Book Review- By Your Side by Kasie West

30256248

By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on January 31st, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 346
Goodreads
Amazon

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?

Initial Thoughts

After loving P.S. I Like You and hating The Fill-In Boyfriend, I wasn’t sure how to feel going into this book. Would it be adorable and cute or frustrating and cringey?

It turned out to be a bit of both.

What I Liked

Dax. Dax was honestly a pretty compelling character, and turned out to be my favorite character in the story. He was independent and closed off, yet he had this soft gooey center that made me want to love him. At first I was a little confused by his motivations, but as the story went on and I began to understand him better, he really grew on me. Also, he ACTUALLY READ in the library (unlike the other characters, which kind of made the whole plot questionable… but I’ll talk more about that later).

The relationship between Dax and Autumn was pretty cute. It definitely followed the hurt-closed-off-guy-opens-up-to-spoilt-rich-girl-who-secretly-has-problems trope, but it was done pretty well. I really liked how organic the relationship seemed (even if the part where them getting stuck in the library was… um… unlikely?)

I also liked the pacing of the book. It wasn’t too slow, but it wasn’t super fast either. And the plot was not too complex, but had a lot of complexity to it.

What I Didn’t Like

Jeff. He was the boy that Autumn was pining over, and honestly he didn’t do much except annoy me. Even though he was made out to be a fun, likeable, and go-lucky kind of guy, I couldn’t bring myself to care about him in the slightest. He felt too much like a cut-out, and it definitely didn’t help that his “best friend” was literally an exact copy of him (except of course the best friend didn’t like Autumn at all).

I honestly didn’t really like any of the characters except Dax. All of Autumn’s friends were boring, and I couldn’t even differentiate between them. And, at some point, there was a little bit of drama when one of the friends told Autumn that another one liked Jeff… and then it was never mentioned again. Like what was the point of that?!?

I also really didn’t like the parents in this book. They were all frustrating and pointless. Even Dax’s mom, who was built up so much, was a complete letdown. Then there were some loose ends left with her. DID THEY MAKE UP? DID DAX TELL HER OFF? The world may never know.

Also can we take a minute and talk about the library? What the hell?!? First of all, the whole Autumn being left behind thing was stupid and improbable. I just can’t see that happening in real life. Secondly, the very first thing I would think of in that situation would be pulling the fire alarm. It was SO FRUSTRATING waiting for Autumn to come up with that on her own. It kind of ruined the whole first part of the book for me.

And then, Dax was honestly kind of annoying about the fire alarm. Like just let the girl get out and hide if you don’t want to be seen. It’s not like they are going to search the library once they realize that she pulled the alarm because she was stuck in there.
And then the whole plot when she finally got out of the library. I mean, I guess I could see how that would happen, but it was all just a little much to believe.

And then Jeff’s mom. Oh MY GOSH she was the worst. I actually kind of wanted to strangle her. I get that she was just clinging onto any hope (given her situation that I won’t tell you more about becuase #nospoilers), but it was so unrealistic and annoying.

Let’s also take a minute to talk about Autumn’s anxiety disorder. She kept it a secret from her friends because she didn’t want them to look at her differently. UMMMMM. Honey. If you are scared to tell your “best” friend(s) something like that then are you sure that they are really your friends? I get that talking about stuff like that can be scary sometimes, but that’s something that people talk about with their friends. You should see how much I talk to my friends about stuff like that. It’s called building a support system.

And I guess it wasn’t even that I had the hardest time believing that she would keep it from her friends (although it was pretty stupid).What really annoyed me about Autumn’s Anxiety™ was how much she whined about it. Literally half the book was her complaining about her anxiety and then refusing to do anything about it.

“Oh my gosh my anxiety is so bad and it holds me back from life but I don’t want help I just want to suffer in silence please and make my friends think I’m a terrible flake instead of facing my problems. But you know I’m gonna whine about it 24/7 and wonder why this is happening to ME. I’m also going to ignore my parents and brother trying to help me because they JUST DON’T understand my mind.”

