Monday, 8 April 2013

Review & Giveaway This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing
Publication date: 4th April 2013.
My rating: 3.5 stars


If fate sent you an email, would you answer? In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith's new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O'Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like "You've Got Mail" and "Sleepless in Seattle," the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don't even know each other's first names. Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles. When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?

This is What Happy Looks was a super cute book about two strangers being brought together by an e-mail being sent to the wrong e-mail address. Before you know it Ellie and Graham are sending e-mails back and forth to each other for the next few weeks. Ellie doesn’t know Graham’s name and that he’s a famous actor, but he’s the only person she’s ever opened up to. She finds it easy to talk to him and tell him things about him she’s never told anyone before. Ellie’s not had the best life, she and her mum moved to Maine when their shady past was brought out into the limelight. Her mum doesn’t want that sort of attention so uprooted Ellie when she was little and moved her to a quiet Maine. So while Ellie’s enjoying talking to Graham via e-mail on a regular basis, she doesn’t expect him to turn up at Maine with a big production company ready to film his latest up and coming movie. Can Ellie accept Graham for who he really is when she’s hidden away for so long?

After a few mix-ups Ellie finally comes face to face with Graham and she’s in for a surprise as he wasn’t what she was expecting, she feels like she’s been made a fool of, but he’s been the only one she’s ever been able to connect to, so is she going to blow off the relationship (whatever it is) over a few pesky paparazzi?

I initially adored the e-mails that went back and forth between Graham and Ellie, they were adorable funny but most of all honest. It’s where they shared their inner most fears and dreams never expecting to meet the person in real life. But then when Graham arrived at Maine, the e-mails started withering down to nothing. I think I would have much preferred the e-mails to continue through the course of the book as both characters made many mistakes which could have probably been cleared up quicker if they’d have just communicated properly in the first place.

Both characters had awkward pasts which brought them together in the first place. They were both at a place in life where they still wanted something else. Graham thought he had everything as he was a big high flying actor but he was always alone in his grand old house and his relationship with his parents wasn’t that great. Ellie and her mum were just able to scrape by, they had a shop which was doing okay, but when something broke down they had to just manage. Ellie had wanted to go on a writer’s course but as it had no scholarship, she had to make her own money; she didn’t want to ask her mum especially after everything that had happened. So just having this correspondence with each other through e-mail brightened up their day.

I did like this cute relationship which was developing between Graham and Ellie, with the way their lives were, they deserved that bit of happiness. But I had a hard time connecting to either character. I did feel for them at times, the heartache they had to experience, but there was never anything which they did which left a great impression with me. Everything about them and their relationship was cute but other than that it wasn’t anything memorable.

Also characters which dither about frustrate me hugely. They had been talking for weeks and so knew they felt something towards each other, but just didn’t do anything about it until later. I understand Ellie was worried about her past being brought up, but really if you know the guy you like is going to be around just for a few weeks wouldn’t you want to make the most of your time together?

This is What Happy Looks Like was a book which I had really high hopes for, but it just really fell flat in places, I found myself forcing to read for the sake of reading and not because I was actually enjoying it. However I’m sure I will be in the minority with my feelings about this book as most readers will be sure to devour it right up, so please don’t let my review put you off in giving it a go.

As This is What Happy Looks Like didn't really work out for me, I've decided to give my copy away. This giveaway will be international and you can enter by filling out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck everyone! 


a Rafflecopter giveaway

115 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I am so excited for this book. Sad to see that you didn't like it.
    Most books make me happy.

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  3. I've been waiting to see some reviews for this book. Really the blurb sounds interesting and I was really curious. Too bad you couldn't connect with the characters...I hate when that happens. Great review Jasprit :)

    To answer your question - right now Clockwork Princess! :)

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  4. It's unfortunate that you didn't love this book but sometimes that happens! A book that makes me happy is The Truth About Forever, or Anna and the French Kiss!

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  5. So many people are giving mixed reviews so I don't know what to expect from it. It was nice to hear your thought about it, though.

    Most light contemporaries with unique characters make me happy :)

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

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  6. Pretty much any book by Cassandra Clare, Stephanie Perkins, or Julie Kagawa makes me happy :D

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  7. The Adrian Mole series by Sue Townsend :)
    (Zsófia Sz.)

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  8. Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead

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  9. I am so ken to read this book just to see if I feel the same way as everyone else, because I swear everyone feels the same about this book!

