Thursday, 1 October 2015

This Ordinary Life (Giveaway, Review & Tour!)

Hi there!

Title: This Ordinary Life
Author:  Jennifer Walkup
Publisher:  Luminis Books
Published Date: 1st October 2015
Rating: 5 stars
 
*Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for the review copy*

Synopsis:  Sometimes Hope is the Most Extraordinary Gift of All.

High-school radio host Jasmine Torres's life is full of family dysfunction, but if she can score the internship of her dreams with a New York City radio station, she knows she can turn things around.

That is, until her brother Danny’s latest seizure forces her to miss the interview, and she’s back to the endless loop of missing school for his doctor appointments, picking up the pieces of her mother’s booze-soaked life, and stressing about Danny’s future.

Then she meets Wes. He’s the perfect combination of smart, cute, and funny. He also happens to have epilepsy like her brother. Wes is living a normal life despite his medical issues, which gives Jasmine hope for Danny. But memories of her cheating ex-boyfriend keep her from going on a real date with Wes, no matter how many times he asks her.

Jasmine can’t control everything. Not who wins the internship, not her mother’s addiction, not her brother’s health--not even where her heart will lead her. She wishes she could just have an ordinary life, but maybe what she already has is pretty extraordinary after all.

Review: When it comes down to it, this book just makes me incredibly happy.

Jennifer Walkup managed to bring the characters to life in her second novel, This Ordinary Life which addresses many themes such as romance, epilepsy and alcohol addiction.

We first meet the character Jasmine when her life is falling apart. She’s very much into radio producing and wants to be a radio host, so she is looking forward to her school trip to a famous studio that was supposed to happen on the day. She goes to her boyfriend’s house for her customary lift to school, only to find him cheating on her. And then, as if things couldn’t get any worse, her seven year old little brother has an epileptic fit. Jasmine rushes to hospital to be with him, missing the once in a life time trip to score an internship as well as having to deal with her alcohol addicted mother when she gets there.

I felt like I could really connect with Jasmine. I don’t have a sibling with epilepsy but I do have a younger sister who is physically disabled. Although I don’t have to do everything like Jasmine does because I have parents who are involved and really do care for her – hospital appointments and everything, I do a big part to help. I think I would just about do anything for my little sister and help take care of her in and around the house, as well as look out for her at school we both go to quite a bit. I love it, and I felt like I could understand what Jasmine felt when she wouldn’t mind putting everything aside to look after her brother first and foremost.

One thing I also love about reading is that books can teach you things. This book did teach me a lot about epilepsy because although I knew about seizures and so on – I had no idea that something called ‘absent’ seizures existed and now I have something new added to my knowledge. In fact, I even learned a bit about how epilepsy actually works which I didn’t know before.

Another thing I really liked about Jasmine’s character was her ambition. She really wanted this radio internship and loved that hobby of hers, knowing she wanted it to be a profession of hers. It’s kind of how I feel about writing, so I could definitely understand her working so hard and striving for that interview. Again, it just reminded me how realistic her character was and how much I loved reading this!

Jasmine’s mother, Elena is addicted to alcohol ever since her husband left her. Elena did make some dumb decisions and she did have the problem of sometimes endangering Danny (Jasmine’s epileptic little brother) because she would be passed out and not watching him. I understood that she had a lot to manage being a single mother, and then financial issues on top of that. But I did want to shake her sometimes. I also wanted Jasmine to go a bit easier on her too. She hated her mum, but I don’t think she understood that alcoholism is just as much a disease as anything else sometimes.

I loved Wes, the love interest! He did have epilepsy too (you can see how Jasmine would be a bit reluctant about starting this relationship now) but he was so good to her! Just what she needed after her previous boyfriend. He was so loyal, funny, sweet… I think every girl needs a Wes in their lives. I also liked that Wes was confident, just like Jasmine. In YA books we have a lot of confident guys showing interest in girls who don’t think they are beautiful, or are all about their insecurities. But it was nice to have two confident-ish characters this time.


Frankie was Jasmine’s best friend, but I felt like her character was shoved a bit to the side. I would have liked a bit more detail on her in the story or some more focus on their friendship. She was the only one I felt needed development.

As you can see, this book was very character driven. The romance was sweet (and be warned, this is mostly a romance!) but there was mix about epilepsy creating important decisions, striving after your dreams and family as well. I loved it. Maybe the book had one or two flaws, but for me it still gets the five star rating because in the end this book made me so HAPPY!

Links: Find it on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble or the Book Depository!

Check out Jennifer Walkup's website, Goodreads, Twitter or Facebook page! Also, This Ordinary Life even has its own Pinterest Board!

About the Author: Award-winning author Jennifer Walkup is most often found writing, reading, and spending time with her husband and young sons. A member of SCBWI and RWA, Jennifer also works as an editor and creative writing instructor, and is an advocate for Epilepsy awareness. This Ordinary Life is her second novel.

To hear about Jennifer's upcoming books, sign up for her newsletter!

Giveaway Time! Win (1) hardcopy of SECOND VERSE by Jennifer Walkup and a swag pack (INT) or Win (1) of (2) swag packs (INT)!

ENTER HERE!


Olivia’s Question: Do you know anyone who has epilepsy? Do you know much about the condition?

