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They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.

They lie.

For 21 days she held on.

But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.

Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.

BOOK REVIEW: The Paper Swan

Leylah Attar


“We are a question that hasn’t been answered yet, a hiding place that hasn’t been found yet, a battle that hasn’t been fought yet.”

Holy cow! What a spectacular book this was! Gripping and unexpected, this story literally took my breath away, and I not only found myself reading until dawn, but also incapable of moving on and picking up another book for days to come. Within an exhilarating scenario that is as unique as it is astounding, I never expected to find so many surprises, so many twists and turns at every corner, and I felt like I was on a joyride of a lifetime. But fear not because I will not spoil any of it for you, as each small discovery, each staggering revelation, each ‘sucker punch’ in the story has made this one of the most riveting, compelling, and truly unforgettable reads of my life. Not to mention, one of the most divinely written ones too.

“This was a murder-turned-into-abduction. This was a screwed-up moment of weakness. This was a personal, targeted attack against my father.”

There is no slow introduction into the storyline, no gradual easing into it for the reader—the story takes off ‘mid race’, as we find the heroine with a gun pointed at her head, abducted and facing death at the hands of a man she doesn’t know. Skye Sedgewick has lived a privileged life since birth, her only living parent showering her with love and attention, and never making her want for anything. And yet, at the mercy of her captor, powerless and facing imminent death, her mind draws comfort from recalling a time when she was just a child, when the sound of her nanny’s lullaby could erase all hurts, when her childhood best friend’s intrepid heart made her feel safe and protected, and when all it took to put a smile on her face was a pink-frosted cake and a paper giraffe. But even those happy memories do little to dissolve the utter gloom of her reality—held hostage on a boat by a man who shows her no compassion or empathy, whose mind games and bouts of cruelty slowly strip her of all hope and dignity, while they sail towards an unknown destination and an uncertain fate for Skye.

“I felt like all the bits that held me together were slowly coming unglued, falling off, piece by piece. I was disappearing, disintegrating like the rocks that get eaten by the sea.”

But as their journey continues, an unexpected attachment forms between captor and captive, and the more Skye’s childhood memories keep returning and offsetting her harsh reality, the more of the truth behind her abduction is revealed. Until the past and the present suddenly collide and our heroine and her captor, Damian, find themselves torn between what has been and all that their hearts tell them should be.

“There are no good guys or bad guys. Everyone has a reason.”

And that is when this story takes off on an unforeseen adventure of soul-searching, friendship, redemption and survival, an adventure where love is the ultimate prize and the past is the bitterest foe. As Skye and Damian succumb to their feelings, recognising a love that was written in the stars for them, they soon realise that that very love is the only thing holding vengeance back by a thread, a thread that can snap at any moment, and take it all away from them in one sweep.

“… there is no space too dark or too vast or too irredeemable that can’t be filled with love.”

There is so much more I could tell you about this story as I find myself here bursting to talk about it, but I have to remain vague so that you can discover and truly appreciate every facet of this beautiful tale the same way as I did—slowly and without warning. I will tell you, though, that no amount of imagination could have prepared me for any jaw-dropping moment of this passionate, thrilling, at times even gritty story of two people who have come full circle in life, only to find themselves torn between all they have gained and all they have lost.

“You can either choose love or you can choose hate, because where one lives, the other will die.”

I feel no amount of praise will ever do a book of this calibre justice. With its exquisite prose, almost poetic at times, the phenomenally framed characters, vulnerable and strong at the same time, the passionate, turbulent love story that pulls on every one of our heartstrings like a fine concerto, the richness of a storyline that is never predictable and consistently enthralling, this is a book I wish I could make everyone read. Because books like these are few and far between, and are nothing less than life-changing.

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“It’s not over, you know, it never has been … you will always be my forever.”

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(standalone stories with interconnected characters)


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207 Comments Hide Comments

I’m mesmerized by your review, so I can only imagine what the book will be like. Definitely adding to my TBR.

Oh, I love this review (and I agree with Zetti!) I have a funny feeling I’m going to hurt after this, and I´ll enjoy it, too, lol. I read 53 Letters when it first came out, and after I finished it, I waited a few days and re-read it, slowly, to savor it again. I tend to put some authors in little niches. These authors are automatic 1-clicks, I know they can do no wrong. I added Leyla to the select group that houses Amy Harmon, Mia Sheridan and AL Jackson, I love their writng style. She´s in very good company

Love your review. I should stop reading your reviews because my toreadlist is already sooo long because of them…just kidding ;)

Fascinating review I found myself transported by your enthusiasm and now I cant wait to read it too Thanks for the fantastic review :)

I love your review. I really have been dying to read this book and so many tell me I need to read it, so this review makes me want to read it even more! I love your reviews on books.

Lovely review Natasha…I love you excitement about this one. This one just landed in my kindle and I’m going to jump on this one ;)

Your review for The Paper Swan is hauntingly beautiful , I would greatly appreciate and love to win the giveaway for it !
Please and thank you for the chance :)

your review makes me want to stop reading the series im 1/2 way threw and start this bad boy. Excited for the chance to get to read this! Thank you!!