    And dithery characters bother me, too!

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  10. Ahh, there are so many books that make me happy. <3 But I just finished re-reading Jellicoe Road, and that book makes me SO HAPPY. But also sad and heartbroken. But it's just perfect :) Thank you for this amazing giveaway! I would love to win this book :) It sounds amazing.
    Love, Carina

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  11. Which books make me happy? Those cute romancey ones, like Lola and the Boy Next Door or any other that has a great crushable book boyfriend.

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  12. Right now THE HOBBIT makes me happy.

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  13. I wasn't that keen on The Statistical Probability..., mostly because I didn't feel very connected to the characters in that, either. Sorry to hear this one fell a bit flat!

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  14. I love Diary of a Whimpy Kid. :)

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  15. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one that much Jaspirit but great review and thanks for the giveaway :)

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  16. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson.
    It's hard not to be able to connect to the characters because you can't feel the story. I've read reviews with the same problem but I would like to read it to see for myself :)
    Thank you for the giveaway!

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  17. I'm not always a fan of e-mail (or text!) exchanges in books, though they usually work pretty well in contemporary stories. I'm glad you thought this was cute overall, even if there was a lack of complete connection. Great review, Jasprit! :)

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  18. Easy by Tammara Webber! I adore that book! I can't wait to read this is What Happy Looks Like! It sounds so good and I like the author's style! I loved The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight!

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  19. Books like The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, My Life Next Door, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Jellicoe Road, Going Vintage.. All the cute romance books! :)
    Thanks for a giveaway! :)

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  20. Hah. I just read this and my post was supposed to go up today. But I postponed it for If He Had Been With Me. Lol.

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  21. Contemporary YA romance usually makes me happy. Few books that made me feel giddy were Shrinking Violet, Catching Jordan and Anna and the French Kiss.

    I've been waiting for this book since I loved The Statistical Probability. Thanks for the giveaway!

    x,
    Charlie Letter Trails

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  22. I have been so excited to read this one, and I just got it from the library. But most of the reviews I've read have felt mediocre about it, so now I'm less interested. I really loved The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, so it's disappointing that this one is getting lower reviews.

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  23. Amy and Roger's Epic Detour :)

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  24. Honestly as long as I am reading a book with a touch of romance in it I am usually happy. Reading calms me and puts a smile on my face so I am always happy while reading!

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  25. I haven't read it yet, but I have a feeling that when I write my review, it will be similar. I look forward to the emails so it's disappointing that it withers down. Also, I hate when characters have their pasts get in the way and waste time. Great review!

    Oh, why not, while I'm here :) ....reading in general makes me happy, but usually contemporary and definitely some kind of romance in my YA!

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  26. You are most definitely not alone in your feelings, Jasprit. Most reviews that I've read, mine included, stated that the characters & story felt flat. Smith is such a wonderful writer. I wish I had loved this more.
    Great review!

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  27. Harry Potter, every time. :)

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  28. Many readers had a very similar reaction to this book as you did, Jasprit. I'm beginning to wonder if I should read it or not. It sounds so cute though. I love that they email each other. It's really too bad that you were unable to connect with either of the characters, but I understand why the book might have fallen flat for you.
    Lovely review, Jasprit!

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  29. Aw, Jasprit... sorry it didn't work out for you. :( It sucks when that happens. Great review, though. :)

    So far, any book by Lauren Oliver or Maggie Stiefvater makes me happy. But that's a *short* list... I could go on. lol

    B

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  30. Rereading Harry Potter books or other favourites makes me happy! :)

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  31. It's hard to say what book makes me happy... I never re-read something I've read before. But I like books that make me cry, make me laugh and tug at my emotions.

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  32. I felt much the same as you on this one, Jasprit. I had such high hopes in the beginning because the way the relationship was introduced was so cute! But the side plots and the constant back and forth just started to annoy me and take my enjoyment away from the story. I'm like you, I don't like the "dithering" characters. They know how they feel and yet they fight it forEVER it's so annoying. Fabulous review!

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  33. Stories with happy endings make me happy. Stories that have been written beautifully, where the words have deep meanings that I can relate with. Or simply some cute romances (: Let's say "Warm Bodies" by Isaac Marion.

