Lucky in Love by Kasie West

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“Lucky in Love” by Kasie West

5 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads summary:

“Can’t buy me love…

Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?”

“Lucky in Love” was the YA contemporary novel that I have been looking for since “The Fill-In Boyfriend”! It has been very difficult to find a YA contemporary novel that I enjoyed this past year/year and a half, and the only one that truly stuck out to me this year so far was “Geekerella,” which was several months ago. But now the wait is over, and Kasie once again delivered a fantastically adorable and light-hearted contemporary novel that I absolutely loved reading.

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Kasie West is the best at writing contemporary fluff pieces that always feel like coming home or like comfort food. Whenever I read one of her novels, I know that I am going to have a smile on my face the entire time I am reading it, and that I am going to get a couple of great laughs out of Kasie’s amazing comedic timing. Most of the time contemporary novels are a hit and a miss for me, but with Kasie West I can pretty much be guaranteed a good time, and “Lucky in Love” was no exception to the Kasie standard.

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“Lucky in Love” was just one of those books that I could finally sit down and enjoy, even after an interminably long reading slump. It was adorable like all of Kasie West’s contemporary books, but it also felt a little different and had a flair of its own that made it stand out next to the other stories that Kasie has already told, The whole concept of an newly eighteen-year-old winning the lottery was a charming and funny idea to begin with, but Kasie made it pretty hilarious and even cuter than I had anticipated it would be, and it was her characters who were at the heart of the adorable awkwardness and fun.

Maddie was such a cute and relateable character! I loved reading from her perspective because she did not have a diva attitude, she definitely did not have her life or family situation figured out, and she had some great friends. I think we can all predict what might happen when someone, especially an eighteen-year-old, wins the lottery. Despite that fact, though, I felt like Kasie did a great job of keeping me as a reader engaged in the story, even if I could see something terrible that was going to happen from a mile away. Maddie was just so endearing and likeable, so between that and her newly acquired money, “Lucky in Love” was as cute as it was comical!

Besides just Maddie being great, I also really liked Seth, who was her co-worker/kind-of-friend/love interest. Seth was super cute and endearing in “Lucky in Love,” and I liked how their relationship slowly evolved over the course of this book. Honestly, all I wanted was for Kasie to have Seth in this book more because of how great a character he was. Kasie West has a knack for creating likeable and unique characters, and I just adored Maddie and Seth together. They were supportive of each others’ dreams and they had very cute dialogues, so I was completely on board with their relationship! Now all I really want in a book about the college years! ;-D

Besides it be all fun and games, I feel like Kasie did a good job of pointing out all of the disastrous things that can happen when someone comes into a lot of money suddenly. Even though Maddie was a complete sweetheart, she fell victim to the curse of the lottery, as well as her family. The family dynamic between Maddie and her sibling and parents was pretty interesting and accurate for a struggling middle-class family, and it’s no wonder that they went a little crazy when Maddie won the lottery, despite her best intentions for how the money should be shared and used. For how light-hearted and delightfully fluffy most of this book was, I think that Kasie did a fairly good job of addressing Maddie’s family’s issues, as well as leaving her readers with the feeling that many of those problems had the potential to get resolved eventually.

If you are looking for a sweet treat for the summer, you definitely need to give “Lucky in Love” a try. It was a light, quick read, but it still had depth and substance, which I always appreciate in a contemporary novel. The only thing I might warn you of is that, if you should choose to read “Lucky in Love,” you might want to quit your current job and go work for your local zoo. Or maybe that’s just me…

Thank you again, Kasie West, for not disappointing!

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A Cold Legacy by Megan Shepherd (The Madman’s Daughter #3)

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“A Cold Legacy” by Megan Shepherd

5 out of 5 stars.

Juliet, Montgomery, Lucy, Edward, and Balthazar are on the run. The police are after Juliet and her friends because of what she did at The Kings’ Club. She hadn’t acted alone that night, but she was the mastermind, and because of it, all of her friends are paying the price for that choice. But there is a small beacon of hope despite Edward’s worsening condition and Scotland Yard chasing them, and it is in the form of a manor in the Scottish Highlands. The moors are the perfect place to rest their weary heads, but Juliet soon discovers that their supposed haven is not quite what it appears to be.

Mystery and secrets surround Juliet and her friends at every corner in Elizabeth von Stein’s house, but they have nowhere else to run. Lightning, creaking floors, and a strange boy who hides in the walls are the least of Juliet’s worries. Edward’s health is rapidly declines, and her and Montgomery’s relationship seems to be deteriorating because of the weight of secrets. Can Juliet and Montgomery mend their relationship so they work together again and save the Elizabeth’s household in time? And can she save Edward before it is too late, or were both he and Juliet destined to destroy themselves from the start?

This book was such a stunning and satisfying end to a beloved trilogy. “The Madman’s Daughter” had surprised me back a year and a half ago, and the “Her Dark Curiosity” had shocked, horrified, and made me love this trilogy all the more; these books are all about the battle between the light and the darkness, right and wrong,  hope and despair, love and hate. It was a tug of war throughout this trilogy of whether good or evil would win out, and to be honest, I was scared of where and how Megan was going to end Juliet’s story. Megan, however, proved herself to be a capable and talented writer who resolved all of this trilogy’s loose ends in her final installment; I did not think it would happen, but Megan Shepherd did it and some more!