– My impression of Autumn for 90% of the book

Overall

As you can probably tell by the amount of good vs. bad things I had to say about By Your Side, this wasn’t my favorite book. It wasn’t the worst thing that I’ve ever read, but I don’t think I’m going to be picking up anything by Kasie West for quite a while.

I am going to give By Your Side two out of five hearts.

♥♥♥♥♥

Talk to me! Have you ever read By Your Side? What did you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with what I had to say? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Advertisements

Why The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West made me want to scream- Book Review

18660447

 

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 346
Goodreads
Amazon

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

Initial Thoughts

After reading (and really liking) P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, a lot of people recommended The Fill-In Boyfriend, claiming it was West’s best book. I went into this book expecting a fun, light, fuzzy read that would leave me feeling good.

In reality, there was a lot about this book that really annoyed me. I ended up really not enjoying it at all.

What I Liked

The synopsis. It was really interesting, and I have never read or heard about a book that is very similar.

The plot. Again, it was very original, and if I ignore all of the stuff that really annoyed me, this book was actually pretty great. I loved the plot and how the book ended.

The romance. It was cute. What can I say, I’m a sucker for cute romance.

What I Didn’t Like

JULES. AND THE REST OF GIA’S FRIENDS. I cannot tell you how middle-school-drama their whole relationship felt. It was quite frankly just ridiculous. It was so forced, and it was literally “my friends brought in a new girl to the friend group who thinks I’m the leader and now hates me for some unknown reason and wants to turn my friends against me.” GAHHHHHHH. And going off of that…

How immature all of the characters were. I have this problem with a lot of YA contemporaries, but it was particularly bad in this one. The characters literally acted like they were 12 half of the time, and they were supposed to be seniors in high school.

How the parents were portrayed. Gia’s parents were very one-dimensional and frustrating. I understand what West was going for with their characters, but they didn’t come off as human at all. They were more like forced stereotypes. Also “fill-in Bradley’s” (not gonna spoil his name!) mom was the “artsy-mom” stereotype and that annoyed me to no end as well. Also fill-in Bradley’s dad? Did I miss something? Because I don’t think he is mentioned at all.

All of the side characters. All of the characters. They were so one-dimensional it actually hurt. And don’t even get me started on Gia. She made me want to scream half of the time.

Overall

I can’t say I hated this book, but it was pretty bad. But bad more in the “stop being so moronic and act your age” way rather than “this book is literal trash” way.

I’m going to give The Fill-In Boyfriend 2 out of 5 hearts.

♥♥♥♥♥

Talk to me

Have you read The Fill-In Boyfriend? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review-Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers

25898555

 

Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers
Published by Sky Pony Press on May 3rd, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 288
Goodreads
Amazon

His world is music. Her world is silent.

Ali Collins was a child prodigy destined to become one of the greatest musicians of the twenty-first century—until she was diagnosed with a life-changing brain tumor. Now, at seventeen, Ali lives in a soundless world where she gets by with American Sign Language and lip-reading. She’s a constant disappointment to her father, a retired cop fighting his own demons, and the bruises are getting harder to hide.

When Ali accidentally wins a backstage tour with the chart-topping band Tone Deaf, she’s swept back into the world of music. Jace Beckett, the nineteen-year-old lead singer of the band, has a reputation. He’s a jerk and a player, and Ali wants nothing to do with him. But there’s more to Jace than the tabloids let on. When Jace notices Ali’s bruises and offers to help her escape to New York, Ali can’t turn down the chance at freedom and a fresh start. Soon she’s traveling cross-country, hidden away in Jace’s RV as the band finishes their nationwide tour. With the help of Jace, Ali sets out to reboot her life and rediscover the music she once loved.

Tone Deaf was a good story. It had all the right elements to it: a gorgeous, troubled love interest (who just happens to be a rock star), a MC who is just the right amount of tough and in danger, and a chance meeting that brings them together.

