Book Review- By Your Side by Kasie West

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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!

 

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

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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!

Why My Lady Jane Doesn’t Live Up To The Hype- Book Review

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My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Published by HarperTeen on June 7th, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 491
Goodreads
Amazon

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?


The hype surrounding My Lady Jane was what made me pick up this book in the first place.

Lots of people were saying how hilarious and witty this book was. Also, it’s a rewritten history of a Lady who lost her head, so I was like “Cool! Sounds like a fun read!”

So I got the book.

1

I didn’t know much about My Lady Jane when I started reading.

In fact, I somehow missed the memo that there would be magic in this book. How did I do that? I have no idea.

But hey, the fact that there was magic made me even more excited. Who doesn’t love some magic? (Hint: Me, apparently)

2

Nothing about the opening of My Lady Jane appealed to me.

I tried to find things about the characters to like, but came up dry. They all seemed really immature and overly silly. It was also very difficult to differentiate between their voices. I had to keep checking the name at the beginning of the chapter to remember who was narrating.

The magic also was a joke. The idea the authors had was really cool, but the execution was poor and it hurt my soul.

3

The story line was overshadowed by bad attempts at humor.

It may have been just me, but I could not get on board with any of the humor in My Lady Jane. It was slapstick gone wrong. I could tell where I was supposed to laugh, but that doesn’t mean that I did laugh… at all.

4

I made it about 20% through before I had to stop.

Maybe I didn’t give My Lady Jane enough of a chance. But I did not find it enjoyable at all. I couldn’t even bring myself to pick it back up.

5

Did the hype kill it?

After hearing so many amazing things about My Lady Jane, maybe my expectations for the book were too high. I know a lot of people loved this book, but I just don’t see it.

What did you think about My Lady Jane? Did it live up to the hype? 

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

Mini Reviews- The Selection Series

Hey everybody!

I’ve read the Selection Series* multiple times, and I honestly have no idea how I haven’t reviewed them on my blog yet?! Especially because my latest re-read was in June of this year (and it only took 2 days).

*It’s important to note that I am only talking about the original trilogy… not The Heir or The Crown

My reviews are all spoiler free, but if you haven’t read the whole series yet, you might not want to read the reviews for the second two books (unless you want to know some of the stuff that happens in the selection… then be my guest!)

Some quick facts:

Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: April 24th, 2012 (The Selection); April 23rd, 2013 (The Elite); May 6th, 2014 (The One)
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopia
Synopsis:

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Goodreads: The Selection, The Elite, The One
Amazon: The Selection, The Elite, The One

So let’s get started!

Book 1- The Selection

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The Selection is exciting from beginning to end.

American Singer doesn’t want to be a part of The Selection. She doesn’t want to marry Maxon and become the Princess. But her love for Aspen accidentally gets her thrown into the world that she so desperately wanted to avoid. And then the unexpected happens: she likes it. Dun dun dun….

This is definitely one of the more “trashy” YA books, but it is SO GOOD! This is a great book to read when I need to get out of a book slump, and it’s a quick read too!

I love America as a character. She is strong willed and hilarious, and has a deep appreciation for food that is all to relatable! And, what I love even more: she loves and wants to support her family. Oh, and both her parents are alive (unlike So. Many. Other. YA. Books.).

There definitely is a love “triangle” (angle? idk) going on in this series, but it doesn’t annoy me as much as they usually do. America’s feelings are valid. And she’s not wishy-washy (for example, she doesn’t say things like: “Oh I like Asher, but I like Maxon, oh my gosh what am I going to do? My life is so hard. Boo hoo”).

Overall, this book is just plain amazing, and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a cute, quick read (although you’ll probably want to pick up the next book right after you finish this one!!), and anyone who loves dystopia and romance!

I am going to give The Selection five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book 2- The Elite

16248068There are only 6 girls left in the Selection. Tensions are high, and the stakes are even higher.

America needs to choose: Aspen, the boy she has loved for years, or Maxon, the Prince she might love.

The Elite is full of drama, both from The Selection, and from the Rebel threat that seems to grow with every day. This book is just as exciting and fast paced as the first one.

As America begins to take on more duties in the palace, she also begins to learn more about what the Rebels want and what her connections are to their goal.

