ARC Review: Maybe This Time by Kasie West

Synopsis:

maybe this time.jpgOne year. Nine events. Nine chances to . . . fall in love?

Weddings. Funerals. Barbecues. New Year’s Eve parties. Name the occasion, and Sophie Evans will be there. Well, she has to be there. Sophie works for the local florist, so she can be found at every big event in her small hometown, arranging bouquets and managing family dramas.

Enter Andrew Hart. The son of the fancy new chef in town, Andrew is suddenly required to attend all the same events as Sophie. Entitled, arrogant, preppy Andrew. Sophie just wants to get her job done and finish up her sketches so she can apply to design school. But every time she turns around, there is Andrew, getting in her way and making her life more complicated. Until one day she wonders if maybe complicated isn’t so bad after all . . .

Told over the course of one year and following Sophie from event to event, this delightful novel from master of romantic comedy Kasie West shows how love can blossom in unexpected places.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound

Review

*I received a free advanced reader’s copy of this book via #booksfortrade on Twitter. 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 July 9, 2019.*

I’m a big Kasie West fan and have made it my mission to read every romance novel she writes, which is why I was so happy to snag an ARC of her latest novel.

Maybe This Time follows Sophie, a small town girl who desperately wants to move to the big city (New York). Over the course of the year we follow Sophie as her job working at a flower shop requires her to attend various events. Also attending those events are her best friend, Micah, who works for her dad’s catering company, and the new guy in town, Andrew Hart, who’s celebrity chef dad has taken Micah’s father under his wing.

After Andrew and Sophie have the opposite of a meet-cute, Sophie is totally over him, and Andrew isn’t exactly her biggest fan either. Thus begins one of my favorite tropes: hate-to-love. As the two are forced together again and again, Sophie begins to consider why Andrew gets under her skin. Sophie also has to confront her feelings about her parents and the small town that she loves but also can’t wait to leave.

Sophie is judgmental and headstrong, but she loves her little brother, Gunnar, and Micah fiercely. It was good to see Sophie be called out for her harsh treatment of some of the people in her life, but also recognize that there’s nothing wrong with wanting more for yourself than the life other’s think is right for you.

West did an excellent job of showing how nothing is ever just black and white. Our hopes and dreams are complicated. Love and friendship is complicated. Family is really complicated. And so while I loved the romance of this novel, I get why this was the first West romance cover with just the female protagonist on the cover. This wasn’t just a love story, this was about Sophie finding herself and understanding what she really wanted and then going after it.

I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a cute summer read that you won’t be able to put down. I certainly couldn’t stop reading until the very last page.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

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ARC Book Review: Lucky in Love

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Synopsis:

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?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

*I received a free digital advanced reader’s copy of this book from Scholastic via Edelweiss. 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 July 25, 2017.*

Kasie West has become my go to author for YA contemporary romance novels. Her books are always so cute, fun, and quick to read, and Lucky in Love was no exception. This novel is told in the first person point of view of Maddie, a high school senior who’s very focused on school. She’s so focused that she and her best friends, Blair and Elise, have a pact that they’re not allowed to date in high school.

Maddie believes nothing comes easy and you have to work hard for what you want, which is why she’s not interested in entering the lottery at first. However, when her friends bail on her birthday party Maddie decides to spend the rest of her money on a lottery ticket and surprisingly she actually wins.

Suddenly, her life goes from kind of boring to very exciting. Everyone wants to be her friend and every one wants her money. Her friends and family start acting differently and Maddie soon questions who she can and can’t trust. Except for Seth, her cute coworker at the zoo. Seth was grounded when the news of Maddie’s lottery win broke and rather than tell him about it, Maddie likes that there’s someone in her life who presumably doesn’t know about her lottery win, so she keeps it to herself.

My favorite part of this book was definitely Seth. First, I loved that he’s Vietnamese American. As far as I can tell this is the first time the love interest has been a person of color in West’s novels and I thought that was great, especially because Seth opened up to Maddie about what it’s like to be Asian in America. There were multiple points where he and Maddie had open conversations about race and I really liked that a lot because while it wasn’t the main topic of the book, West also didn’t shy away from it.

I also really liked Maddie as a character. Though I was frustrated that she wasn’t handling her new wealth very responsibly I also acknowledged the fact that she was 18 and truthfully she did win $50 million ($30 million once you take out the taxes). It wasn’t like she was actually going to use up all her money but it still stressed me out every time she bought something extravagant, especially because it was so out of character for her. Overall though, I was more upset with her parents for not stepping in when they saw how much she was spending.

That small frustration aside, I really enjoyed this novel. It was a quick read and I loved Seth from the moment he was first introduced. I highly recommend picking up Lucky in Love once it hits stores. It’s definitely worth a read.

Borrow or Buy: Buy!

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“Magic cannot be explained. It can only be experienced.”

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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?

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

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?

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

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: On the Fence

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Synopsis:

She’s a tomboy. He’s the boy next door.

With three older brothers, Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, has always been more comfortable calling the shots on a basketball court than flirting with the opposite sex. So when her police officer dad demands she get a summer job to pay for the latest in a long line of speeding tickets, she’s more than a little surprised to find herself working at a chichi boutique and going out with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game. Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with her neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden, sitting back-to-back against the fence that separates them. Braden may know her better than anyone. But there’s a secret Charlie’s keeping that even he hasn’t figured out—she’s fallen for him. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I’ve been in the mood for romance lately and Kasie West is the perfect author to fill that need. Her books are so fun and cute to read and they’re super quick reads as well. Although I didn’t love On the Fence as much as I loved P.S. I Like You, it was still pretty close.

On the Fence was the perfect “friends turned to something more” romance. I was Team Braden from the moment he showed up. He’s cute, sweet, and a little bashful, which I found adorable. It was so obvious that he liked Charlie but of course Charlie couldn’t see it. That being said I related to Charlie a lot. Her mom died when she was only six years old and this caused her to have nightmares about her mother’s death that kept her up at night. This is how her late night conversations with Braden at the fence began. Although at first it was unintentional, their meetings became more intentional and they were so incredibly cute.

Besides Braden and Charlie, I really liked the other characters in this novel. Charlie’s dad was so adorable as he tried to navigate being a single dad with a daughter. It was hilarious and cute how hard he tried. I also really liked her brothers. Gabe is my favorite but Nathan was also really cute. Charlie’s boss Linda was so funny but also wise and I wish she was my boss. And I really liked Amber and all her friends.

The only complaint I had about this novel was at one point Charlie’s new friend Antonia was referred to as having “mocha skin.” This has always been a pet peeve of mine. If her skin is brown just say brown. No one ever refers to a white person’s skin tone as “vanilla”. Literally right before this is said Charlie refers to Amber’s skin as being “tan.” Why is a POC’s skin tone always compared to food? It’s fine to say their skin is brown or dark brown. Honestly, we’d prefer it.

Besides this, I found everything else about this book to be great. I thought the story about Charlie’s mom was very well done and I was actually kind of surprised by it even though I knew there had to be more to her mother’s death than what Charlie believed. I also liked how Charlie began to allow herself to step out of her comfort zone and wear different clothes and even try make-up. More than that, I liked that this wasn’t something she had to do to get the (right) guy but something she ended up doing for herself.

Overall, this was a cute and fun read and Braden is now on my best book boyfriends list. Seriously, he was so perfect.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Sometimes we expect more than people are capable of giving at that moment.”

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