Plot

The plot of the story was compelling, and I couldn’t put this book down. The story takes place over a relatively short period of time, but it was more than enough to get to know the characters, and it flowed very smoothly; nothing seemed forced or too unrealistic (if you don’t count Ali winning the exclusive backstage tour that kicked everything off).

Characters

Unsurprisingly, Jace and Ali were the most dimensional characters in the story. Both of them had heart-wrenching stories, and honestly it was those stories that drove the book forward. I really liked both of their characters.

Arrow, Killer, and Jon were the three other boys in Jace’s band, Tone Deaf. They were all supposed to be older than Jace (who was 19), but they seemed very juvenile and more like cookie-cutter fill-in characters. That being said, they were entertaining and I liked them… I just wish they acted more like the age they were supposed to be. Jon was the most realistic of the three, and he had the least time in the book.

Ali’s dad, who is the main protagonist in the book, was easy to hate. He really is just a terrible person. However, he also was a very one-dimensional character. Although Ali talks about his other moods, they are never shown in the book. But that’s to be expected when he is only in a few scenes of the book.

Ali’s best friend/neighbor along with Jace’s manager and pretty much all of the other characters aren’t that complex. Not that I minded, as this story really was about Ali and Jace.

Things I Liked

I liked the relationship between Ali and Jace. It is fragile and sensitive and beautiful.
I liked the tone and pace of the story. It was easy to follow, not too slow, and not too fast.
I liked the friendship between the members of Tone Deaf, and Ali’s friendship with her best friend.
I liked how realistic all of the emotions felt, and how they were dealt with.
I liked Cuddles!! (You’re just going to have to read the book to find out who that is!)

Things I Didn’t Like

I didn’t like how young and immature the characters could be at times.

Yeah that’s really all I didn’t like.

Overall

Overall I really liked this book. It was a quick read with a whole lot of emotion that left me feeling good at the end and wanting more.
I would recommend this book to anyone who loves YA contemporary romance, or anyone looking for a good book to help break them in to the genre.
I am going to give Tone Deaf by Olivia Rivers 4 out of 5 hearts.

♥♥♥♥

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

template

I’ve always loved seeing people’s answers for this tag, and now I get to do it (again*)!! The wonderful Nika @ Bookster tagged me to do the Unpopular Opinions book tag!

*(I just checked, and yes I did this a in June… but I’m excited to do it again! And I’m actually tagged for it this time! Here is the link to my first go-around if you want to check it out!)

The Unpopular Opinions Book Tag

1. A popular book or book series that you didn’t like:

256683.jpg

2. A popular book or series that else seems to hate but you love:

wave-coveer

3. An OTP that you don’t like:

25817310

Alice and Max from Dreamology.

4. A popular genre that you hardly reach for:

Contemporary

5. A popular/beloved character that you do not like:

16068905Cath from Fangirl.

6. A popular author that you can’t seem to get into:

Cassandra Clare. As you can see above, I tried City of Bones and didn’t like it. After that I don’t think I’m ever going to pick up another one of her books.

7. A popular book trope that you’re tired of seeing:

The “super clumsy” main character. It’s unrealistic, distracting, and honestly is just super annoying at this point.

8.  A popular series that you have no interest in reading:

6068551

9. The saying goes “the book is always better than the movie”, but what movie or TV show adaptation do you prefer more than the book?:

untitled

I tag:

YOUYOUYOUYOUYOUYOUYOU!!!!!!

I want to see everybody’s unpopular opinions!!!!

Thanks for reading!!

Book Review- Little Monsters

32320750

 

 

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
Published by Delacorte Press on July 25th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Goodreads
Amazon

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

OH GOSH. Where to even start?

This book was NOTHING like I was expecting… in the best way possible.

I honestly had no idea what to think of this book. I had never read anything by Kara Thomas before, and I’m really not the biggest fan of Pretty Little Liars (which this book is “for the fans of”). I don’t know what prompted me to pick it up, but I am so glad I did.

