Publisher: Harper Teen

Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie West

Posted December 27, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Love, Life and the List by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Published by Harper Collins, Harper Teen
Publication Date: December 26th 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.

I was a bit skeptical to start this book because I have seen a bunch of not so good reviews of it on Goodreads but I should have more faith in Kasie West because this book was fantastic! I enjoyed the heck out of the story, out of getting to know both Abby and Cooper and I thought their romance was a sweet one. Kasie West delivered a fabulous young romance that I took me no time at all to sink my teeth into. There was so much to love about this book that I don’t even know where to begin.

Abby Turner is going to be a senior in high school but it’s summertime and she has plans to try to get into an art show that is put on by the local museum, that she just so happens to work at. She’s got a lot going on but more than anything, she wants a shot at showcasing her art and she’ll do whatever she has to, to get a shot at her dreams. Her home life isn’t the most ideal with a father in the military and overseas, a mother who has anxiety about everything under the sun but at least she’s got her Grandfather. A grandfather who loves and supports her through everything.

On top of everything that she’s got going on, Abby is also dealing with unrequited love. She has been in love with her best friend, Cooper for a while now and is still feeling the rejection he threw her way when she confessed her feelings for him. Not wanting to lose him, Abby played it off and has been stuck in the friend zone ever since. She’s trying to put herself firmly in the friend zone but her heart wants her best friend and being around Cooper isn’t getting any easier.

When Abby gets some bad news about her art and her chances of getting into the art show she was gunning for, a list is born. A list of experiences she feels she needs to have to give her art the heart that her boss is looking for. Since it’s just her and Cooper for the summer, Cooper is roped into helping Abby with the list and the adventure begins!

This was a quick read but Kasie West packs a punch, and it was a punch that I delighted in. I enjoyed Abby’s character a lot more than I’ve enjoyed the last few West protagonists and I was happy about that. Abby was young but she was smart and she was strong and I loved the hell out of her. It was nice to see a young character who was mature for her age but still acted her age if that makes any sense. I was cheering Abby on from the jump and seeing her go through the list and accomplish all of her small goals and then seeing her experience heartache with a boy that just would not leave her heart made for an emotional read. My heart hurt for her and I got a little teary-eyed when she realizes that something has to change or she’ll never be completely happy and gah, it was just a great coming of age story that I connected with on almost every level.

You know, a lot of the early reviews talk smack about the love interest in this book. The reviews that I read weren’t fans of him and that was not me at all. I adored him. Throughout the entire book, you can see that he loves Abby, his actions spoke louder than him not saying anything to Abby and that had a lot to do with why it was hard for Abby to move on. So I liked seeing them fumble around until they finally got it right.

Overall, this book was a good one. I adored pretty much everything about it though there were things here and there that I could have done without. Kasie West continues to shine in my eyes and as always, I’m looking forward to more from her. I definitely recommend this book to those in search of a sweet, contemporary YA romance with heart. This fits the bill, for sure.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Posted February 14, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: By Your Side by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Kasie West writes cute, fun and fluffy contemporary young adult romances and this book was no different. This wasn’t my favorite Kasie West story but it was still a solid read.

Autumn Collins got locked in the library. She was also left behind. She had weekend plans with her friends at her best friend’s cabin and those plans went right out the window when she had to pee just as the library was closing and she got locked in the library…for an entire weekend. First off, this was totally unrealistic since I just don’t see this happening in real life but still. I went with it.

Autumn is stuck in the library over the weekend with Dax. The school’s loner who has a reputation for fighting. Nobody really knows Dax but they do know that he was sent to juvie after getting into a fight. Autumn has a crush on Jason and she was looking forward to hanging out with him over at the bonfire that her group of friends was heading over to after leaving the library. When she gets locked in the library, she starts to wonder when her friends will notice that she’s not with them. When the first night goes by and her friend’s don’t come back for her, she covers up what that might mean by trying to get to know the guy she’s locked in the library with…Dax.

Dax hasn’t had an easy go of this life thing. His mother liked drugs more than him, he’s been through a bunch of different foster homes and he’s trying as hard as he can to keep a low profile so that he can stay out of a group home and the minute he turns 18, he’ll be free. If that means that sometimes he’s got to sleep in weird places so that his latest good for nothing foster parents can get their party on, he’ll do it because what Dax wants more than anything in his life is his freedom.

Autumn and Dax develop feelings for each other but after they return to their regular lives, they slide right back into the lives they led before getting locked in the library. There are things that make things that way on Autumn’s side but it was still disappointing. Especially because Dax was disappointed in the way things were with Autumn.

