Book Review: By Your Side

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Synopsis:

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 at 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?

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Review

I love Kasie West’s novels because they’re quick reads that usually make me swoon, and By Your Side was no different. The novel is told in Autumn’s first person POV and begins with her getting trapped in the library over the holiday weekend. Little does she know she’s not there alone.

Trapped alongside her is resident “bad boy” Dax, who Autumn only kind of knows. Although they don’t get along at first, due to their own presumptions about each other, they quickly find that the other isn’t so bad after all.

I really liked the romance between Dax and Autumn but more than that I really liked Autumn as a character on her own. I don’t want to spoil it so I’ll just say that Autumn has a secret that she’s been keeping from her friends but she’s able to confide the truth to Dax and he’s able to be there for her in a way her friends can’t.

I also liked that although there kind of is a love triangle between Autumn, Dax, and Autumn’s friend Jeff, there really isn’t. Again I don’t want to spoil it but basically Jeff isn’t around that much and when he does come around Autumn’s pretty much already head over heels for Dax.

Still, there is conflict so this book wasn’t boring and despite it’s predictability it still took me by surprise a few times, mainly because unlike so other books the whole plot isn’t given away in the synopsis. In fact, this book was actually more complicated than I expected and I really liked it.

West deals with some heavy issues in this novel, quite possible her heaviest yet, and she did so with care and the same level of romance you expect from her novels. This is definitely a must read.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“You won the best heart in the world, so take care of it.”

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Book Review: The Distance Between Us

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Synopsis:

Money can’t buy a good first impression.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers learned early that the rich are not to be trusted. And after years of studying them from behind the cash register of her mom’s porcelain-doll shop, she has seen nothing to prove otherwise. Enter Xander Spence—he’s tall, handsome, and oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and the fact that he seems to be one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But just when Xander’s loyalty and attentiveness are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. With so many obstacles standing in their way, can she close the distance between them?

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Review

I can’t believe I forgot to review this book. I read it a while back and I really liked, even though it wasn’t my all time favorite Kasie West novel. Let’s dive in.

First, if you’re making your way through Kasie West’s books like I’ve been doing recently I recommend reading The Distance Between Us before On the Fence because they take place in the same town so there’s some overlapping characters and The Distance Between Us was released first. Truthfully though it doesn’t really matter, which order you read them in since nothing’s given away but I would’ve preferred if I’d read them in order.

Moving on, I loved Caymen and Xander. They were so cute together and made me swoon. I also liked that we got to see their relationship play out. A lot of romance novels wait to the end for the characters to get together and then there’s only like a chapter where they’re actually together but this book wasn’t like that. You actually get to see their romance play out, which was nice. I also really liked Caymen’s humor. She’s super sarcastic and witty and I loved how Xander played off that but could also see through it when she was using her humor to deflect.

My biggest issue with this novel was Caymen’s mom. I found her to be super irritating but thankfully she’s not around that often so it didn’t bother me too much. Other than that I really like this novel and want to buy it so I can read it again. Once I finally read By Your Side I plan on doing a full ranking of all of West’s romance novels and I’m pretty sure The Distance Between Us will be close to the top. Definitely give it a read if you haven’t already.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Sometimes it’s the little things that bring that special someone back to us in some small way.”

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Book Review: The Hot One

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Synopsis:

At first glance, stripping naked at my ex-girlfriend’s place of work might not seem like the brightest way to win her back. 
But trust me on this count – she always liked me best without any clothes on. And sometimes you’ve got to play to your strengths when you’re fighting an uphill battle. As a lawyer, I know how to fight, and I’m prepared to fight hard for her. I might have let her slip through my fingers the last time, but no way will that happen twice.
He’s the one who got away…
The nerve of Tyler Nichols to reappear like that, stripping at my job, showing off his rock hard body that drove me wild far too many nights. That man with his knowing grin and mischievous eyes is nothing but a cocky, arrogant jerk to saunter back into my life. Except, what if he’s not…?
He’s the one I’ve tried like hell to forget but just can’t. Maybe I’m cursed to remember him. My money is on him being the same guy he always was, but what’s the harm in giving him a week to prove he’s a new man? I won’t fall for him again.
But how do you resist the hot one…

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Review

*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Lauren Blakely Books. This did not influence my review of this book in anyway. This is an honest review of the novel as I saw it. This novel will be released on February 27, 2017.*

Honestly, when I first read the synopsis of The Hot One I wasn’t totally sold on it. Tyler just sounded too cocky and not my kind of guy at all. However, because I’ve loved almost every single one of Lauren Blakely’s books that I’ve read I still wanted to give this book a try and I’m so glad I did.

