characters who I’d love to be friends with.

I loved Jack and Paul, and their friendship with Tash was just so great and I thought some really important topics were discussed throughout the book involving their friendship and it was all just really great.I love awesome friends in YA, and Jack and Paul were the best awesome friends.

Fucking Thom. I hate Thom so much and I just really disliked him from the get go and just the thing that happened at the end was so frustrating and it was so sad and ugh.I understand why it was part of the story but that didn’t make it hurt any less.

Another thing that  would’ve liked to see more of is the side characters: we have all these people in the webseries and I would’ve really liked to get to know them just a little better. We got bits and pieces but I would’ve liked just a little more development when it came to them.

 

 

Some Pretty Problematic Books

So I really haven’t posting a lot lately because I’m just starting college and kind of just getting used to this new weird life and living away from home so posts will probably be pretty infrequent for quite awhile. Anyway I’m super behind on review copies, so I decided to kill three birds with one stone and just write three little mini reviews. I think it’s really important for me to post about these books because in my personal opinion I found them to be hella problematic. Just because I got these books for free  doesn’t mean I’m going to write a nice review that wouldn’t be right.

  1. My FairyGodmother is a Drag Queen by David Clawson

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I think that this really had the potential to be quite a good book but the way it was handled was really weird and not good in the least bit. The main two things that bothered me was the way the author handled the drag queen character so poorly and  how the mc said some really offensive things  about them and it was like never really corrected or discussed. This book could have had some really important nuanced discussion but it just had to resort to offensive jokes which is just not cool in this day and age. The other thing that really bothered me was the whole sneaking around/cheating storyline which is never okay no matter the circumstances. Even ignoring the bad stereotyping and cheating,the romance was poorly developed, and the plot wasn’t very well developed. Really not a big fan of this one.

2. Maybe in Paris by Rebbeca Christainsen

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Going to Paris is like my ultimate goal so I thought that this book would be great but unfortunately it was just really annoying and problematic. The only kind of good part were the descriptions of Paris but everything was so bad that it didn’t really matter. The autism was autrocious and like I know very little about autism but it was very apparent even to me. The Mc’s brother is diagnosed with bipolar disorder,schizophrenia  and autism but like the doctors think it’s okay for his sister to take him to paris???????? also  none of those diagnoses are really ever discusssed or even portrayed accurately or respectfully. And like apparently this is supposed to be a touching story about siblings or something but like the mc doesn’t even care about the brother and is trying to find a way to love him despite his autism and doesn’t see that there’s anything wrong with that.This book is one big shit show and so disrespectful.  This review describes a lot better than I did.

 

3. The Girl Who Wouldn’t Die by Randall Platt

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This is a more complicated one because I’ll admit that I didn’t really see the problematic elements when reading this book. Though I am half-jewish, there’s still a lot of things that I don’t understand about anti-semetism and the likes so I was really glad to read some reviews that enlightened me.  I’m just going to link this review by Katherine Locke and I’d reccommend giving it a read, it’s very long but it’s totally worth it. Basically this book had a lot of nice Nazis and the Mc is very detached from her Judaism  and on multiple occasions, admire things that Nazis do.

 

Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.

When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.

Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

My rating:4/5 stars
Plot

This is one of those books that relies heavily on fanfic tropes and while it may not be for everyone, I do find these types of books to be highly amusing.Its  similar to Follow Me Back in the sense that they both have the trope of a musician kind of paying attention to a normal girl. It’s a very unrealistic plot point but I mean fiction doesn’t always have to be plausible even when it’s contemporary

As I said ,when reading books like these it’s important to not be too critical of what’s happening because then you’re bound to hate it. These type of books are not meant to be the best  in their genre or anything like that  but they’re pretty darn good. Tone Deaf was an addicting read that kept me turning the pages in anticipation of how everything would turn out. This book didn’t shy away from heavy topics and I thought it tackled the topic of abuse quite well though I do find that the ending was a little too idealistic. Then again, sometimes happy endings do actually happen! I can’t speak for the deaf rep in this book but from what I saw it seemed pretty accurate though obviously my word means nothing in matters like this 

Characters

I thought that the characters were very well developed and interesting.I really like seeing Ali dealing with being deaf and how that affected her every day life. I also thought seeing her troubled. past was also very interesting and it would’ve been kind of cool if we saw a little more about her child- prodigy days.

The musician love interest,Jace, was kind of hard to like at first though I definitely grew to enjoy his backstory and personality. It is hard to completely warm to a character, especially when they’re a douchebag from page one. While his being a jerk was explained, and I find that the reason that they gave was sad and heartbreaking but it doesn’t justify him being a shithead. I really liked him though and thought that his development was very interesting but I’m just tired of seeing the trope of ” asshole guy is actually really nice but he has just a troubled past that makes him an arse.”

The side characters were A+. I loved Ali’s best friend and how good of a friend she was. Learning sign language in order to communicate more easily. I also thought that the band members were really great, and I loved seeing the chemistry between all of them and I really wish that we saw more if them because I loved what I saw.

Some really good books that I’ve read lately.