Sounds like a really good read! I love reading your reviews because we have the same taste in books :)

This review is beautiful! And definitely made me one-click this one and bumb it up on my list. You haven’t steered me wrong yet, so I’m sure I’m gonna love this one too. ❤️

Just an amazing review! Your reviews always add to my enjoyment of the book. You help me get more from what I’m reading! <3

WOW!!! My breath caught just reading the review! Your descriptions are breathtaking. I am afraid and excited to read this all at the same time. I feel like I am laying my heart on a table, luckily I trust you WHOLE-HEARTEDLY and you have never steered me wrong. I clicked, and I will begin ASAP!

I’m scared to read this. I love angsty books.. I love crying like a baby. Can’t wait to start this! (Darn schoolwork getting in my way!)

I’m still in book hangover mode after being very fortunate to get to read an ARC and I agree with every word of your Beautiful review!

Your reviews always grab me and pull me in. I thank you for introducing me to books I would have passed on and this one so far it’s hurting!

Excellent review. I loved how you described the story so well without giving any spoilers!

I didn’t think I would survive this story, but I was so glad you recommended it to us because the unexpected parts of this story, their stories, had captivated me.

Listen to Mama Bear and read this!!

Thank you for taking your time to review books for us. It makes deciding on whether or not to read a book so much easier for me.

Somehow the movie – 21 Grams comes to mind. The weight of a soul.
does it take 21 days to lose 21 grams?
I don’t know , but there’s a saying -” there’s no pothole large enough, that it cannot be filled with love”
Love heals ; love repairs; love repatches your soul.
I would love to read this amazing book
thank you

Once again, you’ve sucked me in with your amazing review Natasha! I’m going in. See you on the other side!

Love your review, well into detail without giving anything away, just by reading this I find myself looking forward to read this, so thank you, I think you have me sold at “Holy cow!” , and the lovely quotes you included.
On side note, I love the design of your page, I don’t know if it was my pc, but was lovely how it loaded, I was actually distracted by it! :)

Your review is amazing..I’m in love with this book..n haven’t read it…thank you your review awesome

OMG!! I need to read this book. This review has me wishing I could read all day, every day and never have to go to work!!

Love to read your reviews!!!! You have such a way with words. This book sounds so good, can’t wait to read it!!!

Your reviews are always so amazing!! I just started reading this book today and now I want to stop everything else in my life just so I can immerse myself in this book!!

I hate that I misspelled her name! Grrr.
P.s. I usually read your reviews after I read the book. Going in I like just knowing your star count. After, reading your review is when all my thoughts come together. If that makes sense.

Yet another book purchased based solely off of your ranting recommendation. You told me I HAD to read this. I bought it as soon as it was live. I know I won’t regret it. Thank you for another glowing review and another book added to my unread pile that is now number one and will be read immediately.

I always love reading your reviews – you give such a good feel for the book without spoiling. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts in such an accessible way :)

YES! Love your review and couldn`t agree more! LOVE this book! So much! I think this book isn’t just among this year’s favorites but all time favorites :)

Your reviews always inspire me to read more. This is no exception. Can’t wait to get lost in this journey!

Beautiful review and I really appreciate you restraining yourself so as not to reveal too much. I know it’s hard, but I hate spoilers. So, thank you

Holy cow! I was totally on the fence about reading this book, but after reading your review, I just bought it! I can always trust that you’ll give an honest review, but this one said so much without saying much at all. I’m on vacation in 3 days, and this is getting read first! Thank you!

I can always count on your reviews when it comes to reading a book. You have yet to steer me wrong. Such a beautiful book. If it weren’t for your review I’m not sure I would have heard of it. Thank you for finding these beautiful treasures for us.

Great review! I’m really looking forward to reading this book after my current read. I loved her other books.

You completely hooked me with your review of “The Paper Swan”. It contained words and phrases that spoke to me and had me longing for this book. “Sucker punch”, “gripping”, “life changing” and “…found myself reading until dawn, but also incapable of moving on and picking up another book for days to come”. These are all the things I love (and sometimes hate) about a book and will be getting “The Paper Swan” ASAP.

That was one fabulous review! I’m looking forward to reading this one, and added it to my Goodreads TBR list. Thanks for the chance!

I always get sucked in my your reviews! You have such a way with words and it never fails…I leave your page and go straight to Amazon! <3

You have such a way with words for reviews!! I have bought this book but haven’t started reading it yet-waiting for the weekend so I can read it in one sitting. I stumbled upon your blog a little over a year ago(I believe) and was mesmerized just by your words. I trust your reviews and haven’t been let down yet. Thank you!!

6 stars from you is an auto one-click for me!!! Love your review, Natasha! I’ve discovered some of my favorite reads from you and I’m certain The Paper Swan is no exception!

Wow , i dont read many reviews but after reading yours would be definitely be following to read morw of youra great review

So I bought a copy of this book out of curiosity. It is highly recommended and I thought, why not try? This is a great review and I’m readly to dive into the good story! Thank you!

I read and fell in LOVE with “53 Letters for My Lover!” <3
I had already purchased and planned to read "The Paper Swan" too!
After reading your glowing review, I'm even more EXCITED to devour this story!
Thanks Natasha! <3

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