My disappointment in this book stems from Autumn and how long it took for her to get her head out of her ass. The whole thing with Jason and then with Dax pissed me off because she was leading them both on while she took her sweet ass time to make a decision. It didn’t take long for me to read this book, it was really easy to fall into and even though it took me a little bit to warm up to Autumn, I liked Dax from the jump and I didn’t want to stop reading the book but even through all of that, this book isn’t my favorite Kasie West.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

Posted March 31, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarryReviewer: Rowena
Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road #2
Also in this series: Nowhere but Here
Published by Harlequin
Publication Date: April 1st 2016
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 304
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds

Smart. Responsible. That's seventeen-year-old Breanna's role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyberbully's line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas "Razor" Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don't belong. But when he learns she's being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it's time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he'll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she'll help him seek answers to the mystery that's haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they're both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they're going from here.

Walk the Edge is the second book in McGarry’s Thunder Road series, a series that follows the children of MC brothers. This book follows Thomas “Razor” Turner, the newly patched in brother to the Reign of Terror MC.

Razor hasn’t been the same since his mother died a few years ago. The whole thing seemed off to him and he hasn’t been able to move on from it. When a detective starts sniffing around, planting theories in his head about his Mom’s death and with those theories come a whole lot of doubts that surround the MC. His issues throughout the entire book center on him learning to open himself up to trust those around him that love him. It’s not an easy road, especially when those people that are supposed to love you making it so hard to trust them.

Breanna is #5 of 9 children. She’s stuck in the middle and doesn’t fit in with her older siblings and is too old for her younger siblings. Her parents rely on Breanna to pretty much raise her younger siblings and her older siblings are a bunch of assholes that are too busy to help her. Breanna takes the cake when it comes to being smart. Her brain works in a very special way and it has made her the laughingstock at school. The whispers, the laughing and everything gets pretty bad at school that she has spent a number of years hiding how smart she really is so that she could fit in.

Being laughed at and made to feel like a freak show at school is bad enough but a kid should not have to live with it at home. When Breanna comes across Thomas Turner, known around town as Razor from the Reign of Terror Motorcycle Club, she isn’t expecting the relationship that blossomed between them. Razor wasn’t prepared it either.

Their lives are night and day. His is filled with motorcycles, parties and girls but her life is nothing like that. Her life is filled with kids and obligations and responsibilities that shouldn’t be hers but are anyway. They shouldn’t have been right for each other but they were and I really enjoyed the romance between them. McGarry really shines at writing the complicated romances that will gut you with feelings.

Two completely imperfect characters, young characters at that really get put through the wringer in this book and it was a hell of a ride. The book itself was compelling as I couldn’t put it down but I was frustrated as shit throughout a huge chunk of this book.

There’s a lot tackled in this book and I enjoyed it but more than once I wanted to punch someone’s lights out and it was a different person every time. The MC and their idiotic ways of “protecting” their own. Breanna’s never around parents and her older siblings (Clara especially). The whole blackmailing thing. Everything comes together in a complicated way to end the book but when I closed the book, I was still frustrated with Breanna’s family. I was still frustrated with the whole Kyle thing but the one thing that I absolutely loved was the love between Razor and Breanna. It was the one thing that completely worked for me.

Razor really came into his own in this story and I liked seeing him come to terms with his mother’s death. My heart hurt for him. I wanted to hug him close and never let him go.

Breanna’s story is one that I connected with. It’s something that I understood being one of 9 children myself. Getting lost in a crowd of kids, fighting for attention and more often than not, losing. Where her siblings kept her at arms lengths, my siblings supported me and each other through everything. Dance recitals, soccer games? All of my siblings were there to support me while my parents were busy with work but Breanna didn’t have it like that so my heart hurt for her as well.

I was really glad that Razor and Breanna had each other. I loved seeing them fall for each other because they were there for each other when nobody else was and we all need someone in our corner so I was glad that these two had each other. They were great characters on their own but they were better together and I dug their romance.

It’s saying a lot about McGarry’s writing style that I can still be completely obsessed with this series even after being frustrated with this book. Its saying a lot that I cannot wait for the next book to come out and I hate the heroine right now. I wanted to karate chop her in both this book and Nowhere but Here but damn if I’m not excited to tackle her and Chevy’s book. So while this book wasn’t without its frustrating bits, I still liked it enough to want to continue the series.

3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Posted July 29, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie WestReviewer: Rowena
The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen
Publication Date: May 5th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she decides to do the unthinkable…convince the cute guy waiting to pick up his sister to pretend to be her boyfriend for the night. The task is simple: two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

The problem is that days after prom, she can't stop thinking about her fill-in boyfriend. But can Gia turn her fake boyfriend into a real one without exposing her lie and possibly destroying her friendships and her newfound relationship?

