Hey guys! I’m here to celebrate the release of this super cool retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses — The Midnight Dance!

About the Book

The Midnight DanceThe Midnight Dance
by Nikki Katz
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: October 17th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Synopsis:

When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Purchase: 

About the Author

Nikki Katz is an author and editor living in sunny San Diego with her three children. NikkiWith a BS in aerospace engineering, Nikki first put her writing skills to use publishing four nonfiction books. She moved on to writing young adult fiction, her favorite genre to read as well. TheMidnight Dance is her debut novel.
Author links:

Review

Get ready for a book with a few Gothic elements that definitely reminded me of Phantom of the Opera mixed with 12 Dancing Princesses. I do have to say that I love retellings!

Penny is an interesting and dynamic character. She is a bit naive to begin with, but as the story continues we see her develop into someone who I found myself rooting for. She’s someone who makes mistakes, and sometimes those cause a lot of trouble for her, but it’s relatable in the sense that we all do regrettable things.

The Master gave me Phantom vibes especially with his large air of mystery and the kind of attention he attracts. While he’s more of a visible character in the setting of the story, he still calls for the sort of weird obsession that people have with the Phantom. That’s not to say that he’s a bad character – he invokes the curiosity needed and is cloaked in an air of austerity.

The plot is a bit slower at the beginning and it took me a few chapters to really get into it, but once you get to more of the intrigue and mystery things start to really pick up.

Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (US/CAN)
  • Print copy of The Midnight Dance
  • Ends November 2nd

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

October 16th
blogs and coffee >> Guest post
Comma Hangover >> Review
MNBernard Books >> Interview
Gemmas Book Nook >> Review
Bibliofagista >> Review

October 17th
Girls With Books >> Excerpt
Smada’s Book Smack >> Review
Darque Dreamer Reads >> Review
Lisa Loves Literature >> Interview
Reaching While Rooted >> Review

October 18th
CBY Book Club >> Excerpt
Booked J >> Review
readingwithwrin >> Review
The Bibliophile Confessions >> Excerpt
Angelic Book Reviews >> Review
Caffeine and Composition >> Review

October 19th
The Candid Cover >> Interview
The Booknerd Dragon >> Review
Books of a Shy Girl >> Review
The Mind of a Bookdragon >> Review

October 20th
Dani Reviews Things >> Guest post
Bibliobibuli YA >> Review
Spinatale Reviews >> Review
Jena Baxter’s Bookworms >> Review

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

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Blog Tour: The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz Review & Giveaway

Hello there! Happy Sunday 🙂 This is coming to you a little later because I had my first regatta today! It was rainy and cold, but we did well for the circumstances. Today I’m here to talk about The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis. This book has been released in Australia, the author’s country, but is set to release in America this coming Tuesday.

Title: The Sidekicks

The Sidekicks
Goodreads

Author: Will Kostakis

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Expected Release: October 17, 2017

Source: ARC*

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Ryan, Harley and Miles are very different people–the swimmer, the rebel and the nerd. All they’ve ever had in common is Isaac, their shared best friend.

When Isaac dies unexpectedly, the three boys must come to terms with their grief and the impact Isaac had on each of their lives. In his absence, Ryan, Harley and Miles discover things about one another they never saw before, and realize there may be more tying them together than just Isaac.

An intricately woven story told in three parts, award-winning Australian author Will Kostakis makes his American debut with this heartwarming, masterfully written novel about grief, self-discovery and the connections that tie us all together.

*This ARC was sent to me for an honest review by the publisher. Huge thanks to Harlequin Teen!

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I loved the voice in this book so much. Miles was probably my favorite narrative of the three. His voice was the strongest, and his grief — all of their grief — was so genuine.
I felt the most connection with Miles, though.

The three points of view were a little choppy. I wish the set up of the book alternated POVs every three chapters so we kept moving forward in the story than going back with each change. It would have been cool to see them cope and come together in real time too.

I loved the dynamic between the three of these guys. They were genuine and found a way to be there for each other when it mattered the most. However, it was hard to truly connect with any of them and get a real feel for their friendship due to the structure of the book. I truly wish it had been reorganized. I also didn’t quite like how there weren’t any chapters in the three sections.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. Harley’s POV was my least favorite due to its choppiness, but the first and last parts were best.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis

Hello and happy Thursday! It’s Friday eve, and I’m so excited to get through my one class tomorrow and to crew practice. I have been enjoying college so far, but I’ll address that later on with a catch up post. Today I’ll be talking about We Were Liars by E. Lockhart which was published a few years back. I finally got around to reading it, but it was the special deluxe edition — which is super pretty and aesthetic.