Juliet was a very tormented and broken individual. It was a steady decline for her from “The Madman’s Daughter” to “Her Dark Curiosity,” and the second book really hurt because of the choices she made when she decided to follow, relatively, in her father’s footsteps. She was desperate, lonely, and afraid, and I got why she did it, but her actions saddened me because I wanted her to break free of her supposed genetic “inheritance” or “curse.” “A Cold Legacy” picks up soon after the second book, and so not much has changed for Juliet in that realm; her whole world has been shaken and then taken away except what her father had “given” her: madness.

  It was really interesting to see her personal growth and decline throughout this trilogy, and I was cheering for her all through “A Cold Legacy.” I wanted her to hear and understand that she could make her own choices, choose her own path in life, but she had a long journey until she could discover that for herself. In the end, though, I was very happy with where Megan took Juliet’s character, and all of the pain that I had experienced as a reader over the course of these books was worth the destination. Juliet wasn’t the only person who went through a lot of changes during this trilogy, though, and I want to talk about some other characters and their growth.

Montgomery James…

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Yeah, I’m still in love with Montgomery.  I loved him so much because he was always such a present character, even when he was not in a scene. He was a strong person in “The Madman’s Daughter Trilogy,” but he was never pushy or domineering, and he did not boss everyone around like some macho-man. He was a strong male lead without ever having to resort to being a jerk; people followed him because he was kind and brave and selfless, and it wasn’t due to people feeling threatened by him. Oh, have I already mention that I love him?

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Montgomery, despite all of his attributes, was not perfect. He lied to Juliet about some very important things because he thought by keeping them from her, he could protect her. But lies cut as deep or deeper than the truth, and such was the case in “A Cold Legacy.” It was interesting seeing his and Juliet’s relationship shift and evolve as this trilogy progressed, and sometimes it broke my heart when they hurt each other, even if was by accident. Obviously, some of these things drive a story, but in the case of “A Cold Legacy,” I never felt like that was all there ever was, that if the miscommunications had been taken away the story would have fallen apart. Megan Shepherd wrote a strong story and added miscommunication to show the growth and changes that had occurred in their relationship.

Lies and secrets aside, Montgomery was such a good character. He had changed quite a bit since “The Madman’s Daughter,” but I loved that the things that made him Montgomery were still intact. He was still kind, courageous, strong, wise, and most importantly, he still had a good heart. My favorite scene was towards the end when he was talking to Juliet about choosing to be different from her father, that she had the right to choose to do good and live life well despite her parentage. There was also another part with him concerning the whole “eternal life” issue, and again, he said something profound. Those two parts really hit me hard and I was a bit like, “What you just said was beautiful. You’re beautiful!”

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What Montgomery said in those last fifty pages in “A Cold Legacy” was what this trilogy was all about: that you have the right and the duty in life to choose what is good, and it is not for others to choose for you. Megan put it so beautifully, and I loved that!

Lucy was also another good characters. I thought that Megan Shepherd did a great job of taking a character that seemed like just a rich, entitled girl and making her into a woman who was kind and smart. She didn’t always make the wisest of choices, but she had a good heart and it was surprising to have a character change so much for the better in a trilogy. Okay, so the last character I want to talk about is Edward!

Edward was such an intriguing character. Throughout this trilogy, he has been a sort of enigma that I wanted to understand. He was a broken person who needed a lot of love and kindness, and it was interesting to see him change as these books progressed. I will always like this character, but I wish that I had gotten more time with him in “A Cold Legacy.” “Her Dark Curiosity” was Edward’s book, in a sense, but “A Cold Legacy,” for good reason, was Juliet’s book. As necessary as that was, I felt that both Edward and Montgomery got a little short-changed. They didn’t get as much time in this book even though they deserved it, and I wish that “A Cold Legacy” had been forty to fifty pages longer so that these leading men could’ve been in it more! I think that the lack of my boys was the only real disappointment I experienced while reading this book; I just missed the sweet, funny Edward that I knew from the first two books! But other than missing out on some time with Edward, I was fairly happy with where he went as a character despite some emotional trauma I experienced at the stuff he was put through.

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Megan really kicked it up a notch, even from “Her Dark Curiosity,” on pacing, and don’t even get me started on the death toll! No one is safe in this book, and I was quite shocked by some of the characters who were killed. The stakes were really high in this book, so I guess that goes along with it!

All that aside, “A Cold Legacy” was such a well-rounded finale that I feel completely satisfied. Yeah, some parts were sad because I was hoping for a happier end for some characters, but I am quite content, and it was a beautiful book. I also loved how all of her characters, main and secondary, played significant roles in “A Cold Legacy.” Balthazar, one of my favorite characters, was such a great character to see more of and so was Lucy. There were also characters who lived in the von Stein home that really added a lot to the story. I loved how she dealt with the secrets between the people in this book, and I adored how each of these characters changed and grew as individuals while having stayed true to themselves. But most of all, I loved the end and the route Megan Shepherd chose to take with the issues of immortality and the social aspects of female independence.”The Madman’s Daughter” will forever be my favorite, but I loved “A Cold Legacy.” It was an amazing conclusion to a great trilogy!