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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Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

 

Morgan Matson Since You've Been Gone

“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson

4 out of 5 stars.

Emily’s summer is looking up. Sloan, her best friend, and Emily have the perfect summer planned out: get jobs somewhere where they can hang out together, and experience new adventures together all summer long. But before Emily can live her dream summer, Sloan disappears without a word. It’s happened before, Sloan leaving without so much as a call or text, but Emily can’t help but feel that this time is different, more permanent than the last. Their friendship can’t end like this, can it? Can over two years of friendship be so easily forgotten? But after two weeks a letter arrives addressed to Emily, and inside is exactly what she had been hoping for: a list.

Whenever Sloan leaves, she usually sends a list to Emily, a list of things her friend must complete before she comes back from where she disappeared to. Emily has always tried to do as many things on these lists as she could, but was never able to complete one, but all that’s going to change. This is the year Emily is determined to do everything on the list, and by the end of the summer, Sloan will come back and then they can share their stories, once again fast friends. All will be right in Emily’s world after that. There’s only one problem, though: all the things on the list are really hard and some even require Emily to conquer some of her biggest fears. Can she really do it all by herself, or will she once again shy away from the challenge?

This was a very spontaneous buy for me. My sisters and I had gone to Barnes and Noble (coupons in hand), and I had been planing to by a different book. As I perused the shelves, sniffing paper and ink, my older sister brought this beauty over to me. I literally fangirled over the cover.

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It was so pretty I couldn’t resist buying it. And so, here we are, writing a review about one of my most recent spontaneous buys.

“Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson was a really cute book. Morgan Matson is a very good author, and I liked how the story built up steam the longer I read it; this book was a bit hardier than most Chick Lit reads that I have experienced. I had fun watching Emily grow as a person, and some of the situations Morgan put her character in were interesting, and they kind of made you wonder what you would do if you were in Emily’s shoes.

Besides it being a really great light summer read, I liked “Since You’ve Been Gone”  because of Morgan Matson’s secondary characters. Usually the secondary characters in Chick Lit books fall flat (except in Katie McGarry’s and Ally Carter’s books), but in this one I found myself enjoying everyone, and I was especially happy to see Emily help out her brother a lot more nearing the end; I always enjoy it when siblings look at for each other in books. One of the other things I liked was that each of the characters were pretty average, but in a good way. They were real people, not perfect, gorgeous, and unrealistic like a lot of books characters I’ve read. They were all endearingly average and I really liked that.

Overall, I really liked this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light, well written summer read. It was clean and cute, and I am very happy to have purchased it!

Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

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“Hemlock” by Kathleen Peacock

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Hemlock is a murder/fantasy fictional book that is the beginning of a new series/trilogy. Hemlock holds lovely characters that will capture your heart, an enjoyable heroine, and some…werewolves? A deadly virus has been created by someone and it is causing humans to be turned into werewolves.

Hemlock begins with Mac’s best friend, Amy’s, funeral. Distraught over her friend’s eerie death, Mac feels broken and guilty. If only she had kept her plans with Amy instead of studying, her best friend would still be here, still be safe. But Mac isn’t the only one who feels guilty; Kyle, the faithful protective friend blames himself for not picking up his phone when Amy called for help, and Jason, Amy’s boyfriend and a trouble maker, blames himself for saying something that made Amy get out of the car, and then letting her walk away alone. Alone…

All of them feel responsible in one way or another for Amy not being there now; the three friends, who once there were four, are wracked with an undeniable guilt that for some, is turning into anger and revenge. But little do they know that there is more to Amy’s death than a freak occurrence; murder was its purpose, and it was not done completely by a werewolf. Someone wanted Amy dead. Can the three friends stick together long enough to find Amy’s true killer, or will the rifts caused by her death be too much to forgive, too wide to heal?

Mackenzie is funny and cute, but has a darker past. Hank, her father, was a criminal and abandoned her when she was very young, and she is now taken care of by her older, and certainly less wizened, cousin, Tess. With the loss her best friend, and the withdrawal of her other friend, Jason, Mac feels very alone in this big bad world. Lucky for her, she still has her other best friend, Kyle, to look after her. Or does she? Mackenzie’s world begins to crumble with some new revelations concerning Amy’s death, and Jason’s joining the Trackers. Kyle is a mystery too! Is anyone who she thought they were, and can the truth somehow be even worse than the lies she has been fed for months? The answer is, “yes.”

Kyle is smart funny and sweet, but despite his and Mac’s deeply rooted friendship, he has some secrets of his own. Can Mac and Jason be trusted with a secret as dangerous and hard to keep as his? If he tells them, can they find it in themselves to forgive him for lying, and still love him despite his dark secret? Or will the shadows and secrets Hemlock breeds within itself destroy not only him, but everyone he loves?

Jason is the bad-boy of Hemlock. He’s been friends with Kyle since third grade, and is friends with Amy and Mac. Ever since Mac came to town three years ago, his happy little bubble has been a little different, somehow fuller and better than it had been. But after Amy’s death, and the secrets he has kept from Mac, it will be hard for him to trust her not to hate him because of the truth. And why does everyone look at him, or at least Kyle and Mac, like he’s some psychopath for wanting revenge for what he/she did to his girlfriend. Well, maybe they are right. But can he let go of his desire for revenge and realize that he is losing the only two people left in his life who love him before they too are lost forever?

Wow! Hemlock was fantastic, and is in my top ten favorite books. Peacock has a gift for writing and creating likable and “real” characters that reach out to your heart and threaten to never let go. I was enthralled from beginning to end, and I enjoyed that the plot was well planned and finished as strong, or stronger, than it began. I did guess a few things, but when you assume that everyone is a killer, you have a greater chance of being right! I enjoyed the twists and turns that Kathleen takes her reader through, and I felt that I was involved in the story somehow; I just felt like I was there with them, watching it all happen from the not-so-far-away sidelines. Also, there was nearly zero language, which was fantastic. I am longing to read the next book that will continue thee three friends’ stories.