For the past month or so I’ve been trying to catch up on reviews for review copies and have been failing miserably and am still tremendously behind. Because of that, I’ll probably not be able to do reviews for some really good books I’ve read lately, so I’d thought I’d make a post talking about those books!

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  1. The Wrong Side of  Right by Jenn Marie Thorne

I picked this up at chapters because it was like three dollars,the cover was pretty and it seemed vaguely familiar. I had 0 expectations going in but I came out  really impressed. It’s not a favorite or anything like that and I think I rated it like 4.5/5 stars but it was so well done.  It basically follows this girl who finds out that her father is one of the men running for president and she’s kind of thrust into the world of politics as she tags along for the campaign.The characters were stellar, I loved the family dynamic, the plot was so interesting and the romance was A+ very good. It also handled some really important topics which brought me close to tears a few times. All in all, it was a really good book and I would really recommend it.

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2.Big Little Lies by Lianne Moriarty

I had previously read her “The Husband’s Secret.” and while it was good, it wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be. I was a little wary to pick this up but boy am I glad I did. It was so gripping and exhilarating and I practically flew through it.  The characters were so good and every page had me guessing and then second-guessing. I loved seeing the petiness of school moms because I basically live for petiness.Anyway this was amazing and the plot twist had me reeling. I really can’t wait to watch the t.v show, tho i’m not sure how I feel about the casting.

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3. Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Ever since this book has been relased, I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about it. I’ve been wanting to read it for so long but was never able to so I finally picked it up this month and absolutely fell in love with it. I love simon so so much and just all th the characters are so great and I’m really excited to read the Leah spinoff. It was just such a feel good book and it was just so godamn adorable. I low key can’t wait for the movie,i think it’s going to be so good.


4. Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

The minute I read the description of this book I knew I had to read it and plus I had to support this amazing author who was getting harassed by neo-nazis. It was sooo good. I loved the focus on family, the setting and just everything about it was freaking perfect.plus the love interest was super swoon worthy. Such a great summer contemporary,highly recommend

Have you read any of these books? What are some books that you like?

TimeKeeper by Tara Sim Book Review

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Goodreads Summary:

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever

Disclaimer:I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

My rating:4/5 stars

Plot:

The Timekeeper  is set in this fascinating world where these clocks control time.It’s such an unique premise and I really loved reading about this alternate Victorian society that is so fragile due to the fact that their existence is pretty much depending on these clocks. It’s such a fascinating idea and I found the mythology that explained how these clocks came to be was so interesting and i loved the snippets we got but kind of wish we got more. It’d be really interesting if this mythology played a bigger role in the other books because I honestly find it so fascinating.

While I did really enjoy the book, personally I found the plot to be kind of boring and not exactly what I would want from a book like this. It was very much a book where not a lot was going on and I usually don’t mind but there was just something about it that didn’t quite captivate me as much as I would have liked to it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it because I really did, it’s just why  I didn’t rate it a five stars because other than that it was really wonderful and I’m really looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

Characters

Well I loved the setting and the concept of the novel, my favorite part was definitely the characters which is usually the case for me.They were all precious cinnamon rolls and while I did like the development I saw, I’m excited to see some of the more minor characters get some page-time in the upcoming books.

I thought Daniel was such a complex character and I loved seeing his relationship with the other characters and I really liked seeing his PTSD play out. I also thought the subject of his sexuality was handled extremely well and I thought the author portrayed the discrimination he faced very well while also kind of changing that part of history to make people accept him a little more. I also really loved the relationship he had with his mom and how complicated it was.

Colton was also a really great character, and just a really interesting one from the get go considering he is a clockspirt. I loved how curious he was and really liked seeing the relationship blossom between him and Daniel, and it was just really adorable and I can’t wait for more in the next books. I did find it was a little insta-lovey which is kind of to be understood but I do think that the romance could’ve been developed a tad bit more.

Lastly I really loved the two side characters:Daphne and Cassie. They were both such interesting side characters and I loved seeing the friendship between Daniel and Cassie, and thought that cassie was just such a great friend who would do anything for Cassie. I also really liked Daphne’s character, and really liked what we saw of her but I really hope that she plays a bigger role in the next book because she was a really interesting character who I would love to learn more about.

 

 

Looking for beta readers!

I just finished another round of edits for my novel:Dried Roses and while it is nowhere near done, I have decided that it’s time to get some beta readers. My sister and a friend are already reading but I like 2-3 more people to get a clear view on what I need to improve.

Dried Roses follows Rosanna:a  school psychologist and Leila:an English school teacher. Leila seeks Rosanna out for help, not knowing that they knew each other as kids and Rosanna played a large part in Leila’s troubled past.Eventually they become friends and gradually fall in love. It’s around 90k-100k  words and contains mention of abuse,depression and suicide just as a heads up.

I’d be happy to return the favor and read whatever work you seek help with or any other type of non-monetary exchange we can come up with.

There’s a lot of typos and my spacing is a little wack but I’m really just looking for help regarding sentence structure, plot, and characters.

 

If you’re interested at all, send me an email at hannahreadsandblogs@gmail.com and I’ll send you the first two chapters to see if its your thing!!