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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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

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“P.S. I Like You” by Kasie West

4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads summary:

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she’s flustered — and kind of feels like she’s falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer — but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

This review is going to be short and (hopefully) sweet. “P.S. I Like You” was the perfect summertime fluff, and I just adore Kasie West as an author for how she consistently delivers adorable, heart-warming YA contemporary novels. I love how entertaining and engaging Kasie’s books always are, and “P.S. I Like You” was so charming and sweet, from it fun characters to its fabulously adorable cover, that I couldn’t put it down! (P.S. I want the filter that they used for the cover shoot. It’s like the unicorn of filters, leaving magic in its wake!)

Lily was a pretty relatable teen character, and I liked how Kasie West made Lily’s family a key part of “P.S. I Like You”; there were no disappearing parents or lack of supervision on their part, and I appreciate how “real” the family dynamics came across in this book. It was refreshing to read about a high school girl who had boundaries and limits because she was underage, and I enjoyed the fact that Lily owned up to her familial obligations, rather than being the overdone rebellious teen who ditched her family so that she could do whatever she wanted. I also liked that Kasie wrote a more realistic teenager by having her character’s parents not buy her a car, or with how Lily had to babysit to get her beloved guitar. Most YA contemporaries have these rebellious teens as their stars, and the kids have cars and/or family’s with money, but somehow zero parental supervision. It was refreshing to see the other, more average side to YA contemporary that Kasie West chose to show, and I feel like Kasie approach in this book made me enjoy her character and her journey even more as a reader.

Besides Lily being a fairly relatable character because of her realistic (and average) lifestyle, I thought that Kasie did a great job of showing her character grow as an individual. Lily had some things that she needed to work through in “P.S. I Like You,” and although they weren’t insurmountable problems, they were realistic to some of the issues that high schoolers deal with in this generation. I also thought that the letters were pretty cute, despite the fact that Lily’s “Dear John” was easy to spot.

*Sighs* About Lily’s Dear John…Although the letters were cute, I’m not sure that I bought into the boy outside of his letters to Lily; they were sweet and all, but how he behaved in reality didn’t appeal to me as a reader. For most of this book the boy behind the letters was cute, but the entire time I was wondering how Kasie was going to make me like the actual Dear John, who I did not initially like in “P.S. I Like You.” I know he’d had a rough past and it explained a few of the things that he did, but I still felt like it was more of an excuse than anything else for how he acted during the first half of this book.

Despite not completely buying into Lily’s letter-writer, I did see some similarities between “P.S. I Like You” and “Pride and Prejudice,” although I do not believe Kasie West intended her novel to mirror the classic literature piece. Some of the pride and prejudices between the main characters and the initial rudeness of the Dear John character reminded me a little bit of those same themes in Austen’s novel. I get that this book’s premise was that there’s always more to a person’s story, and that sometimes our perceptions and judgments of a someone can be wrong, as was the case with Dear John. But I do wish that I’d had more time with the real Dear John that Lily fell for, because I liked that version a lot, instead of “seeing” mostly the jerk that Lily’s point of view initially portrayed him as. I guess my perception of this character was slightly skewed because I had been reading about how much Lily disliked him, even though I knew he was going to be the romantic interest. Maybe when I read this book again, I will like Dear John a bit more because I will have a better understanding of his character, and can then forgive his Darcy-esk style of hiding his feelings, when he actually genuinely cared for people. It may take me some time, but I can get there…

Overall, “P.S. I like You” was a really sweet, quick read. I liked Lily and the personal growth that she showed by the end of this book, and I appreciated Kasie West’s choice in how prominent a role Lily’s family played in “P.S. I Like You,” and it was refreshing to see a more realistic family dynamic in a YA contemporary novel. My only disappointment with this book was that I did not fall head-over-heels for the main guy character; the boy behind the letters took ¾ of the book to “show up,” and I felt like I was deprived of really getting to know him like I wanted to, because his letter were all I had to make me like him for most of this book. Other than not being in love with the Dear John character of “P.S. I Like You,” I did really like this book in its entirety, and I really admire Kasie West for her consistency in writing such adorable and good quality YA contemporary novels.

P.S. Do yourself a favor and end your summer on a sweet note by picking “P.S. I Like” and reading it. You won’t regret it!

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Top Ten Books Published In 2015

Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! This past year was pretty crazy and full of lots of great books, and looking back I think that 2015 was one the best years for my favorite series ending well and others commencing. I was very excited to look at my goodreads ‘read’ list and see that I had accomplished my 2015 goal of reading more than 55 books, and if you are interesting in seeing that list, follow this link: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2015/10577582. I In lieu of all of the amazing books that I’ve had the chance to read this year, I definitely do have favorites that were published in 2015, so here’s my top ten.

1.

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“The Winner’s Crime” by Marie Rutkoski.

2.

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“The Wrath and the Dawn” by Renée Ahdieh.

3.

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“Rook” by Sharon Cameron.

4.

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“A Cold Legacy” by Megan Shepherd.