Title: We Were Liars

We Were Liars
Goodreads

 

Author: E. Lockhart

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release date: May 13, 2013

My rating: 4/5 stars

The New York Times bestseller We Were Liars is now available as a not-to-be-missed hardcover deluxe edition! Whether you know how it ends (shh . . . don t tell!) or have let too many seasons go by without discovering the truth about the Liars for yourself, you will want to get your hands on the exclusive new content in this deluxe edition.

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends the Liars whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

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This book was… I don’t even know how to feel about this book even though I finished it a month or two ago. It was quite the mind trip, and I don’t know how to feel about the *twist* of the ending.

I know it’s divisive, one of my best friends loves it and the other hates it. One of the things I felt the whole time was how murky and unreliable the narrator is. Cadence is swimming in the unclear memories she has and her friends are there to help her uncover them. At the very beginning I didn’t trust Cadence, and other than the unnerving sense that things were very wrong, I was in limbo for the entire book.

The character development was well done. As a reader you truly get to know Cadence and what is going on inside her head. You get to process her trauma alongside her the whole time, and it’s something that makes her relatable as a character. Once things come to a head and she figures out what truly happened on the island, you feel as betrayed as Cadence does. I couldn’t stop the I trusted you, and you betrayed me thoughts from flooding my head.

The Liars and the rest of the Sinclair family are interesting. I wasn’t as invested in their stories other than how they kept things from Cadence. At the end everything makes more sense (obviously), and I can’t imagine what they went through. I like how Lockhart hints at their own personal grief and loss as a family, and how it effects their interactions with each other.

This twisty tale is haunting and melodic in the way it’s written. I recommend it to people who are up for a bit of a psychological mystery or someone in the mood for an unreliable narrator.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

#throwbackthursday: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Hi there! I hope you’re doing well! I’m aiming to get a good amount of reviews done before the year is up, but it doesn’t help how fast I’m getting through books at the same time. I’m not reviewing all of the books I’ve read this year, but I’m doing a fair amount, so hopefully this will be all caught up!

Title: The Secret of a Heart Note

The Secret of a Heart Note
Goodreads

Author: Stacy Lee

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: December 27, 2016

Source: Hardcover, US

Love chose me, and I tried, but I couldn’t stop the arrow in its flight.

As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, fifteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of using her extraordinary sense of smell to mix base notes, top notes, and heart notes into elixirs that help others fall in love.

All while remaining incurably alone.

For Mim, the rules are clear—falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school existence—taking up a sport and limping away flush from victory, joining the debate club and saying things like “That’s a logical fallacy!” Having a boyfriend.

When she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the school soccer star to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that when it comes to falling in love, the choice isn’t always hers to make.

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I remember I bought this one mainly on impulse and the fact that it was super cheap on Amazon. And I’m so glad I did!

Review: The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacy Lee

How much do you love a good contemporary novel? I know I do, especially when I’m feeling down! I do sometimes feel like the characters have a tendency to become trite if not written well, but I assure you this one is pretty awesome. I even got to read this before I met her last May for an article with Justine. You can read that here.

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Poppy/Little, Brown

Release Date: January 2, 2012

Source: Hardcover, US

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

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My best friends can attest to the fact that I’m a romantic. I love love, but so far it’s been a rough go for me. That is why I have my contemporaries to keep me company! It’s so great to have a good, heartfelt book once in a while, and this is one of them.

I’m going to back track a little here. I remember when this book came out. I remember going to my local Barnes and Noble with my dad, finding this book, and wanting to read it. However I was persuaded to buy something else and it’s taken me this long to return to the lovely writing of Jennifer E. Smith. I don’t know about you, but I remember the early stages of Young Adult literature. I remember it getting big, and I have been there with it every step of the way. Mostly because I grew up with it.

Anyway, enough of the reminiscing! This book starts right off with Hadley boarding the plane to London, and most of it takes place on the plane itself. I have to say that it was well-written with such little things to do with a setting. I love how the story comes together on this little plane and sets you up for the rest of the novel.

The characters are enjoyable. Oliver reminded me a bit of Etienne St. Clair (Anna and the French Kiss), and I don’t know about you, but St. Clair is by far one of the swooniest characters to every come across the YA page. (Cricket Ball is still my fave of the Perkins’ boys.) Hadley was a great woman too. I love her vitality and strength throughout the book. Though her stubbornness got in the way at times, she was someone I could root for till the very end.

If you’re looking for a good pick-me-up, or something that will just make you warm and fuzzy, definitely get yourself a copy!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

#throwbackthursday: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Hello! I hope this review finds you well. I’m here continuing my journey through all of the books I’ve read that I’m finally reviewing (no surprise, it’s a lot of books). Today’s review will be of Kasie West’s By Your Side. A signed copy was included in the February Uppercase Box — a YA subscription box that I love, but can no longer continue to order. I highly recommend them — every month I would look forward to getting their mail! You can always check them out at uppercasebox.com for more details.

