By Your Side – Kasie West

I’ve always been a fan of Kasie West and she’s one of my go-to laid back contemporary authors who’s books I fly through and her new novel wasn’t any different. As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I was instantly drawn in, it’s a contemporary romance set in a library, that’s a book lovers dream. I was surprised then to find out that we got a lot more from this book than just a cute romance set in a library, we dealt with mental illness, child neglect, friendship, and trust.

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. 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?

Like most of West’s books, the storyline was filled with cute and romantic scenes as well as humour and it was refreshing to see her focus more on mental illness but in a real and genuine way as it wasn’t glossed over but instead presented in a serious and relatable way. Kasie takes things slow, giving Autumn and Dax a fair chance to find reasons why to fall in love, ones that exclude physical attraction and I enjoyed slowly uncovering their secrets and backgrounds.

If you’re a fan of Morgan Matson, Stephanie Perkins or just looking for a cute, relaxing read then this and many other of West’s books will be perfect for you. Plus like I’ve already mentioned this isn’t your typical contemporary and I appreciated the fact that it addressed lots of different elements such as mental health in a proper and realistic way.

Amy and Rodgers Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

I know, I know another Morgan Matson book but she is seriously one of my favourite contemporary authors and in the summer I love to read as much contemporary as I possibly can! Being a Morgan Matson book, I knew it was going to be cute and heartbreaking and that is exactly what I got! I have to admit I got very excited to learn that the protagonists name is Amy and I instantly fell in love with her, I’m still waiting for my Rodger to whisk me away on a road trip!

This book follows the story of Amy, who has to drive her mothers car across country after her mother decided to move but the only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn’t ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip – and has plenty of baggage of his own.

Matson was able to create not only an intricate plot, but she also made you want to read more. I couldn’t but this book down! Not only is the storyline beautiful and heartfelt but so is the book itself with pictures and tickets which helps make it look more like a scrapbook which I loved and plus I’m always a sucker for Matson playlists as well!

Matson’s characters are always something I look forward to reading about as they are all so easy to fall in love with especially Amy and Roger who were such likeable characters; you just can’t help rooting for them. I seriously need more of them. Their character development was another aspect I enjoyed as both Amy and Roger came such a long way in overcoming their fears, grief and other obstacles. She goes in deep within their back story and helps us understand them better. Even though the book is written from Amy’s perspective, we still end up knowing and understanding Roger.

My only issue with this book is the fact that you don’t find out what happens after the road trip, it just ended and I need more! But the ending was just perfect and it just shows how far Amy came while on the road trip. It’s clear that I loved this book and it’s easy to award it 5/5 and recommend to anyone looking for a cute and easy read! 

The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson

This has to be one of my all time favourite contemporary reads as it was just so darn cute and I wouldn’t expect anything less from Morgan Matson! Every aspect of this book was wonderful from it’s loveable characters to romantic storyline which I instantly fell in love with. This book made me laugh and cry and it made my heart flutter with just how cute it was! It was addictive. Plus I forgot to mention there are puppies too!

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks). But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

I think the characters have to be my favourite aspect of this book and I’m not surprised as it is so easy to fall in love with all of Morgan Matson’s characters. Andie, was a brilliant protagonist and I loved seeing her develop and open herself to new possibilities and people. Can I have someone like Clark in my life, please? He is literally the perfect boyfriend and as soon as we found out he was an author I freaked out and fell even more in love with him. The idea of him being an author I thought was really unique and I also enjoyed watching everyone fall in love with his work and fangirling about it as well especially Andie’s Dad and Tom. Matson also really knows how to develop her romances because just them holding hands for the first time left my heart beating too damn fast and I felt like their relationship was more realistic and not insta-love especially after the first date disaster.

I appreciated the fact that this story wasn’t just about romance but instead it was also about friendship, family and personal development and I thought that was really unique and different. The ending as well was just so cute and again I liked that everything didn’t end in a happily ever after as just shows how people can change and the struggles of friendship. Also also, a ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ reference showed up as well as many others from her other books which just made me freak out even more and made my heart lighter and my cheeks hurt from smiling too much.

Finally, the message of this book to live life in the moment really inspired me and I hope in the future I can be more spontaneous and live in the moment too. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am easily going to give this book 5/5 stars as it is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I will definitely be recommending it to all my friends and followers!