5.

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“A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas.

6.

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“The Fill-In Boyfriend” by Kasie West.

 

7.

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“Nowhere But Here” by Katie McGarry.

8.

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“Sweet Temptation” by Wendy Higgins.

9.book Leigh Bardugo Six of Crows

“Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo.

10.

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“Their Fractured Light” by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner.

Thank you so much for all of your comments and visits and for sticking with me this year, and I hope that you all have a Happy New Year!

The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

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“The Fill-In Boyfriend” by Kasie West

5 out of 5 stars.

Smart, pretty, and popular, Gia Montgomery has always had a seemingly perfect life, but lately acting like everything is perfect has been wearing her down, especially with Jules trying to trip up her every step. Jules has been tirelessly attempting to turn Gia’s friends against her ever since she joined the group, and prom was Gia’s last chance to prove to her friends that Jules has been manipulating them into thinking she’s a liar. But Gia’s final hope of disproving Jules’ lies went out the window when her boyfriend, Bradley, dumped her in the parking lot of her high school, just minutes before senior prom. Gia doesn’t know if her friends will believe her when she tells them that Bradley dumped her in the parking lot, or if they’ll choose to believe Jules’ lies and think that she had been pretending to have a boyfriend all this time. But then Gia meets a boy in her school’s parking lot and she comes up with a plan: ask him to be her fill-in date for the night.

What was supposed to be a just one white lie for Gia and her fill-in date turns into another when she poses as his girlfriend at his ex’s party. Her fill-in boyfriend is sweet and charming, and as Gia spends more time with him and his sister, she begins to realize that being perfect isn’t what life is really about. For a while it feels nice to get to know people who see her and can be real with her in return, but then Gia’s growing web of lies comes back to haunt her. Gia doesn’t know how to tell the truth to her friends without losing them completely, and in the process she is starting to lose the boy that she has begun to care for as more than a friend. After hiding the truth for so long and pretending to be something she’s not, Gia realizes that perfection isn’t possible, and she wants to discover what real can mean in her relationships. That is, if she has anyone left after the truth is done with her.

This book was a serious cuteness overload in the best kind of way! I read it over the course of an afternoon, and “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was exactly what I needed. Normally I’m not a huge contemporary fan, but Kasie West always hits the spot for me and “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was no exception to the rule. I even ended up loving this book enough that I went and bought it the following week on a jaunt to Barnes and Noble!

I really loved how Kasie West wrote Gia Montgomery in “The Fill-In Boyfriend.” Normally female characters like Gia annoy me in stories because of how unaware they are of other people’s’ feelings and only care about how they are perceived by others. The way Kasie wrote Gia, however, made me feel bad for her because of how insecure she was in her friendships and familial relationships. Gia wasn’t viscous or spiteful, but she did have moments where she was really self-absorbed and couldn’t see beyond her own issues, and yet I didn’t mind her character at all. I wanted to see Gia grow as a person and become more secure in herself so she didn’t feel the need to lie and pretend like she was perfect to be accepted. Kasie West did such a fantastic job of writing Gia so that she was an enjoyable female character despite her flaws, and I loved seeing her grow as an individual. I especially liked the dynamic that Kasie created between Gia and her new friends.

Good Lord, I adored the love interest Kasie wrote for Gia!

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I won’t tell you his name because that’s part of the story, but I’ll just say that I LOVED this boy. Nameless Boy was such a charming, sweet, and funny friend turned love interest that I couldn’t help but fall for him. Nameless Boy had a really good heart, and even when he did a couple of stupid things, I still loved him because he was a really great person. He and Gia were fabulously funny together in this book, and I also really liked how Nameless Boy made Gia start to think outside of herself and helped her to understand that she didn’t pretend to be perfect with people who were true friends. I loved that Kasie wrote a male character like Nameless Boy, and I absolutely adored his and Gia’s relationship in “The Fill-In Boyfriend.”

The romance is this book was so sweet and adorable. Nameless Boy and Gia were great together, and I loved that they started out as being kind of friends whose relationship evolve slowly into something more. Everything about this book and Gia’s and Nameless Boy’s relationship had me smiling from ear to eat because of  how stinkin’ cute it all was!

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But “The Fill-In Boyfriend” wasn’t all fun and games despite its smile-inducing charm, and it was refreshing to read a book that was funny and sweet while still having a purpose. Social media can be brutal in this day and age and it can also cause a lot of us to become really self-absorbed, superficial, and/or self-conscious. I just loved how Kasie West dealt with this particular topic, and I thought that she really got her point across without having to make an overly dramatic story. Kasie kept “The Fill-In Boyfriend” sweet and fun while dealing with heavier issues, and I honestly loved everything about this book.