By Your Side

Title: By Your Side

Author: Kasie West

Publisher: HarperTeen

Release date: January 31, 2017

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

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I remember when I was reading this it was a bit of a struggle to get through. I had been excited to read this one (who doesn’t want to get trapped in a library tbh), but I didn’t quite like it the way I liked the others.

I read this so my friend could read it vicariously through it (especially since we’re both big contemporary junkies). Unfortunately I didn’t click with this book as much as her other ones. This isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy reading it because I did, but I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would. It’s a cute contemporary about a girl getting stuck in the library for a weekend with someone (a guy) and what happens after they get out. There were a few plot things that didn’t quite add up for me and they kind of bothered me for a lot of the book. However, I liked the way things wrapped up in the end.

 

One thing that irked me was how believable that she would get stuck in the library with someone else. It doesn’t seem like she would be able to be in there for such an extended period of time without raising some sort of alarm. I know when I have to close the businesses that I’m working at that I have to be thorough about checking to make sure no one else is in the building after closing up shop and leaving.\

One of the other things that I didn’t feel was a connection with the characters. I didn’t relate to any of them. Not based on their own situations, but I think with their personalities.

I wish I had more good things to say about this book, but I just didn’t mesh with it. I really hope you give it a try and judge for yourself! It may be the book for you 🙂

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Hello! I’m starting a new kind of review post for my ARC reviews, and voila — Sneak Peek Sunday. I won’t be giving any sneak peeks, but I will be reviewing any ARCs that I have read. (Note: ARC = Advance Reader’s Copy) To kick things off, I’m here with Gabby Dunn and Allison Raskin’s anticipated book I Hate Everyone But You. 

Title: I Hate Everyone But You 

Authors: Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin

I Hate Everyone But You

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Expected Release: September 5, 2017

Source: ARC

Dear Best Friend,
I can already tell that I will hate everyone but you.
Sincerely,
Ava Helmer
(that brunette who won’t leave you alone)

We’re still in the same room, you weirdo.
Stop crying.
G

So begins a series of texts and emails sent between two best friends, Ava and Gen, as they head off to their first semesters of college on opposite sides of the country. From first loves to weird roommates, heartbreak, self-discovery, coming out and mental health, the two best friends will document every moment to each other. But as each changes and grows into her new life, will their friendship be able to survive the distance?

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Speaking as a rising college freshman, I think this encapsulates my feelings and anticipation of this coming year with my best friend the most. I think if we took screenshots of my conversations with her and compared them to these they would be pretty darn close.

Gen and Ava are two best friends that I would love to meet irl, and I can’t wait for everyone else to meet them on the page. Their voices and different personalities compliment each other well. I found myself laughing along with them, and their adventures apart showed what it’s like to grow with the same person.

I know I can’t exactly speak from a lot of personal experience, but it’s something that I will be able to relate to it even more. This is a quick, fun read that will get you back in the mood for the social scene of school days.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Sneak Peek Sunday: I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin

Hi, guys!! I read this way back in February, but to this day I still love it so much. Maybe this calls for a re-read… Anywho, I cannot wait to finally write my thoughts down about this book. MY HEART WAS JUST A LITTLE BIT BROKEN AFTER IT NO BIG DEAL HAHAHAHA *tear*

Title: Seven Days of You

Seven Days of You

Author: Cecilia Vinesse

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release date: March 7, 2017

Sophia has seven days left in Tokyo before she moves back to the States. Seven days to say good-bye to the electric city, her wild best friend, and the boy she’s harbored a semi-secret crush on for years. Seven perfect days…until Jamie Foster-Collins moves back to Japan and ruins everything.

Jamie and Sophia have a history of heartbreak, and the last thing Sophia wants is for him to steal her leaving thunder with his stupid arriving thunder. Yet as the week counts down, the relationships she thought were stable begin to explode around her. And Jamie is the one who helps her pick up the pieces. Sophia is forced to admit she may have misjudged Jamie, but can their seven short days of Tokyo adventures end in anything but good-bye?

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I had a lot of feelings about this book when I finished it — and when I was reading it. Here are some things I said on my Goodreads account:

WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!?!? THIS BOOK. I’M CRYING RIGHT NOW OH MY GOD.

Okay, well this is a beautiful story about beginnings and endings and everything that comes with both. It’s lovely to see everything play out (even though it’s ripping me apart right now) and I can’t help but feel the bittersweetness of the entire situation. More thoughts to come with a full review!

So maybe some tears were shed. Just because I get really invested in characters doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing! It was poignant and fresh and I loved the setting!