On The Fence – Kasie West

Kasie West never fails to make me fall in love with her writing, story and characters as they are all just so cute.’On The Fence’ was a lovely and easy read which only took me a couple of days to read, I only wish there was more of it *hint hint*. Once again her characters were unique yet down to earth and relatable which I really enjoyed and it was very easy to fall in love with all of them!

‘On The Fence’ follows the story of sixteen year old Charlie, who can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows thanks to her three brothers but when it comes to being a girl Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers.

Like I’ve already mentioned I loved every single character, especially her brothers who were all really understanding and cool and I loved all the banter between them! My favourite had to be Gage as he was the brother who understood her the most and couldn’t keep a secret from her as well as being the one she would seek advice from and to. To some extent I could relate to Charlie, as I love sports, I’m never one for skirts or dresses and don’t have much knowledge of make up etc. so it was nice to be able to relate to a character for once. 

In my opinion, Braden was the perfect match for Charlie. He was understanding and he always knew what to say as he would tell her to date a guy that would like her for who she really is and not for who she is pretending and trying to be and to find a guy that enjoys the things she enjoys; and he was the answer. He was the one that would go to his front yard and talk to Charlie at midnight and from these chats we learned that he was the one who knew her better than she knew herself.

The storyline was cliche and predictable but I didn’t mind that because at the time I was only looking for something cute and fun to read and that is exactly what I got from this book. All the events in the book were cleverly linked with simple and heartfelt writing you could easily go along with and I really enjoyed reading from Charlie’s POV but I would have loved to have seen some scenes from the POV of Braden.

In conclusion, it was a perfect summer read which was easy and cute read which I recommend to all those who are looking for something light and fluffy to read! I would probably give it 4/5 stars because it was such a lovely read but when I compared it to other contemporary books it just wasn’t as good.

 

What I Thought Was True – Huntley Fitzpatrick

I received this book Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

I was so glad I received this book as I really enjoyed her first book ‘My Life Next Door’ and the storyline for this book sounded really good! I was expecting a light summery read but instead I got something a lot more as it mature but also quite dark and includes various different themes like sex, regrets, morals and family which I thought was really interesting!

Gwen Castle, your typical quite island girl who wants nothing more than a quite summer but things get complicated when Cassidy Somers, the rich kid from Stony Bay takes a job on the island as the local yard boy. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is. This push and pull romance is certainly different contemporary and covers some interesting issues.

Character wise, I really liked Gwen, she was different. She had made stupid mistakes and was ashamed with herself as well as being hurt by the people around her and I found her really real and human! Her family I loved too, every family member was different but again they felt like a real family with serious family issues. I fell in love with Cass as well! He’s such a gentleman and a very genuine guy who I wish was really. He get’s along really well with Emory and you can clearly see that he loves Gwen and really cares for her too.

My only negatives are that I felt this book dragged on a bit and at times nothing really happened but when things did happen they were pretty dramatic! There were also a couple of flashbacks in the story and I felt that sometimes these weren’t very clear and I got quite confused whether or not they were flashbacks!

Overall, I rate this book 4/5 stars as it was a unique and mature contemporary which I really enjoyed and I look forward to reading more of her books. If you haven’t yet read her first book ‘My Life Next Door’ then you can check out my review here!

 

My Life Next Door – Huntley Fitzpatrick

I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for a honest review.

This book was so cute! I loved all of its character especially little George who just melted my heart and it’s cheesy (but the right amount of cheese) storyline.

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

The storyline was wonderful; It was romantic, funny, sweet and dramatic. I knew there was going to be a plot twist but I wasn’t expecting what actually happened and I thought that it was a really clever idea which not only made the characters think but we as the reader too. Plus it was a really easy read which I whizzed through in no time.

Every character was perfect in my eyes and I didn’t think I disliked any character (apart from Clay he was an arse).  Sam’s character development was fab and I really liked how we saw her go out of her comfort zone and was able to be happy and free! She stands up for herself and the people she cares about when it counts most, she thinks independently from her main influence in life (in this case, her mother) in a way that is smart and not just teenage rebellion.

Jase is certainly one of the sweetest and kindest characters ever! And his relationship with Sam was loving, enjoyable and a relationship everyone dreams of having. They were responsible with everything they did, as I really liked that, especially when they were exploring their sexuality which I though was really important for readers.The wit, humour and banter between these characters was another aspect I really enjoyed and I thought the condom conversation was priceless!