Smartly observed and wonderfully romantic, Kasie West's talent shines in this tale of one girl's unexpected quest to find love…and possibly herself.

Kasie West delivers another winner for me. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that I enjoyed this book. Kasie West is one of those authors that I will binge read like crazy because I love her stuff. The Fill-In Boyfriend was another great read and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for us next.

Gia can’t believe that she just got dumped by her college boyfriend in the parking lot at prom. He doesn’t even have the decency to walk her in and then break up with her in front of her friends (that don’t believe he exists) and to save face, Gia begs some random guy sitting in his car to be her date for prom and pretend to be her boyfriend Bradley. Sounds kind of dumb, right? Well, Kasie West makes this story line work.

When we first meet Gia and she’s more worried about her friends thinking she’s a liar than about being dumped on prom and then becoming the liar she doesn’t want her friends to think she is by bringing a fake Bradley to prom with her, I thought I wasn’t going to like her but I did. I liked her and wanted her to get her crap together…with Fill-In Bradley.

This book took me back to my high school days because who didn’t obsess over a boy? Seeing Gia’s crush on Fill-In Bradley grow with each passing page had me grinning like a school girl because Fill In Bradley was a great boy to crush on. I loved seeing them become friends and I really enjoyed seeing her friendship with Bec grow. I thought Bec was a far better friend than any of her regular group of friends and she was a great sister to Hayden too.

This was such a fun read and it took me no time at all to read it because I couldn’t put it down. It’s not a book that takes itself too seriously or is bogged down with angst, it’s the perfect summer read with characters that will make you laugh a sweet romance that will make you happy sigh. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

This book is available from Harper Teen. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: Towering by Alex Flinn

Posted July 17, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Towering by Alex FlinnReviewer: Rowena
Towering by Alex Flinn
Published by Harper Collins, Harper Teen
Publication Date: May 14th 2013
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 296
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
two-stars

High in my tower I sit. I watch the birds fly below, the clouds float above, and the tall green forest stretch to places I might never see.

Mama, who isn't my mother, has kept me hidden away for many years. My only companions, besides Mama, are my books—great adventures, mysteries, and romances that I long to make my reality. But I know that no one will come to save me—my life is not a fairy tale after all.

Well, at least no one has come so far. Recently, my hair has started to grow rapidly and it's now long enough to reach the bottom of the tower from my window. I've also had the strangest dreams of a beautiful green-eyed man.

When Mama isn't around, I plan my escape, even if it's just for a little while. There's something—maybe someone—waiting for me out there and it won't find me if I'm trapped here Towering above it all.

I wanted to read this book because I enjoyed Beastly so much. My niece read and adored A Kiss in Time so when this book came up for review, I jumped on it.  I’m sad that it didn’t measure up for me, the way that Beastly did.  It was such a slow read.  There were things that slowly unfolded and I kept wanting to skip ahead.  I liked Tangled so I thought I’d enjoy this book as well but the characters just weren’t all that memorable for me.

Wyatt moves to a new town and stays with her Mom’s best friend’s mother who is a little on the old side so that he can get away from the people that knew him and his late best friend Tyler.  He carries around a lot of guilt and when he stumbles upon a mystery of his hostess’ missing daughter, he starts doing a little digging.  He also meets Rachel, a girl who is locked in a tower with only her books for company.  As he falls in love with Rachel and goes about finding out what happened to Danielle, Wyatt finds out more than he thought he ever would.

I never really warmed up to this story.  I haven’t read very many Rapunzel stories but I thought Flinn did a good job of re-telling it.  Of spinning the fairy tale and bringing the story to life in a small, modern town.  But there were too many things that I didn’t care for, for me to really get into it.   The whole mystery behind Danielle, the drug ring and everything else fell flat for me.  By the time the story unfolds completely, I stopped caring.  I was just ready to finish the book.  I couldn’t connect with Wyatt though I did feel bad for him and what he went through with his best friend Tyler and Tyler’s sister, Nikki.

The whole romance between Wyatt and Rachel happened much too fast for me.  It was like having whiplash and it came out of left field too.  They didn’t know anything about each other other than they saved each others lives and Rachel lived in a tower, far away from any human contact.  But they loved each other.  I didn’t get it.  So as much as I wanted to like this one (the cover is pretty awesome), I didn’t.  There were some parts that I liked, like Wyatt’s relationship with Mrs. Greenwood but most of the book just fell flat for me.

Grade: 2 out of 5

This book is available from Harper Teen. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

two-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,