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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Les Petits Bonheurs #25…

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This will be my last les petits bonheurs post before college recommences, which is pretty crazy! Summer break went SO fast, and although I kept busy, I feel like my attempt at blogging more consistently went down the proverbial toilette one week into my summer resolution. I did a fair amount of rereading books, but there were not a lot of new releases that caught my attention this summer, so I have been severely lacking in creativity and inspiration to write a review. This fall, however, seems to hold some promising up-coming releases like “Crooked Kingdoms” by Leigh Bardugo and “The Lovely Reckless” by Kami Garcia among others, and I am looking forward to just finding another book and world to get lost in. Until then, I bid you all adieu!

P.S. I do have two reviews that are in the works, so hopefully I will have one up for you by the end of this week or the start of next week.

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Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

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“Love and Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Summer in Tuscany, Italy would be an adventure of a lifetime to most people, but Lina is not one of them. The magic of Italy is lost on Lina because her visit to the beautiful country is only to fulfill her mother’s dying wish for her to get to know her father.

Nothing is ideal or appealing about her trip to Italy, but when Lina is given her mother’s old journal, she discovers what a magical time her mother had had in the romantic country. Reading through her mother’s journal leads Lina on a whirlwind adventure to uncovering the beauty, art, and secrets that her own mother experienced over a decade ago. Each entry of the journal takes her somewhere new, and soon Lina finds herself lost to the magic of the Italian countryside, despite the pain and sorrow that had painted her life for the last year. But as she follows the trail her mother left for in the journal, Lina finds out earth shattering truths about the woman whose every secret she thought she knew, and she wonders how her mother could have kept those kinds of secrets from her. As the mystery of her mother’s past in Italy unfolds, Lina discovers the true reason behind why her mother had loved Italy despite leaving it, and through uncovering her mother’s past, Lina might just find her way forward.

Have I ever told you that I’m a fiend when it comes to anything Italian? I find nearly everything about that country to be charming and interesting, so whenever an opportunity arises to read a book that takes place in the beautiful country, I am ready to dive right in! I have yet to experience a true Italian vacation, but for now reading about the stunning landscape and charming people and culture will have to do until I can experience it for myself.

I adored “Love and Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch because it felt like I got to visit Tuscany and like I had the opportunity to explore the stunning city of Florence. Jenna Evans Welch’s descriptions of the Italian countryside were amazing and made the story and region of Italy it took place in come alive, and this book felt like the closest alternative to an Italian summer to actually traveling there myself. Let’s just say it was magical imagining the beauty of the rolling hills and stunning landscape that Lina, the main character, got to wake up to each morning.

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Oh, yeah, and did I mention Florence yet? I might have swooned over the descriptive writing that Jenna used when telling her readers about the beautiful and historic city of Florence. Jenna Evans Welch painted such a stunningly clear Florence for me that I could see and feel the city all around me, and I loved how this book truly gave me the travel bug, especially when she described the Duomo.

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It felt like I got a tiny history and architecture lesson from reading “Love and Gelato,” which I absolutely adored, and after reading this book, I want to experience the city of Florence and all of Tuscany for myself!

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“Love and Gelato” by Jenna Evans Welch is the best contemporary book that I have read for travel; it felt like I got a private tour of Italy while also reading a heartwarming story about a girl healing from loss and discovering who she is. Alright, enough about the amazing travel aspects of “Love and Gelato,” because there was so much more to Jenna’s book than just stunning scenery!

I have been on a YA contemporary reading craze lately. After having read quite a few heavy/serious fantasy novels, I felt this need to find as many sweet, summery reads as I could, and “Love and Gelato” was the first one that I got my hands on, thanks to my sister loaning her copy to me. Needless to say, I loved this book so much, from its beautiful descriptions, heartwarming story, and sweet summertime feeling, that I bought myself a copy!

YA contemporary is usually not my preferred genre, but some truly fantastic authors have persuaded me to give it a chance, and books within this the contemporary genre have slowly found their way onto my bookshelf. I love fairly serious and thought-provoking books or characters that are impacting and linger long after I have put them down, but sometimes I just need a little sweetness in life that gives me a safe escape from my troubles, and “Love and Gelato” was exactly that. This book was the perfectly light and heartwarming journey that a summer afternoon requires, but it was also more, and I feel like I am shorting Jenna Evans Welch by saying that it was just a fluffy summer read. “Love and Gelato” was sweetness itself, but it also had an unexpected depth to it at times that was the result of Jenna having her protagonist dealing with the loss of her mother. “Love and Gelato” made me feel happy and lighthearted with the beauty of the Italian countryside, but there were also moments when it made my heart ache and tears come to my eyes, especially during the last twenty or thirty pages. I really appreciated the ease in which Jenna Evans Welch pulled me into the story that she was telling, and by how she caused me as a reader to feel emotionally connect to her characters.