Tim is another character who at first I thought was a total idiot but instead he went from looser to saviour and by the end of the book was another one of my favourite characters. The Garrett’s in general were brilliant especially George who never failed to make me smile and laugh; he was just a bundle of joy who I loved reading about. 

The only reason I give this book 4.5 stars instead of 5/5 was because of the ending as I felt it was really sudden and that it didn’t wrap everything up but that didn’t stop it from being an enjoyable read!

Overall, it was an enjoyable and easy read which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If your looking for something cute, romantic and easy to read then this book is perfect for you!

The Distance Between Us – Kasie West

As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew it would be a cute and loveable contemporary which I would enjoy! And I did. Kasie West is now another one of my favourite contemporary authors along with Morgan Matson and Stephanie Perkins.

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers is just a typical teenage girl who spends most of her time working for the family business. That is until she meets Xander Spence, a charming, smart and oozing rich boy who is one of the only people who understands her. But if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

I liked the fact that the book wasn’t completely centred around romance. Yes, there was still a lot of romance but there was also a lot of other underlying themes like Caymen’s relationship with her mother and her mothers relationship with her parents. I thought Caymen’s relationship with her mother was so sweet and it was nice to see that she really cared for her mother but at the same time she begins to form here own opinion on matters and strays away from her mothers bias.

Kasie West on the other hand also writes the type of romance I love to read. It’s not cheesy or over the top. It’s not unbelievable or unrealistic. It doesn’t make you roll your eyes or make your head collide with a wall from frustration. It’s just cute. Caymen’s relationship with Xander was perfect and the banter between them never failed to make me smile. Their ‘career days’ were also really cute and I loved after each one we learned something new about one of the characters. Caymen’s sarcasm was another thing I really enjoyed however I can see why some don’t like it as it very intense and repetitive at times.

The only negative I have about this book was the ending. It just ended. I feel like it needs a sequel or just a few extra pages informing us of what happened to the shop, Caymen’s mother and how all the different relationships panned out.

Overall, I really enjoy this book as not only was it a easy it, it was also cute and loveable! I rate it 4/5 stars, just because of the ending but apart from that it was fab!

Girl Online: On Tour – Zoe Sugg

I firstly have to apologise to my parents who, I think, were going to buy this book for me for Christmas, ooopps… I couldn’t wait that long, I had to pre-order it, so I got it on the day it was released and I have absolutely no regrets, it was fantastic!

For those who don’t know, this is the second instalment of books written by highly successful Youtuber Zoe Sugg or ‘Zoella’. The first book was just so cute and I loved it so much I believe I finished it in a day! If you haven’t read the first book I would suggest reading my previous blog post for Girl Online which I will link HERE because I don’t want to spoil anything that happens in the first book! Anyways, this book continues Penny and Noah’s story as their relationship blossoms as does Noah’s music career. At the end of Penny’s GCSE exams Noah invites her onto his European tour as he is the opening act for famous band The Sketch, and with two whole weeks with her “Rock-God” boyfriend and the perfect way to end the evil that is the exam period, of course Penny says yes!

This is just such a lovely feel good book, it’s been a while since I read a good contemporary book so it was so nice to be thrown back into such a happy story where I just wish I could have been a part of somehow! In my notes I have described it as like a cosy blanket as it just makes you feel all warm and cosy with its cuteness and adorable moments where you can’t help but just squeal a little bit and flap your hands because you can’t handle the adorableness of it! I’m starting to word vomit a bit but this is what this book does to you!

The characters in this book are just fab! I LOVED some of the new characters like Larry the security guard and Leah, they were just so good with Penny and they had such a lovely, friendly relationship with Penny and of course Elliot remains fabulous, I just loved it! Also the character of Penny was such a good narrator, a relatable normal girl thrown into an extra-ordinary situation, just fab! Now onto Noah, what girl wouldn’t love Noah? His romantic gestures would have anyone swooning! However, I have to admit, some of the things he did I was wanted to slap him and yell “WAKE UP!” because he could be a little clueless at times!

Although this book was quite predicable, I found myself predicting most of the things that were going to happen, but in a way I didn’t mind that because there is something fun about trying to figure out what’s going to happen and when I was right I made a smug face and felt like an intelligent detective! However there were somethings that I was VERY wrong about which I also sincerely enjoyed because the surprise of being wrong is even better and I genuinely wasn’t expecting it and to be honest it did give me a little shock! (Although I’m fairly sure the more intelligent folks would have figured it out but I certainly didn’t!).