Okay so this review is probably going to be a little ramble-y (like all of my reviews…) but I’m still in so much shock after reading this that it is a little hard to form coherent thoughts.

EVERYTHING about this book was amazing. From the scheming to the mystery to the reveal at the end. I was thrown in a loop so many times that it baffles me. There was just enough realness in the story to make it seem 100% real, like I was reading a true recounting of something that happened far away in Broken Falls.

The characters in the book were SO COMPLEX. I was surprised by them at every turn. The secrets and the jealousy. The backstabbing and the ulterior motives. What was even more scary than the eventual truth that came at the end was how hard it was to hate any of the characters. Even the characters who did awful, terrible things.

The plot of this book was incredible. That’s the only way to describe it. I’ve never read anything like it, and all I want is more. More, more, more.

I would recommend this book to everyone. Seriously. Everyone can take something away from this.

I am going to give Little Monsters five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Dreamology

25817310

 

 

Dreamology by Lucy Keating
Published by HarperTeen on April 12, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy
Pages: 336
Goodreads
Amazon

For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together, they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.

But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s stubborn and complicated. And he has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of. Getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.

Alarmingly, when their dreams start to bleed into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?

This book made me SO MAD. It was infuriating to the point where it became an almost hate-read. Honestly I don’t even know where to start with this one. UGH.

Okay, firstly, the characters were awful. Alice was SUCH an idiot. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her and tell her to stop being so stupid. I mean honestly, how is it possible to have that little common sense? My gosh.

And Max. UGHHHHHH. He was so annoying. I honestly hated him as a character. I hated his relationship with Alice. I hated everything about him. Actually, I really didn’t like any of the characters. They all were so unrealistic and annoying and infuriating.

Phew. Okay. So secondly, can we just talk about how UNREALISTIC the whole situation with the dream-doctor guy is? I don’t know if this counts as spoilers or not (it probably does, so if you haven’t read this and don’t want to know some of the goings-on in the middle of the book, you might want to skip ahead), but seriously the whole dream/experimenting thing is illegal in like 10 different ways. Both Max and Alice are under 18, but still the doctor guy is like “oh yeah just come in and don’t tell your parents and we’ll experiment on you guys.” WHAT THE HELL. THIS IS SO STUPID. AND THEN NOTHING EVEN HAPPENS TO THE DOCTOR BECAUSE OF IT? HE SHOULD BE IN PRISON AND UNLICENCED. And then, not only does nothing happen because of that, but he gets in trouble for PARROT TRADE?!?!?!?!? WTF. UGHGHGHGHHGHGGHHGHGGH

Thirdly, I HATE THE RELATIONSHIPS IN THIS BOOK. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF THEM.
Honestly I am just so mad at this book. And the whole reason for Max and Alice being in each other’s dreams was idiotic. What an anti-climax.

I just had so many problems with this book. So. Many. Problems.

I can’t even. Ugh.

I am going to give Dreamology one out of five hearts.

Book Review- P.S. I Like You

25486998

 

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point on July 26th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 330
Goodreads
Amazon

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

This book was straight up adorable.

I’m usually not one for contemporary novels (so I keep saying…) but when I read the synopsis for this one, I couldn’t resist. It just sounded so cute. And it was…

I was really worried when I first started reading this book. The story wasn’t new or surprising or original. I knew who Lily’s “secret” pen pal was within the first five pages, and pretty much guessed the entirety of the plot. So yeah, I was scared that this book was going to be one cliché fluff piece that would leave me even more reluctant to pick up contemporary novels than I already am.

But honestly this book surprised me, even if I was right about what happened. Everything was just adorable. I fell in love with Lily and Cade. They just seem honest and real, and the character development is SO GOOD.

While this may not be my favorite book in the world, how much I enjoyed it was definitely a surprise to me, and I really want to read some more books from Kasie West (and hopefully find one with a bit more of an original and less predictable plot).

I would recommend this to anyone who loves YA contemporaries, and anyone who is not-so-big on them, but is looking for a good place to start.

I am going to give P.S. I Like You four out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