Olivia-Savannah x

28 comments:

  1. I've seen a few bloggers reviewing this and it sounds good. I know a few stuff about epilepsy because I had to study it at college and its effect and what not and one of my uncles suffers from it but I've never seen him have a seizure. My father, on the other hand, did and said it was really scary. One of the scary stuff is the possibility of the person biting his own tongue and so my father put one of his finger into my uncle's mouth and it was painful. Thank goodness someone gave him a spoon. I feel like everybody knows about epilepsy but not really a lot and it's such an scary disease. I'm glad you enjoyed this and any character named Wes is always welcomed! (that's how much I love the name after reading The Archived & The Unbound by Victoria Schwab hahahaha)

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    1. I have never seen anyone who has had a seizure too, but I do believe it is a condition I need to learn more about because it is something as you said, everyone knows about but not enough about. I would want to know how to help someone if they ever ended up having a seizure nearby me, and it is something we need to be understanding of. Wes is wonderful <3

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  2. I loved the synopsis and loved your review. I really like characters that are depicted well. :)
    @dino0726 from 
    FictionZeal - Impartial, Straightforward Fiction Book Reviews

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    1. I am glad you like the sound of this novel so much!

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  3. Oh wow! I really need to read this one. To answer your question, yes I someone with epilepsy. My childhood friend has it and still suffers from it to this day. She can't get a drivers license because of how often a seizure can happen. As you know, my sister was diagnosed with epilepsy from birth until she was around 11 yrs old. The seizures just stopped. The doctors were mystified and my mom was just grateful. Here we are 19 yrs later and she has an autoimmune disease that attacks her nervous system. Coincidence? No, I don't think it is. I just think that there wasn't enough testing done on her back when she was having those seizures. I'm pretty sure I can relate to the character in this book because I have watched what those seizures did to my sister, and the effect they had on my family. Great review!

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    1. The book did touch on how it can restrict you from doing certain things, like the drivers license for example. I am really sorry to hear that the seizures haven't been able to ease up on her :( And as for your sister - yes I do know this. I guess sometimes things can be misjudged and medical mistakes can be made. I am still praying for her to be feeling better at this current moment, and I am sure this is a novel you can relate to a lot in that case.

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  4. Wes sounds wonderful, great to hear that you enjoyed him

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    1. He was a brilliant romantic interest! Loved it ^.^

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  5. [ Smiles ] Sounds like my kind of book, Olivia-Savannah.

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  6. This sounds like something I could like as well, Olivia. I've been trying to find a book comparable to Night Owls, and this one sounds like it has potential. :)

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    1. I wouldn't be able to know if it is that level of good, but it certainly was for me ;)

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  7. Oh wow, this sounds really good. Poor Jasmine seems to be going through a lot :( I have to agree with you, I love reading books that teach me new things! Especially if it's such an important topic as epilepsy.

    Lipstick and Mocha

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    1. She does go through a lot so I really do admire how brave her character is and so strong willed! When I learn something new in a book I love it <3

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  8. I love books that can make me happy. :)

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  9. So far from the overview it seem as if this book is interesting and a good read. It appears as if it straddles the line between teen and young adult fiction, but it may be possible for someone even older to enjoy.

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    1. I would have to agree there. It might be harder so for them in the beginning but as the story goes on most adults might enjoy this one too.

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  10. I've been seeing this book everywhere! I'm most definitely adding this to my TBR. It sounds so good and I think I'll be able to connect with the characters a lot since I also have a brother who has a health condition. Great review!

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    1. I hope you can love it as much as I did when I read it! I hope your brother is okay though...

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  11. Interesting book - despite other commenters saying that they have heard about it, this is the first I have heard about it.

    Rae | Love from Berlin

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    1. It really was a cool read and something I would strongly recommend. Maybe not so much because it is a new release?

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  12. All of the reviews I have read seem to love this book. Wes sounds delightful and I love the premise. This might be fun on audio. So glad it made you happy!

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    1. I am so glad to know everyone seems to be loving it! I do think this would make a great audiobook, actually.

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  13. I saw the glorious cover for this book first at BEA because one of my bloggy friends is also a designer and point it out to me as one of hers. I had no idea what the book was about and now I really miss having the chance to have got a signed copy of it!

    Being a nurse I know quite a bit about epilepsy, and also I had a form of infatile epilepsy myself that was treated and resolved when I was a child. One of my co-workers is epileptic and her seizures are usually the absent kind, but she still manages to have a fully fantastic life, her only real limitation is not driving.

    Fantastic review Olivia and thank you for the giveaway!!

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    1. OH NO! So sorry to hear you missed that chance :( I hope you can get your hands on a copy to try this one soon! You must know a lot about it to have seen it first hand as well.

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  14. Isn’ the cover for this book awesome? The art is just gorgeous. And the typography. And the colour scheme... I liked your picture of the book with headphones on. I did that for a tag, too *laughs*- it’s a neat idea, and a nice representation of the cover.
    I heard about this book a little while ago, but honestly I don’t think it’s for me. I’m not a huge fan of romance taking over other elements of the plot, and it does sound like that tends towards happening here, but I’m glad it had important aspects about mental health, too. Not necessarily for me, but I’m happy it’s out there- and was a good read for you. xx

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    1. I thought the headphones went so well with it because of the theme of radio. But yes, that cover is wonderful ^.^
      I think that the romance is a lot of it because it's about Jasmine being open to having someone else with epilepsy in her life as well, and how that might be hard for her. But there is a lot more to it than the romance as well.

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