Book Review: When You Were Everything by Ashley Woodfolk – A Heartbreaking Novel about the True Pain of Losing a Friend

Synopsis:

It’s been twenty-seven days since Cleo and Layla’s friendship imploded.

Nearly a month since Cleo realized they’ll never be besties again.

Now Cleo wants to erase every memory, good or bad, that tethers her to her ex-best friend. But pretending Layla doesn’t exist isn’t as easy as Cleo hoped, especially after she’s assigned to be Layla’s tutor. Despite budding friendships with other classmates–and a raging crush on a gorgeous boy named Dom–Cleo’s turbulent past with Layla comes back to haunt them both.

Alternating between time lines of Then and Now, When You Were Everything blends past and present into an emotional story about the beauty of self-forgiveness, the promise of new beginnings, and the courage it takes to remain open to love.

Cuddle's review:

I’ve read probably over a hundred books about romantic breakups, but only a small handful about friendship breakups. And it’s a damn shame, if you ask me. Some of the most messy, prolonged exits from my life have been from friends. There is something about the unspoken way that some endings are drawn out, and you can feel it happening, but can’t quite pinpoint how or why, and start questioning if you are just imagining it. 

Read More »

Book Review: Tidesong by Wendy Xu – An Enchanting Slice-of-Life Graphic Novel about Water Witches, Water Dragons, and the Magic of Sharing Our Feelings

Tidesong by Wendy
Synopsis:

Sophie is a young witch whose mother and grandmother pressure her to attend the Royal Magic Academy—the best magic school in the realm—even though her magic is shaky at best. To train for her entrance exams, Sophie is sent to relatives she’s never met.

Cousin Sage and Great-Aunt Lan seem more interested in giving Sophie chores than in teaching her magic. Frustrated, Sophie attempts magic on her own, but the spell goes wrong, and she accidentally entangles her magic with the magic of a young water dragon named Lir.

Lir is trapped on land and can’t remember where he came from. Even so, he’s everything Sophie isn’t—beloved by Sophie’s family and skilled at magic. With his help, Sophie might just ace her entrance exams, but that means standing in the way of Lir’s attempts to regain his memories. Sophie knows what she’s doing is wrong, but without Lir’s help, can she prove herself?

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

If you are a fan of Studio Ghibli films, especially Kiki’s Delivery Service or Whisper of the Heart (which are two of my personal favourites), then I think you are going to love Tidesong by Wendy Xu. With its gentle narrative, tender and heartfelt messages, and gorgeous art, this gorgeous middle-grade graphic novel now has a place in my heart forever. Not only did I adore this book with my whole being, Tidesong is the kind of book that will resonate with so many readers, especially those of us who often struggle with the pressures that we place on ourselves.

Read More »

Book Review: The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland – A Comforting and Resonant Coming-of-Age Rom-Com about the Journey of Self-Love

The Jasmine Project by Meredith Ireland. Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond.
Synopsis:

Jasmine Yap’s life is great. Well, it’s okay. She’s about to move in with her long-time boyfriend, Paul, before starting a nursing program at community college—all of which she mostly wants. But her stable world is turned upside down when she catches Paul cheating. To her giant, overprotective family, Paul’s loss is their golden ticket to showing Jasmine that she deserves much more. The only problem is, Jasmine refuses to meet anyone new.

But…what if the family set up a situation where she wouldn’t have to know? A secret Jasmine Project.

The plan is simple: use Jasmine’s graduation party as an opportunity for her to meet the most eligible teen bachelors in Orlando. There’s no pressure for Jasmine to choose anyone, of course, but the family hopes their meticulously curated choices will show Jasmine how she should be treated. And maybe one will win her heart.

But with the family fighting for their favorites, bachelors going rogue, and Paul wanting her back, the Jasmine Project may not end in love but total, heartbreaking disaster.

I received a digital advanced readers copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

When I think of The Jasmine Project, I think of soda bubbles on your tongue on a hot summer’s day, a mug of your favourite drink in your hand while snuggled up under a fort of blankets, and surprise cupcakes from a loved one just because. In other words, when I think of The Jasmine Project, I think about a story that is so delightfully light-hearted, comforting, and a balm to the soul. Suffice to say, I adored The Jasmine Project and it was the adorable coming-of-age romantic comedy that I needed.

Read More »

Book Review: Simone Breaks All the Rules by Debbie Rigaud – A Joyous Love Letter to Teens with Strict Parents, Forging Your Own Path and Happiness, and Haitian Culture

Simone Breaks All the Rules by Debbie Rigaud. Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond.
Synopsis:

Simone Thibodeaux’s life is sealed in a boy-proof container.

Her strict Haitian immigrant parents enforce no-dating rules and curfews, and send Simone to an all-girls school. As for prom? Simone is allowed to go on one condition: her parents will select her date (a boy from a nice Haitian immigrant family, obviously).

Simone is desperate to avoid the humiliation of the set up — especially since she’s crushing on a boy she knows her parents wouldn’t approve of. With senior year coming to a close, Simone makes a decision. She and her fellow late-bloomer friends will create a Senior Year Bucket List of all the things they haven’t had a chance to do. On the list: kissing a boy, sneaking out of the house, skipping class (gasp!), and, oh yeah — choosing your own prom date.

But as the list takes on a life of its own, things get more complicated than Simone expected. She’ll have to discover which rules are worth breaking, and which will save her from heartbreak.

I have remembered every time I have felt seen by a book, where it felt like the book was a mirror into my life. I picked up Simone Breaks All the Rules because it sounded delightful – a teen rebels against her strict parents’ plan to set her up with a prom date of their choosing and decides to reclaim her senior year by doing all the things that she’s always wanted to do: kiss a boy, sneak out, skip class, and yes! choose her own prom date. Turns out, I did indeed get the delightful book that I had wanted – but I also got more. I also got a book that really understands what it’s like to live with strict parents. I felt seen by this book and I’ll love this book forever more for it.

Read More »

Book Review­: Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins – A Top-Tier Celebrity Fake-Dating Romance that is Fluffy as it is Sweet and Sensitive

Like a Love Song by Gabriela Martins. Reviewed by CW at The Quiet Pond.
Synopsis:

Fake boyfriend. Real heartbreak?

Natalie is living her dream: topping the charts and setting records as a Brazilian pop star…until she’s dumped spectacularly on live television. Not only is it humiliating—it could end her career.

Her PR team’s desperate plan? A gorgeous yet oh-so-fake boyfriend. Nati reluctantly agrees, but William is not what she expected. She was hoping for a fierce bad boy—not a soft-hearted British indie film star. While she fights her way back to the top with a sweet and surprisingly swoon-worthy boy on her arm, she starts to fall for William—and realizes that maybe she’s the biggest fake of them all. Can she reclaim her voice and her heart?

Reading Like a Love Song felt like a big warm hug. I think I spent most of my time reading this book grinning from ear to ear. It was just so delightful, fun, and fluffy – the perfect balm for any bad or heavy day – and I can confidently say that this will be a romance that I will recommend for years to come.

Read More »