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  34. Aw, I gave up on this one...I couldn't connect to it what so ever as it was so slow paced. Glad you stuck with it though. Lovely review hun x

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  35. Awwww sorry this one didn't work for you Jasprit! I feel like I'm the only person that liked it. I've seen a lot of "meh" reviews for it, but I had fun with it. I agree with you on the emails though, I do wish those had continued throughout because they hooked me immediately. I could have done without the plotline with Ellie's father as well, but overall I really enjoyed it. Fabulous review as always though!

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  36. The one book that truly makes me happy, even though I have cried every single time I have read it is, "Love you Forever" by Robert Munsch. It is actually a children's book and I bought it when my kids were little. LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK!!!
    http://www.amazon.com/Love-You-Forever-Robert-Munsch/dp/0920668372/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365429760&sr=8-1&keywords=love+you+forever+by+robert+munsch

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  37. I'm sorry this one didn't really work for you. Since I enjoyed "Statistical...", I'll give it a try anyway.

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  38. The Wicked Lovely series makes me happy. So different from everything else!

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  39. Aww, I'm sorry you end up quite disappointed on this one, Jasprit. I'm think of reading this next week so let's see what i make of it. Still, I'm glad you find the overall story to be really cute. Thanks for the honest review! :)

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  40. thanks for the honest review! Pretty much most books make me happy :)

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  41. ALL good books make me happy!

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  42. My life next door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

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  43. Oooh, I think I'll like the beginning of the story - so sweet and cute! Thanks for sharing :)

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  44. A really good read book makes me happy!!

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  45. Wonderful review, Jasprit! A lot of the qualms you faced are ones I know I'd have to and when faced with characters I can't connect with, I usually dislike the novel immensely. For me, tSPoLaFS was successful because I could connect with the characters and seeing as this is based off of two of my favorite movies, I'll probably find more to fault with it than most. Thanks for the honest review, dearest! :)

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  46. hmm, Scarlet makes me happy as does Through the Ever Night (no love triangles for me :) )

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  47. Anna and the French Kiss, Jellicoe Road, The Sky is Everywhere ect.
    Books in general make me happy :)

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  48. Everything Peggy Martinez writes! I just finished the novelette Brevity and I am dying for more!

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  49. So many books make me happy--two that I always can pick up and be happy reading are Emma by Jane Austen (classic!) and The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen :)

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  50. Cassandra Clare and Kiersten White makes me happy!

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  51. Oh, not you too. I'm sorry it didn't work for you. I swear, everytime a read a review for this book, it makes my expectations down & down and now, I don't even want to give it a try. I read the preview and I thought it was cute, so maybe sometime in future I might pick it up.

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  52. Anna and the French Kiss makes me really happy! Sorry you didn't like this one!

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  53. The Fault in Our Stars...I love the funny, light-hearted parts :D

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  54. Books with hot boys make me happy ;)

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  55. Honestly, I have this Disney fairytales book that I always read with my little cousin and that book and those moments together make me really happy

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  56. The Bible, Harry Potter, and anything paranormal!!!

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  57. I saw this the other day and was thinking it sounded cute and it had a You've Got Mail type of feel, but if you struggled with the second half maybe I will skip it. It does sound cute, but I am so buried in books right now...sigh...

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  58. Have you read Jennifer's other books ? I read the Probability of Love at First Sight and really liked it, so I want to read this one.

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  59. Pretty much any book makes me happy, but reading The Tickle Monster to the kids I sit for definitely makes me happy : )

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  60. I like the concept of the book. Sad to hear it fell flat for you in some places. Very honest review. Thanks for sharing!

    Jennifer @ Dream Reads

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  61. I agree with everything you said, Jasprit! You completely captured everything I thought about the book. The email exchanges between Graham and Ellie in the beginning were so cute but when I discovered that it was toned down once they met each other, the story felt flat in some places like you said. I might have enjoyed The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight more than this book but it was cute and I did enjoy it!

    Awesome review, Jasprit ♥

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  63. I am allergic to books with relationship problems that stem from lack of communication. It's a pet peeve of mine.
    I always knew I wouldn't read this one. Statistical Probability really wasn't for me, and neither is Smith's style, but I thought it might be more up your alley. I'm sorry it wasn't.
    Lovely review as always, Jasprit!

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  64. I am always happy to read any book but the book that makes me happiest is "The Mediator" and the whole series that follows.

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  65. I've read her other book and I know I lot of folks loved it but I just couldn't connect with the characters and they just annoyed me most of the time. It seems like you had the same feelings about this one! Not sure if I'll ever read this but thanks for the review jasprit!

