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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Cover Reveal: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

You all know how much I LOVE Katie McGarry and her books, so it’s probably no surprise to you that I would go full fangirl at any kind of news concerning her books. Tonight I entered that crazy fangirl zone because Katie McGarry just released her cover for “Walk the Edge,” the second book in her “Thunder Road” series!!!!! *shrill screaming* I wasn’t expecting for the cover to be released so soon, so I went a little crazy when I saw it pop up on goodreads…

e41ed85c76f4ee837d1e5e2876ef3d3bOkay, you probably don’t want a play-by-play of my excitement over seeing the cover for “Walk the Edge,” so I’ll get to the cover real part of this post. *takes deep breath* Here it is!!!!

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The cover is so amazing that I wanted to cry/dance when I saw it…

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sue heckand now I have lost all ability to can!!! I’m just going to lie here in a puddle of FEELS until March 30th, 2016…

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)

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 “P.S. I Still Love You” by Jenny Han

 3 out of 5 stars.

Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky were just pretending to be in love, but as time passed, it became less of a show for those around and more of a secret they shared. They were pretending, yet it was the most real thing that Lara Jean had ever experienced, and what’s worse is that she never got the chance to tell Peter just how real she wanted them to be before everything fell apart.

Lara Jean can’t stand the idea of saying goodbye to Peter forever, so she decides to write one last love letter, but this time it’s a letter of admission rather than resignation. Everything seems to be finally falling into place when Lara Jean and Peter reconcile, but when she starts to get harassed at school, Lara Jean wonders if something real is really worth all of the pain it can cause. To complicate matters even more, Lara Jean discovers that Peter has unresolved feelings toward his ex, and John Ambrose McClaren, her old crush, comes to town. Trying to understand herself and figure out where she stands with Peter, Lara Jean begins to understand just how wonderful and difficult something real can be.

Disappointing is the word that comes to mind when I think about “P.S. I Still Love You.” If any of you have read my “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” review, then you know that I LOVED the first book and was really looking forward to seeing how Lara Jean’s and Peter’s story was going to end. Me and my sister were ecstatic when “P.S. I Love You” came in the mail, but alas, it did not live up to its predecessor!

When I picked up “P.S. I Still Love You,” I had the first book fresh in my mind because I had just reread it in preparation for this book’s release. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han had warmed my heart, made me laugh and cry, and it was a lovely story about a young girl figuring out who she was so that she could come into her own. I had expected for those lovely themes to be transferred over into “P.S. I Still Love You” so that readers could see Lara Jean bloom into an even more lovely person and find her happy ending with the one who she loved. Instead, what I got was a shockingly odd shift in tone and theme from the first book.

Why I loved “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was because of how sweetly endearing it was. It was the perfect fluff story that just captured my heart and made me laugh and cry alongside the characters within it. Despite all of the delightful fluffiness of it, though, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” also dealt with some pretty big topics that occur during most teens’ high school years. High schools are a jungle and sweet little Lara Jean didn’t come out unscathed in her’s, yet Jenny Han somehow managed to keep the tone of her book fairly light while introducing heavier topics that most teenagers deal with, and I loved that! All of that being said, why “P.S. I Still Love You” was such a disappointment for me was because there was neither the sweetness nor the endearment of the first book in it, plus it had every social issue a high schooler could possibly encounter in a 336 paged book.

Another thing that was really disappointing to me was that I didn’t laugh while reading this book, and there was only one scene that actually made me smile and it didn’t even involve Peter! “P.S. I Still Love You” was such a departure from “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” that it felt it belonged to an entirely different series, and that was really frustrating because I had loved the tone and the approach of the first book so much. I had to trudge through the first half of this book, and by the time I got to the halfway point, I was disillusion enough that I did not care what was going to happen at the end. One the hugest reasons for my lack of warm feelings towards “P.S. I Still Love You” was that Jenny Han really wrecked the character Peter Kavinsky.