Lina was a likeable contemporary protagonist, and my heart hurt for her and the loss that she was dealing with because of her mother’s passing. The way that Jenna Evans Welch wrote this book and her main character made me enjoy Lina’s journey, and I liked the fact that Lina did not pull the universe-is-against-me card; I don’t personally like the fact that she was traipsing around a foreign all alone for a few days without any knowledge of the language or culture, but I never got annoyed with Lina, either. I got why she did not want to be in Italy, and Jenna Evans Welch handled the situation of loss well within her contemporary novel.

There was, unfortunately, insta-love between Lina and a young man who she meets in Italy, and that was truly the only thing that I rolled my eyes at while reading “Love and Gelato.” That and the fact that Lina did not know what gelato was.

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Fortunately, though, the insta-love and the severely lacking knowledge of delicious food did not ruin the story of “Love and Gelato “for me. Lina’s journey was cute and heartwarming, if a little quick for my taste, and I just wish that this book had taken place over a longer period of time, because personal growth comes with time. Lina’s story was sweet, but it only took a few days in Italy for her to discover who she was and to come to the point where she could begin to heal from the loss of her mother. It was still a great and heartwarming coming of age story, but I just wish it hadn’t happened so fast for this book’s protagonist, especially since I wanted to see Lina get to know Howard more.

Howard, Lina’s long-lost father and the reason she came to Italy, was such a good, charming, and endearing character. I wish that there had more of him because he brought so much to this book. Jenna Evans Welch did such an amazing job writing Howard, and his character honestly brought tears to my eyes while reading the end of this book. Lots of tears. Multiple times.

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Howard’s story was so interesting as well as sad, and I loved how much he cared for Lina and wanted to get to know her. I’ve definitely come to the point in my life where I fall for the adult characters and am on their side instead of the rebellious teenager’s. And let me tell you, the other side looks pretty good. 😉

Overall, “Love and Gelato” was a sweet, heartwarming summer read. I enjoyed reading Jenna’s amazing descriptions of Tuscany and learning about the city of Florence, and I hope to someday have a stamp in my passport that says,”Italy,” on it. Welch’s writing style in “Love and Gelato” was easy to read while being extremely impacting, and I enjoyed the whole experience of reading this book, from its characters to its stunning setting. If you want to read a good story or just catch the travel bug, you have to read “Love and Gelato”!

Les Petits Bonheurs #16…

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So, it is officially summer! It has been summer for about two weeks now, but with a busy schedule it has taken me a bit of time to absorb the fact that I no longer have to study most of my days away. I have a fair amount of free-time now that I am starting to settle down into my new routine, which makes me hopeful that I can finish some of my long-in-coming reviews of books that I read in March, April, and May. *sighs* I am more than a little behind, but I am excited that I will eventually get caught up, even if I am wee bit behind other bloggers.

This summer has definitely inspired me to revise my reviewing process since I’m not the fastest writer/editor, so we’ll see what comes of that, and I’m very excited to start checking things off of my reading list! Before my summer commenced, I had this strange desire to just reread all of the books on my shelf that I love and to give ones that I did not particularly care for a second chance, despite the fact that there are quite a few new books that I should get caught up on. So, my summer reading list is actually a blast to the past/nostalgia list, with quite a few contemporary novels on it, which is not usually my preferred genre. This summer just seems like the right time to drown in fluffy contemporary novels and some of the greatest hits that I own.

All that being said, I am honestly not sure how many new reviews I will be doing this summer. I think that I might rewrite some of my old reviews if my perspective changes toward the books after their next reading, but I am still hoping to write a few new reviews in addition to having a couple of random posts that are befitting of the summer season. I honestly don’t know what’s coming down the blogger road, but I’m kind of excited that it’s unplanned, and I hope you don’t mind the off-roading experience that’s up ahead.

Fangirl Friday #3…The Man from U.N.C.L.E

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I know that it’s not a book, but I just couldn’t resist posting about “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” after my sister and I saw it this morning. Let me tell you, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was one of the best movies I’ve seen all year, second only to “Cinderella,” and I absolutely loved it! I mean, this movie literally had everything going for it with its fantastic retro-feeling filming, a fabulous car chase scene in the beginning,

5bb806a39e669c3490558285152e64abgreat 1960’s style music that was placed perfectly in scenes (especially in this one),

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Armie Hammer on a motorcycle pulling a Steve McQueen move, *swoons*

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Henry Cavill playing a suave spy with moves like this,

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and amazing comedic timing during even action sequences and mildly morbid moments. 7d31deca497b3be7065e25883f73bf56

I have no words for how fabulous “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” was/is, and you just need to go and experience it for yourself! Go forth and watch it!!

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

 

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“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!