While Tyler was definitely just as cocky as I expected him to be he was also really funny and totally sweet. I absolutely loved his chemistry with Delaney and I also just loved Delaney as a person as well. The story is told in their alternating POVs, which I really liked because it was interesting to see how they viewed their past break-up in different ways. For Tyler, it was something he felt had to happen, whereas for Delaney it was devastating but also a major turning point in her life that turned out to be for the better.

What I loved most about this book was that the relationship between Tyler and Delaney was a slow burn. Not like really slow (this is an erotic novel after all) but unlike other Blakely books I’ve read, Tyler and Delaney didn’t just jump into bed right away. This was mainly because of their past relationship and the fact that they hadn’t seen each other since they broke up. These two had to get to know each other again and it was fun seeing them figure each other out as if it was the first time, not the second. Plus, when they finally did get in bed it was totally worth the build up.

My only issue in the book was Delaney had another love interest, Trevor, who seemed pretty pointless. Obviously I knew Tyler and Delaney were end game but still, we literally only see Trevor once and then he pretty much disappears after that. I kind wanted some drama there, especially because I feel like Tyler wouldn’t have taken the competition well and that could’ve been funny. But alas, it wasn’t so.

Still, Trevor aside, I really liked this book and read it in the span of day. I just couldn’t put it down. Definitely check this book out once it’s released. It’s a must read.

Stars:

4 stars

 

Book Review: King’s Cage

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Synopsis:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

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Review

*Warning: There will be minimal spoilers about Glass Sword in this review. Read at your own risk.*

I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t like Red Queen. For me, it was way too predictable and overhyped. However, I kept reading the series and I’m so happy I did because with each book this series has gotten better and better.

King’s Cage is told in multiple POVs but it’s still mainly Mare’s story and the other two POVs (Cameron and Evangeline) are just as interesting. I really enjoyed seeing this world through these other two ladies’ eyes, especially Evangeline. She’s the first Silver we get to hear from and I absolutely loved her and her storyline. I’m rooting for her in the next (and last!) book.

What I loved most about this novel, though, is the background we got on Maven. As I said, Red Queen was predictable for me so I never liked Maven and I never trusted him. However, in King’s Cage I actually started to become interested in Maven’s character. I don’t like him per say, but I understand him a bit more now. I even started to feel sorry for him. I’m still hoping Mare kills him in the end but I also won’t be mad if he’s somehow redeemed at the end of the series.

However, at the end of the day my heart will always belong to Cal. I don’t want to talk about it too much because I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone but I will say I don’t know how I feel about Cal’s choices in this novel. On the one hand I understand why he did certain things but on the other hand I just wanted to scream, “Are you kidding me?”

Overall, I loved this novel. While I’ve seen other people say it started slow that didn’t bother me at all. Mare is in captivity and there’s only so much that can happen while she’s locked up and I still think Victoria Aveyard handled it very well, especially with the switch in POVs. I really liked every aspect of this novel and I’m excited/scared to see how this will all end.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Cameron, my heart is quite literally in this.”

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Book Review: Wires and Nerve

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Synopsis:

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new,action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold.When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers’ leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder, Cress, Scarlet, Winter, and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

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Review

First, if you’ve read Stars Above you should be warned that the wedding short story in that book actually occurs after Wires and Nerve. That really confused me at first while reading and I’m kind of upset that’s the case, to be honest. I’d love to know what happens after that short story and I’m hoping this graphic novel series goes past it so I can find out. Besides this one little annoyance, I really loved this novel.

It felt so great to be back in The Lunar Chronicles world and seeing all my favorite characters again. Even though this book is about Iko I got to see everyone from Rampion Crew again, which was great. Also, there were so many swoon moments, especially for Cress and Thorne (Cresswell) shippers. I absolutely loved it. Even Iko had her own romantic moments, which I truly enjoyed, even though she’s an android so I found it a little confusing.

My only other issue with this novel was that it was too short. I forgot how quick graphic novels are and this story went by way too fast. I wanted more as soon as I was done and I can’t believe I’ll have to wait a year before I get to see what happens next, even though technically I have a pretty good idea how it’ll end because of that short story in Stars Above. Have I mentioned how annoyed am about that, because I am.

Still, overall I truly enjoyed this book and I could see myself reading it again because it was such a quick and easy read. I’m not sure how many books are going to be in this series but I’m hoping for at least two more. I don’t think I could ever get sick of these characters.

Have you read Wires and Nerve yet? Let me know your thoughts about it below.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“I misread the romantic tension, didn’t I?”