I had fallen in love with Peter Kavinsky in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” I loved that he and Lara Jean had so much fun together and were friends before their relationship blossomed into something more. I loved laughing when Peter took Lara Jean to the antique sale, and how kindly he treated Kitty. Peter had his faults in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” but he made up for them with his sweet heart. In “P.S. I Still Love You,” however, the Peter I knew and loved disappeared almost entirely. Sweet, kind, cheeky, and dependable Peter vanished, replaced by a boy with anger issues, communication problems, and was unable to put his current girlfriend’s feelings before his ex’s. Peter was so heartbreakingly different in “P.S. I Still Love You” that he wasn’t Peter anymore, and I felt completely detached from him while reading this book. It took Jenny Han until the very last chapter to have him show a little of the old Peter, but by then I was already so angry with this book that I couldn’t enjoy the ending!

Another issue I had with “P.S. I Still Love You” was Lara Jean. There was something that Jenny Han did with Lara Jean as a character that I wasn’t a fan of. There was a ton going on in Lara Jeans life, and I was so sad with how she was being bullied and harassed by other kids, but sometimes her tumultuous inner dialogue (although warranted) was just TOO much on top of all of the other issues that Jenny Han created in this book. I think that I would have been okay with Lara Jean’s less sweet and more drama filled perspective if there hadn’t been so much going on with those around her, her relationship with Peter, her residual feelings for John Ambrose, and at school. Yeah, like I said, there were a LOT of issues.

The only character that I actually liked in this book was John Ambrose McClaren, which I find kind of hilarious because I should have hated him considering the fact that he was a “threat” to Peter’s and Lara Jean’s delicate relationship. Unlike Peter and Lara Jean in “P.S. I Still Love You,” John was charming and sweet, and, dare I say, endearing, and I enjoyed the scenes he was in a lot. His presence brought back a few warm and fuzzy memories of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” because of his charming and endearing personality; there was a very cute moment between him and Lara Jean that made me smile, and I wish that the rest of “P.S. I Still Love You” had been more like that scene. John and Lara Jean were sweet, and it made me sad that I almost wanted her to end up with John instead of Peter; it was as if John took on the role of Peter in this book as the adorable charmer, and I thought that was sad because I still wanted to love Peter, but I felt so detached from him that I latched onto John. Although I was very disappointed in most of the characters in this story, John Ambrose McClaren kept me going, and I was grateful for at least one lovable character to read about.

Overall, “P.S. I Still Loved You” was a fairly well-written book, but it didn’t touch my heart like “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” had. There were too many social issues and dynamics going on in this story, from feminism and cyber bullying to broken family dynamics and bad boyfriends, that it was overwhelming. All of the things Jenny Han wrote about are issues that teens deal with today, but there were just too many problems and social issues in this book that it got bogged down. “P.S. I Still Love You” didn’t have the charm of the first book, and I missed the moments when I laughed uncontrollably because of a really comical scene and giggled because it was just that cute of a story. But most of all, I hate that the Peter I knew and loved from “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” was absent in this book. Normally a sequel like this one would ruin my love of the first book, but this time I’ve decided to ignore the existence of this book and remain in love with the story and characters of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Jenny Han is a good writer, I just wish that she would have kept a little more of the first book’s tone and endearing qualities, instead of going full speed ahead on the more heavy social issues.

P.S. I still miss you, Peter.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

A while ago I had heard that Cynthia Hand (one of my favorite authors) was coming out with a new book and that it was going to be a standalone. 

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Some people like standalones, some people don’t. I, however, am cool with both, but I do love the fact that I won’t have to wait another two or three years before the story wraps itself up. Oh, and I am also glad to announce that said novel now has a cover.

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As happy as I am that the cover came out for this book, I am a little perturbed that I have to wait until February before  I can actually get a copy of “The Last Time We Say Goodbye.” Alright, enough talking/writing, here’s the cover…

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“The Last Time We Say Goodbye” by Cynthia Hand

Release Date: February 10, 2015

Publishing House: HarperTeen

Format: Hardcover 400 pages

Goodreads Summary:

There’s death all around us.
We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.

From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand, The Last Time We Say Goodbye is a gorgeous and heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and letting go.