If you read the first book and loved it, I definitely recommend you continue the series! You won’t be disappointed!

I am going to give The Elite five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book 3- The One

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There are three girls left in The Selection, and the time has come to choose a queen. America Singer knows that Maxon loves her, but before she commits to the crown, she has to sort out her feelings. Does she love Maxon, the prince who has snuck into her heart, or Aspen, the boy she has loved for years but broke her heart?

Meanwhile, the Rebel attacks are getting worse, and America is caught up in the middle of it. She discovers that she is connected to the rebels in more ways than one, and she uncovers secrets about her country’s history in the process.

The One is a stunning conclusion to The Selection trilogy. It is fast paced and exciting, and keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the very last chapter!

If you have read The Selection and The Elite, I highly recommend you read the conclusion!! Also, if you haven’t read this series and love YA dystopia/romance, try it!!

I am going to give The One five out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Have you read this trilogy? What did you think about it? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!!

Thanks for reading!!

Book Review- Dreamology

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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- King’s Cage

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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Published by HarperTeen on February 7, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia
Pages: 528
Goodreads
Amazon

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

If you have not read my review for the first two books in this series, click these links: Red Queen, Glass Sword

MY HEART!!! NOOOOOOO

Okay so I have so many feelings about this book. Like my heart has actually been destroyed.

Mare allowed herself to be captured so the ones she loves could get away. AND OH MY GOSH DOES SHE PAY FOR IT. I knew Maven was bad, but damn this took it too a whole new level. And then there were moments when I felt so bad for Maven and liked him and then I was reminded about what a bad person he is. The feels are too much here guys, it’s killing me.

My love for Mare is ever growing, and I just think she is an amazing character. She is so strong and resilient, even though she has been through so much. I just want a great ending for her. She deserves it.

The plot of this book was AMAZING too. It had me on the edge of my seat THE WHOLE TIME. There was a little foreshadowing, but for the most part I had no idea what was going to happen next and I NEEDED TO KNOW. Which meant yet again, I was up all night finding out the fate of Mare Barrow and the Guard.

Can I just take a second to address the FEELS IN THIS BOOK?!?! Everything was so raw and real. The love, the anguish, the heart break, the hope… it just all was too much for my poor heart. King’s Cage just ruined me. Completely.

The ending of this book (no spoilers, I promise) wrenched my heart out. WHY?!?!!?! HAS MARE NOT BEEN THROUGH ENOUGH?!?!?! I guess not. But I can not wait for the fourth book to find out what is going to happen.

If you love dystopia and have not read this series….. YOU DON’T LOVE DYSTOPIA. If you want a good dystopian series to read: LOOK NO FURTHER.

As you probably guessed, I am going to give King’s Cage five out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Glass Sword

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Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Published by Harper Teen on February 9 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Dystopia
Pages: 444
Goodreads
Amazon

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

*If you haven’t read my review of The Red Queen, click here

This book was every bit as exciting as The Red Queen, if not more. Quick warning: if you have not read The Red Queen, this review will probably contain some spoilers.

Mare, now on the run, is attempting to build a New Blood army to face King Maven. Everything about her journey is filled with heart pounding danger, and taunts from the new king. I love how Victoria Aveyard not only included physical struggles, but emotional and mental struggles. Mare is heartbroken. Cal is heartbroken. They struggle with Maven’s betrayal and struggle with the fact that now they are being hunted by the boy they once–and still–love.

There is a bit of a love “v” in this book, between Mare, Cal, and Kilorn. But it wasn’t in the cheesy-to-the-point-its-unbearable. It was actually very realistic, and wasn’t overplayed. The romance kind of took backseat, even though it did add a romantic element to the book that was very well done.

Lots of characters were introduced in this book; which makes sense considering Mare and her gang are trying to build an army. All of the characters, no matter how small they were, each had a distinct personality that made the story all the more interesting. I loved the interactions and the tensions and fights and battles and closeness and love and need. Everything felt honest and real. Also, not gonna give away too much here, but I definitely cried at the end. This book wrenched my heart out.

It’s really hard to hate any of Aveyard’s characters, and when I do hate them, I love to hate them. The Red Queen series so far is much better than I expected, and is a must-read for anyone who loves dystopia or anyone who wants to try a dystopian series.
I am going to give Glass Sword four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