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Book Review: The Sexy One 

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Synopsis:

Let me count the ways why falling into forbidden love is not my wisest move…
1. She works with me every single day.
Did I mention she’s gorgeous, sweet, kind and smart?
2. She works in my home.
Playing with my five-year-old daughter. Teaching my little girl. Cooking for my princess. Which means…
3. She’s the nanny.
And that makes her completely off-limits…But it doesn’t stop me from wanting her. All of her.
*****
The other nannies in this city don’t call him The Sexy One for nothing. My boss, the amazingly wonderful single father to the girl I take care of every day is ridiculously hot, like movie star levels with those arms, and those eyes, and that body. Not to mention, the way he dotes on his little girl melts me all over. But what really makes my knees weak are the times when his gaze lingers on me. In secret. When no one else is around.

I can’t risk my job for a chance at something more…can I? But I don’t know how to resist him much longer either…

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Review

I love Lauren Blakely’s books because they’re such quick reads and I almost always fall in love with the characters. The Sexy One was no different. I was first introduced to Simon in Mister O, and I was more than happy to see him again, this time with his own love interest, Abby. First of all, not only is this man crazy attractive but he’s also an amazing dad to his daughter, Hayden. Of course I fell for him instantly, as did Abby. Unfortunately, Abby’s his nanny.

Although this is of course a stereotypical romance, instead of shying away from it Blakely fully embraces it. Both Simon and Abby are aware of the cliché that is their relationship and Simon even makes a Ben Affleck reference, which I thought was fantastic. Plus, I’m a sucker for forbidden romance stories and this was one was especially great because technically they weren’t really doing anything wrong. They’re both legal adults and they’re both single. The only problem was that Simon was paying Abby and for me that was an easy fix.

However, because this is a novel, their relationship had it’s complications but that just made the story more fun and interesting, which is why I loved it. Also, did I mention how swoon-worthy Simon is because he really, truly is. More than that though I liked that Abby and Simon actually had a connection. Yes, their relationship was steamy, but there was also a realness there. It was there in the way Abby taught Simon French for his business deal and how excited Simon was to text Abby about the eagles. Yeah, there’s eagles and they’re cute and you should read the book so you can fully understand the relevance of the eagles.

All in all, Blakely knocked it out of the park with this novel. I laughed, I swooned, and I couldn’t put it down. Definitely check it out if you haven’t already.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

Simon doesn’t fill a void. He makes my life richer.

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Book Review: Passenger

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Synopsis:

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles, but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods-a powerful family in the Colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, his passenger, can find. In order to protect her, Nick must ensure she brings it back to them-whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home forever.

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Review

I was excited to hear about this series because I loved The Darkest Minds trilogy but then I heard mixed reviews, making me hesitant to pick this book up. I’ve had this book since I got it signed by Alexandra Bracken at BookCon in May of last year and in an effort to actually read all the books I own this year I decided to give it a try.

The novel is told in alternating third person POVs of both Etta and Nicholas. First of all, I love Nicholas for a multitude of reasons. I liked him as a character and a person and he totally made me swoon. Moreover, I truly appreciated how Bracken handled his character. Nicholas is half Black, living in the late 1700s. His mother was a slave and while of course people of color continue to face discrimination today, Nicholas has never seen a world where African-American’s are just defined as slaves or free. This was a perfect contrast to Etta who’s white and lives in the present day.

I really liked how Bracken handled the differences in Etta’s and Nicholas’ viewpoints as well as the acknowledgement of privilege. This contrast was also interesting to see in terms of Etta and Sophia, who has never known a time where a woman has rights and can work for herself. While Nicholas is cast aside by Grandfather Ironwood (who’s the absolute worst) because of the color of his skin, Sophia is never given a seat at the table because she’s the “wrong” gender.

Although I really did enjoy these ideas that Bracken brings up in this novel, I just wasn’t that interested in the plot. It wasn’t until very near the end where I finally felt like I was on edge of my seat and things were finally getting interesting. Prior to that, I kept waiting for something exciting to happen and the novel just didn’t give it to me. My favorite moments were the romance between Nicholas and Etta but besides that I just wasn’t that intrigued by what was happening.

So overall I’d say this novel was just okay. I liked the racial and gender issues that Bracken brings up in the novel and thought she handled those really well, but the plot just didn’t excite me enough to say this is a buy. That being said, I’m thoroughly enjoying the sequel at the moment so if you’re willing to push through Passenger like I did, Wayfarer totally makes it worth it.

Stars:

3 stars

Favorite Line:

“It matters not who you love, but only the quality of such a love. A flower is no less beautiful because it does not bloom in the expected form. Because it lasts an hour, and not days.”

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