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  66. Anything by Hannah Moskowitz! <3

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  67. Anna and the French Kiss :D

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  68. All books make me happy! Thank you so much for making this giveaway international!

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  69. Most books have a bunch of happy times, especially after a big problem is solved. The book I just finished, Walking Disaster by: Jamie McGuire had a LOT of problems, which made me that much happier when some are solved. :)

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  70. all books, speacially chindren's books!
    thanks!

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  71. Most books make me happy, particularly books by Jennifer Estep, Mercedes Lackey, Christine Feehan, Julia Quinn and Sarah Addison Allen! :)

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  72. Books in general tend to make me happy, but books that are sitting on my bookshelf make me extra happy :) It's really hard to pick just one!

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  73. The Heather Wells series by Meg Cabot make me happy!

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  74. The Vampire Academy/Bloodlines series always make me happy! I also had a dorky smile on my face the entire time I read Meant To Be by Lauren Morill =)

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  75. Oh a lot! Books by Cassandra Clare, Jennifer E Smith and Julia Quinn. Stephanie Perkins, too :)

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  76. The Trouble With Flirting by Claire LaZebnik, anything by Meg Cabot– I keep smiling when reading according to my sister :P Thanks for the amazing giveaway!

    Rabiah

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  77. Too many too name! Really excited about the Sweet Evil series! Thanks!

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  78. Any book by Ilona Andrews makes me happy

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  79. Harry potter and any Sarah Rees Brennan books

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  80. Any book by Colleen Hoover makes me happy :) I cry like a baby in them, but they make me happy.

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  81. Sarah Dessen novels make me happy!

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  82. There are so many books that make me happy - but really any contemporary. Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot! They all make me happy.

    Great review! I'm pretty excited for this one.

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  83. Any Harry Potter book, probably for the nostalgia for it all <3

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  84. Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty :) Thanks for the giveaway!

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  85. Tons of books make me happy, but right now The Immortal Rules is making me happy :) Thank you!

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  86. This is going to sound weird, but The Fault in Our Stars. I just love books that make me think. =)

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  87. Books with HEA endings!! :)

    Thanks for the international giveaway.

    Rafflecopter name - Rose L

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  88. I was really looking forward to this book(and I still am) since it sounded a lighthearted and sweet book. I hate it when characters don't work out either,I'm sorry it didn't work out for you!
    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts,Jasprit. :)
    As for fave books I'd say historical romances by Julia Quinn. Quinn has a great sense of humor and her books always have happy ending. :D

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  89. The book I'm currently reading at any time is the one that makes me happy. I'm passionate about books and reading and my hobby has given me hour after hour of happiness and pleasure :-)

    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

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  90. Stephanie Perkins' books, both are light read and humorous, such a feel good read ;D

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  91. Clockwork princess by Cassandra Clare. :-)

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  92. It's so disappointing when you have really high hopes for a book and it falls flat...but it's kind of nice for us that one of us will win it! lol
    Anna and the French Kiss always makes me happy...same for Anne of Green Gables.
    Thanks for the great giveaway! :-)

    ~Marie @ Ramblings of a Daydreamer

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  93. Most books makes me happy... well if I like them!
    But books with a lot of humour and stuff like that makes me happy. Right now i am thinking that any Vampire Academ y or Bloodlines books by Richelle Mead make me happy. I mean Dimitri Belikov and Adrian Ivashkov :D

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  94. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen makes me incredible happy! So does Northanger Abbey :)

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  95. Definitely ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS.

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  96. Oh, I'm sorry this one fell flat for you. I felt the same way of Jennifer's other book, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. It wasn't as good as I'd hoped. And I'm sorry to hear that the characters annoyed you! That has me worried now! As for a book that makes me happy: Divergent, of course!

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  97. It's hard to name just one books.
    The Harry Potter series definitely makes me happy.

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  98. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  99. serial hottie by kelly oram .. is a funny and cute book
    almendra in the rafflecopter

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  100. I'd really love to read this book, thanks for giving this opportunity :)

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  101. I've been waiting for this book since I loved The Statistical Probability. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  102. I liked The Statistical Probability but not as much as I hoped, so I'm hoping this one is better :3 I certainly think the storyline for this seems more interesting so.. :D

    I have to say that most books make me happy and its hard to pick just one out of a huge group of them :3

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  103. Because of Low by Abbi Glines

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