Another thing that I liked about “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was that Nameless Boy and Gia seemed like more mature high schoolers compared to a lot of contemporary books that I’ve read as of late. He and Gia felt like they were seniors rather than petulant children. Sure, they were still really young and had a some drama go on between them, but nothing compared to a lot of the other books I’ve read in the chick lit/contemporary genres. Even when there was drama, though, I felt like it was well-founded in the fact that considering social media stuff and how viscous people can be, that the situations Kasie created seemed more realistic. Again, I want to commend Kasie West for masterfully writing a mature, yet clean, high school story that was as fun as it was heartwarming. I loved seeing Gia grow as a person, and it was really sweet seeing her relationship with Nameless Boy evolve. I also loved that she found another female friend that she grew to trust with her true self, not with the perfected facade meant to hide her flaws.

I could go on and on with how much I love this contemporary book, but I’ll end this review by telling you to go out and either buy, borrow, or get it from the library. “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was squeaky clean fun that had a lot of heart to it. I love this book so much, and I also grew to love all of Kasie’s characters and their perfect imperfections.

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Pivot Point by Kasie West

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“Pivot Point” by Kasie West

4 out of 5 stars.

Addison Coleman lives in the Compound, a place where the supernaturally gifted can dwell safely, and without the threat of the outside world knowing what they can do. Addie has grown up with a Discerner  (AKA a lie detector) for a father and a mother who has the power of persuasion. Yeah, Addison has never had any choice but to tell the truth and do her mothers bidding, but it isn’t all bad. They’re good parents and her life it pretty good inside of the Compound’s dome despite the unconventionality of it all. But Addie’s safe and happy world is shattered when her parents announce, quite unexpectedly she might add, that they are getting a divorce. How could Addie not see this coming?

Despite them trying to work it out, Mr. and Mrs. Coleman are going their separate ways and Addie is now stuck in the middle, and to make matters even worse than they already are, her dad tells her than he is moving. But it is not a short move to another house in the Compound like Addison had hope. Instead her father has decided to join the regular world and to dwell among the Norms. And Addie has to choose: stay in the Compound, the only place she has ever called home, with her mother, or venture out into the Norms’ world with her dad?

Now is the perfect time for Addison to use her ability, and so she decides to live out the two different choices her parents gave her life for six weeks in the hopes that she will be able to see which choice will be best in the end. But Addie soon finds that her choice could not only affect herself but also the people she loves, some of whom she has yet to meet. Will Addie make the right choice or the easy one?

I loved “Pivot Point” by Kasie West so much! I would normally think that this kind of book would be a slower read because it isn’t really a “fast-paced” story, but I was proved wrong because I ended up reading it really fast and enjoying it a ton. I really liked reading about Addie’s journey and seeing how one choice can so massively change your future as well as the futures of the people around you, even if you haven’t met them yet. It was fun to see the butterfly effect in motion.

Addie is a very enjoyable heroine to be inside of; she was so endearing and cute that I never minded reading from her perspective. Addie is a kind of funny and awkward too, so that made the character feel all the more “real” and easy to get attached to. I also liked how Kasie West had the two different futures switch back and forth with each chapter because it really kept me reading and quickened the pace of what would normally be a more mellow read. I am personally fond of the Addie who choice to live with her dad. I found that she turned out to be the better “Addie” in the book, but the sacrifices each Addie had to make were still very interesting despite my partiality.

All of the characters in “Pivot Point” are all really well done, but I think my favorite characters (besides Addie) were Addie’s dad and Trevor.

Trevor was a really good guy character. I liked how Kasie wrote his and Addie’s relationship because, for Addie, it wasn’t about “catching” the guy. Addie sat down next to Trevor during a football game because it was an open seat, and then they struck up a conversation. And the reason Addie starts hanging out with Trevor is because she wants a friend, but then it grows from there as the story goes along. Their relationship was cute because they started out friends and then it grew into something more, instead of it starting out as an obsessive pursuit for the girl/guy like in other teen books these days. No insta-love in this book. YAY!! That fact alone makes me want to give Kasie four stars!!!!!

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Relationshipiness aside, Trevor is a pretty freaking great guy. He is your sweet, friendly, cookie-cutter Texan boy who’s repspectful of the girl, and loves football. Yeah, he’s just that awesome. But, besides the whole sweet thing, he is a really good guy and he had surprising depth for being a goody-two-shoes kind of character, and nearing the last couple of chapters he does something very sacrificial for Addie, which helps her to make a very hard, but good, decision.

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Yay for Kasie making a selfless (and smart) main guy character!

The last thing I wan to comment on is that, despite the fact that I would classify this as a “fluff” book, as you get near the end “Pivot Point” get quite exciting and I was rushing to finish it. The book ends well, but it also ends a little sad

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and that makes me anxious for the next book in this trilogy, “Split Second”, to come out so I can see how Kasie West fixes all the problems made at the end of “Pivot Point.”

“Pivot Point” is a great book. No, I take that back. “Pivot Point” is fabulous because it is sweet, fluffy, and delicious all wrapped up into one book! I really respected Addie as a character (and Kasie West) for what she had to sacrifice for someone she loved, and it makes me look forward to the next book, which comes out in February! Overall, a great, fun, and light read! Loved it!