Maybe it’s because her name was Sophia, but I loved her. I could picture her in Tokyo savoring her last few days there, and dragging her feet to leave. I couldn’t imagine that kind of move. I moved houses within the same city and that was hard.

The characters are what made this book amazing for me. I loved their development and their quirkiness. Mika was hilarious and the *perfect* (but flawed) best friend. David was the brooding-but-lovable guy friend. Honestly, their trio reminded me of my trio of friends I had at the time. When Jamie enters the scene, it was fun to see their dynamic change and shift around him. They seem like great people to be friends with overall.

I wish I had more details that helped me get around Tokyo a bit better. A map on the end pages would have been so fun! I did like the small details that Vinesse added about it, but there could have been a few more to make it more immersive.

I really wanted to finish this book, but also I wanted more than seven days. I wanted a year. Or more. Really, anything more that Cecilia would give me I would read. I want to know what happens after. PLEASE TELL ME THERE’S A COMPANION NOVEL OR SEQUEL IN THE WORKS I’M DYING OVER HERE.

I also got to meet this lovely creator of the novel and do an interview for Justine Magazine. Here is the link to our chat!

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Hey there! I’m here with a review of this beautiful book! I didn’t know it was set in Australia when I started it so I was slightly confused when Rachel, the main character, started using slang I didn’t recognize 😉 This is one that you definitely want to pick up this summer! Massive thanks to Justine for supplying me with a copy!

Title: Words in Deep Blue

https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1487957561l/31952703.jpg
Goodreads

 

Author: Cath Crowley

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

Release Date: June 6, 2017

Source: Advance Reader’s Copy

Love lives between the lines.

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction, and the escape. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore. She can’t see her future.

Henry’s future isn’t looking too promising, either. His girlfriend dumped him. The bookstore is slipping away. And his family is breaking apart.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

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So I previously spewed a lot of my thoughts initially into my Goodreads review —

THIS BOOK. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. There is so much beauty and love in this book that I can’t wait for everyone else to read it when it’s released. It articulates my love for words and books in ways that made me so happy. It’s a story about love and loss and who you become when you lose someone you love. It’s gorgeous, and I HIGHLY recommend you get your hands on this when it comes out this June!!

Even though it’s way past June, you need to read it right now. I absolutely devoured it in a matter of a few days. I had school, homework, and work to contend with my time, but took up any remaining time I had to read it. The book was absolutely gorgeous and I can’t believe I got to read it early.

This book is like every book lover’s dream. One of the main characters, Henry, lives above a bookstore that his family owns. So he gets to work with the books every. Day. One part I LOVED about their store was the Letter Library – or the concept of a letter library. This is a section of the store where there are several copies of books where customers get to browse and leave their notes in the margins or letters to people. AND MY HEART. I’m stealing this idea for when I open up my bookstore with my best friend Ana. (THANKS CATH CROWLEY!!)

The characters of this book are so lovely. They’re well-developed up until the last page, and I love the way you can get inside their heads. (Not only because it’s first-person narration, but because of the way they feel.) I like how Crowley lets us take a peek inside their brains for a while, and I wish I could meet them IRL. (I don’t think this is the first time I want to be friends with book characters outside of their world…)

I don’t remember having any qualms about this book. It was so amazing I recommended it in Justine Magazine’s June/July edition. Seriously guys, why are you still reading this review? Go read this book 🙂

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Hi there! I read this book a while back and I *finally* figured it was time for me to actually get a move on reviewing all of the books I’ve read so far this year (almost over 50, nbd). So here is the first in a *really* long line.

Title: We Are Okay

Author: Nina LaCour

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Release Date: February 14, 2017

Source: Hardcover, US

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

28243032
Goodreads


Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

 

 

 

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I remember when I was finishing this book I drove early to work so I could sit in the parking lot to finish it. I needed to know what happened in the end!

First off, the character development is amazing. I loved getting to know Marin and Mabel throughout the story. The way Marin talked about her grandpa was lovely, too, and I enjoyed their relationship together. There are a few big twists that are really laid out well with the characters throughout the story. I feel like I should have seen it coming because some of the hints are so obvious after the fact. Yet, I loved finding it out when LaCour intended us to.

The story itself is haunting. I love how beautifully the story is told and how LaCour sets up little traps and turns for the reader to go down and fall into. It’s lyrical in a sense and I think that added to the work as a whole. I can’t believe I haven’t read anything by her before and I can’t wait for more.

The ending of the story was sweet and hopeful, which I think is the best way a book can end, especially with the bombs that were dropped right before that. I think the best part was the ending and the sense of closure that the characters got. I semi-hope there’s a sequel, but I’m happy with the way it is right now.

Happy reading,

Sophie 🙂

Book Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour