New to You (11): Ginger Reviews P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Welcome to New to You!

This idea came along last year when I was supporting Lauren Miller’s newest book All Things New and I asked Kelsey to read and review Parallel, a book I have read more than once. I didn’t really get it going until December when I offered people the chance to sign up to read and review a book that has been a favorite of mine that they have never read. I got a great response and I’m happy to tell you (minus January) you will see a New to You post twice a month.

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Next up for New to You is Ginger from G Reads!. I can’t even tell you how Ginger came into my life, but I’m so happy she did. We have a lot of great text conversations, stupid distance, and talk a lot about books. I really thought G would connect with this book when her and I were discussing it and I’m so happy she it. Let’s see what she thought about P. S. I Like You.

New to You (11): Ginger Reviews P.S. I Like You by Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point
Published: July 25, 2017
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four-stars

Signed, sealed, delivered...While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out...Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.

I’ve come to learn about Kasie West novels that they sneak up on me and surprise me in the best way possible while reading them. This particular story was such a delight to read. From beginning to end, I found myself smiling from the adorable storyline, to the irresistible characters. I couldn’t get enough of this breath of fresh air.

Lily is a girl after my own heart. She comes from a very crazy hectic family that is so full of life. Immediately I was drawn to the addictive chaos that Lily called home. She is still a girl with her own dreams, and her own aspirations, on top of managing siblings and household duties. Her solace lies within lyrics. Her dream is to win a lyric writing contest, where she hopes to pursue a life long dream. Already I was rooting for Lily! What she doesn’t expect is for someone to discover her lyrics, which begins as an innocent relationship of pen pals between Chemistry classes. I found myself anxious, just like Lily, to discover the next hidden note that was waiting for her in class. As Lily began to develop a connection to this secret pen pal, I too, wondered who could be on the other end of those letters.

Though the reveal came almost half way through the novel, as the reader you begin to suspect early on based on the interactions Lily has with other classmates. Without spoiling the fun, I’ll just say that her secret pen pal is not at all who she thought it would be. And when she does realize who it is, there’s an instant disappointment. Lily had built up this pseudo relationship in her mind, only to be crushed when the reality of it was revealed. This is where the true beauty in this novel really began to shine. The story shifted from an adorable secret pen pal randevu, and melded into a solid, deeply rooted story about discovering real relationships in the most unlikely places, all while learning who Lily truly is herself.

Kasie West delivers again and I can’t wait to read another one of her novels. I am so thankful for Andi’s New to You feature because it has brought a book that’s been sitting on my shelf, for far too long, front and center in my reading world.

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Thanks Ginger for signing up for New to You! I’m so happy you joined and enjoyed this one. I still giggle thinking about one part of this gem! If you want to follow Ginger and see some great romance recommendation, check her out of Twitter.

My review of P. S. I Like You

Have you read anything Kasie West books? PS is my favorite contemporary book by her with Pivot Point being my favorite of her none contemporary.

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Review: Lucky in Love – Kasie West

Review: Lucky in Love – Kasie WestLucky in Love by Kasie West
Published by Scholastic
Published: July 25th 2017
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four-stars

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. 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.

Another Kasie West book? Sign me up please! That was my first reaction to hearing about Lucky in Love. I’m a Kasie West fan. There is no denying it. I have loved just about every book she has released (Pivot Point and PS I Like You are my two favorites). But the the hesitation set in. Her last book was not a favorite of mine so I was a little nervous going into Lucky in Love. I wasn’t sure if I would bet a PS I Like You gem or if I would be disappointed. I can happily say Lucky in Love was delightful and I was not let down at all.

The concept is simple when you think about it. Poor family that struggle for everything they have. They fight because money is a stressor. Girl randomly buys a lottery ticket, because she is basically forced into it, and wins. Everything changes and makes things seem better, but does money really solve all problems? But West brought her own style to the story that made anything other than simple. What Maddie went through after winning the lottery made it feel real and it was all believable. I understood why she thought money would fix everything and why she was spending it like a crazy person when she actually is a responsible person.  When you are given the opportunity to have no financial burden you are definitely going to make some bad choices. And man did Maddie ever. The only choice I think she made that was right was getting close to Seth.

I mean can we talk about Seth for a minute? Could a boy be any sweeter or adorable? He was the perfect counterpart to Maddie and all her current uncertainty. I feel like Seth, by Maddie not telling him about winning, was her grounding point. He was her reality that didn’t change and that was exactly what she needed. I loved everything about their friendship and relationship and the time they spent together. Seriously, did I mention how perfect he was??

All in all I really enjoyed Lucky in Love. There was a part at the end that wasn’t my favorite, but aside from that I found it to be a great, solid story.  I’m really happy I didn’t let me nerves get the better of me because I would have missed a really fun book. Also, I’m not sure I would ever tell anyone if I won the lottery. 😉

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini Reviews

Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren
Published by Harry N. Abrams
Published: April 4th 2017
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two-half-stars

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant. One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I have mixed feelings on The Last Thing You Said. I’m not really sure what it is. Honestly I loved some parts of it. I loved the part where both Lucy and Ben were dealing with their grief in vastly different ways. I loved the setting of the beach. I loved Lucy’s friend. But there was also a lot I was confused by. Honestly I hated how Ben treated Lucy and how Lucy let him treat her. I hated a lot of the things that Lucy did. I do admit the grief of Ben and Lucy and how much they missed Trixie was done really well. That was the one part of the story I felt and understood. But everything else was sadly just not for me.

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by Harper Teen
Published: January 31st 2017
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two-stars

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?

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book. Oh this book. The more I am away from my read of it the more I realize just how much I didn’t really like it. This was strange for me because I have never not loved a Kasie West book. But By Your Side just didn’t do it for me. It had all the ingredients, library [check]; trapped [check]; opposites attract [check]; cute boy [check, check, check] but all of those ingredients just didn’t pan out. The library was 100% not used to its best ability and because of that I felt duped into the book we did end up getting. It was like once Dax and Autumn got out of the library I was reading a whole new book, and it was a book I never saw coming. In the end I just didn’t feel like I got what I signed up for and I was left disappointed.

 

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Mini Reviews #6 – Mini Mini ReviewsThe One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Published by Penguin Teen
Published: May 2nd 2017
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three-stars

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. She lives under the careful watch of her parents, in a town she is familiar with, among people who are equally familiar with her story. She has not been able to recall any part of her past since she was ten, when the tumor that was removed from her brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend's boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this singular memory pierces Flora's fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake and their shared kiss are responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step in reclaiming her life.

With little more than the tattoo "be brave" inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is, how old, where she lives, and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to the land of the midnight sun--Svalbard, Norway. There she is determined to find Drake, and to explore the romantic possibilities and hopeful future that their reunion promises her. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must "be brave" if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m not gonna lie, I struggled with this book. I didn’t struggle because it wasn’t good but I struggled because I was frustrated. And I felt terrible about being frustrated by it because I could only imagine what Flora was actually going through. But the truth is I had a hard time because this book was super repetitive. And believe me, I understand why it was, but it just kind of pulled me out of the story because I felt like I was reading the same page over and over. Really though, Flora had an incredible journey finding out how brave and strong she truly was and there was one part that I didn’t see coming until much later into the book. When all is said and done though, this book just wasn’t right for me. I do feel like it would have been a fun movie.

 

 

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Review: P.S. I Like You – Kasie West

Review: P.S. I Like You – Kasie WestP.S. I Like You by Kasie West
Published by Point
Published: July 26th 2016
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five-stars

Signed, sealed, delivered...

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out...

Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.

Kasie West has done it again. It’s true that I have been in love with Kasie’s books since I read Pivot Point and have loved her contemporary books as well, but P.S. I Like You blew all her other contemps out of the water.  I can’t really explain why but I felt like this book got me or how I feel half the time. It was basically perfectly perfect.

P.S. I Like You is about Lily, a self-proclaimed weird girl from a big family. She doesn’t really fit in with people and is very awkward in her own eyes. She has her best friend Isabel and a great family so that is all she needs. But when Lily gets bored in chemistry class and jots down lyrics to a song things change for her. All of a sudden someone writes back and Lily is opened to the possibility that she isn’t as alone as she thinks. Soon she is exchanging personal letters with a mystery boy and she is falling for him. However when Lily realizes who she is writing to she has to figure out just exactly what it is she is looking for.

I could sit here and split apart my review like I do. I could tell you about the plot (action) and the setting (background) but this book is amazing because of what the characters bring to the setting and the plot. Lily, Cade, Isabel and Lily’s whole family are what made this book what it was for me and I want to focus on that love.

The thing about Lily is that she is so completely relatable. She is awkward and weird and doesn’t know what to say a lot of the time. She is basically all of us. Lily finds that she can communicate so much more easily when she is writing things and that is how I think a lot of us feel. It is easy to say things when you are putting “on paper” and not face to face. Her interactions with some of the boys made me cringe and giggle and made me feel like I was her. She is amazing. Honestly I don’t know what I liked to read about more, her back and forth banter with Cade, her awesome friendship with her bestie that accepted her for who she was, or her with her family. They were all these parts of Lily that made up her whole person and I just loved it.

Seriously though Lily’s family was the bees knees and I so want them to adopt me. They were so chaotic and not perfect and just people. How can you not fall in love with that crew? They reminded me a lot of my house on Thanksgiving. You honestly never know what will happen which makes it entertaining to say the least. In total though they were just a great support system for Lily. No really, can they adopt me?

All I can really tell you is I was left swooning and smiling and wanting to be a part of Lily’s life. It was everything I wanted in a Kasie West book and maybe even more. She nailed it and it was utterly fantastic.

P.S. Read It!

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Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend – Kasie West

I’m attempting to switch up my review style. Welcome to my first attempt at My ABCs of the Book. Let me know what you think about it and if you would change anything. I’m trying to keep it fresh as writing reviews can get stale if you don’t try something new.

Review: The Fill-In Boyfriend – Kasie WestThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by HarperCollins
Published: May 5th 2015
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four-stars

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review

One sitting. That’s how long it took me to read The Fill-In Boyfriend. Once I started it I couldn’t bring myself to stop. It was quintessentially Kasie West. It was light and fun, but also had a depth to it.

The Fill-in Boyfriend has the feel of a great teen movie. It kind of falls into line with films like Drive Me Crazy, Whatever it Takes and She’s All That. It’s the story of Gia, a high schooler that is dumped by her college aged boyfriend in the parking lot of her prom. Trying to save face Gia finds a random boy in the parking lot just reading a book. She convinces him to pose as her now ex-boyfriend. However when the night ends things grow more complicated than Gia and the fill-in ever imagined. Instead of saving face Gia may have made things worse between her and her friends and she may just be falling for the boy that was only supposed to be around temporarily.

action
I love this kind of story a lot. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good teen movie. Everything in this plot flowed nicely too which is why it was easy to read in one sitting. There wasn’t one point that I was bored or wanted the skip ahead because nothing was happening. The plot/action was well developed and well executed in a Kasie West kind of way.

backdrop
I love all the places this book used as a setting. It had a very easy laidback feel. An ice cream shop, the car on a road trip, a back yard graduation party; it all added to the vibe of the book which to me was a perfect summer read. Each place played an import role in telling Gia’s story and made the book easy to follow along with and to help get you attached to the characters.

characters
The characters are what made this book for me. Gia was such a typical, insecure high school girl that thought a lot about what her friends think of her (which let’s face it, we all did and still do). Having her meet the “fill-in” and get to know him and his family and his friends really helped her grow as a person. Plus “fill-in”…adorable! He brought out a really good side of Gia, a side that wasn’t obsessed with appearances. And she brought out a good side of him too. Plus his sister was awesome. I will say I didn’t like Gia’s brother or some of her friends, but it wasn’t so much that it took away from the story.

finalKasie West has done it again. She took a story that has been told and made it fun and entertaining. She wrote a book with a smart story, excellent setting and the right characters. Everything just fit into place and kind of clicked which is a testament to Kasie’s writing. I definitely recommend this one. I mean after all, I haven’t met a Kasie West book I haven’t loved.

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pivot split onthefence distance

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