I truly enjoyed this book and I felt that it was a good continuation of the story! I also really hope that there will be a third book because I need more Penny and Noah in my life! I’m going to give this book a 5 out of 5 stars because of my sheer enjoyment of the story. Good job Zoe!

Second Chance Summer – Morgan Matson

This book made me feel so many emotions from laughter to sadness. I cried so much at this book that I had to stop reading it at points because I was crying so much. Morgan Matson has always been one of my favourite contemporary authors and I look forward to reading more her books especially ‘Amy and Rodgers Epic Detour’ which has been sitting on my self for ages!!

One of the things I loved about this that it was still a romantic contemporary with heartbreak and love but at the same time it also emphasised the importance of family and friendship. The bond Taylor has with her father is beautiful and their cute little breakfast meetings, truly made me think about me and my family and how in the blink of an eye it can all be taken away from you. Like I said, friendship also plays a huge role in the book and it showed that your friends are so important and they are always their to help. The balance between relationships was perfectly done and it was nice to see that romance wasn’t the main priority.

Taylor’s character development is another one of the reasons I loved this book. Seeing her mature and grow up and realise what she did was wrong, and how she came to truly understand what “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times” truly means was something I really enjoyed. I think we experience that sensation in life more often than we think and it’s important to understand how a lot of things in life can be bittersweet. It’s okay to experience so much sadness and so much happiness at the same time and maybe it’s the balance of the two that keeps us going.

Henry. His relationship with Taylor did so many things to my heart, i think it nearly exploded! It’s full of complications and history but I really liked that because it showed that they had to work for something and put all of those memories and mistakes behind them. And I love that we were reminded of something important about relationships – that choosing to take a chance on one is always going to be a risk, even when you think you know the other person well. It also helps that I practically swooned over all their moments together, since a lot of things that Henry said and did were so, so lovely.

I also loved Taylor’s family. They were so genuine and we saw them all come together and support each other in the difficult times they had which links back to me saying how much I loved Matson’s stress on the importance of family. I also loved her siblings different personalities from Warren being fact mad and always sharing new information to little Gelsey who was just so cute!

Matson takes you on an emotional ride right from the beginning of the book till the very last chapter. She brings us to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We experience all the heartbreak, all the romance, all the friendship and all the. The depth to her characters really makes us connect more to them making their story all so much meaningful and powerful. We begin to care about what happens to them as well as beginning to feel some of their emotions. I will never forget the final few chapters of this book – heartbreakingly beautiful and, hands down, one of the best endings ever.

Overall, it is easy to award this book 5/5 stars and I really do recommend that you read it but do be prepared to cry a lot! It is a beautiful story complete with equally beautiful characters who you begin to love and connect with. I also recommend you check out more of Morgan Matson’s books as they are funny, cute and just fab!

Every Day – David Levithan

I WISH I HAD READ THIS SOONER! This book has literally been sitting on my bedside table for about six months just gathering dust, then there was me saying, ‘yeah I’ll read it eventually’ but it took a holiday to make me actually read it, so if you were in the same position as I was PLEASE READ IT!!

This book is about A. A wakes up in a different body each day, a different face, different family, different story. A had the same set of rules his/her whole life, stick to the status quo, don’t alter this person’s life too much. That is until he/she wakes up in the body of Justin a normal guy who doesn’t really care much about anything. However Justin has a girlfriend named Rhiannon, although A is only in Justin’s body for 24 hours, Rhiannon makes quite the impact. From then on A does everything he/she can to see Rhiannon again but being in a different body each day could make things slightly problematic.

Now you’ll notice this book is rather different from other books, mainly because the main protagonist doesn’t have a definite gender, A can be male or female, to him/her there is no difference. I guess A has a point but I couldn’t help but see A as more male than female, it was more of a subconscious decision than a conscious one… Nonetheless, the gender ‘merge’ for A was really refreshing and new that really suits the 21st century especially with all the new progress the LGBT community has created, trying to emphasise the fact that male or female, gender shouldn’t matter and shouldn’t hold as many restraints as it, unfortunately, does. I think some people could learn a thing or two from this book.

This book was very different from anything I have ever read before and in some aspects it’s very hard to relate to because it’s quite difficult to understand A’s position (for obvious reasons). Yet there are also very familiar parts that are relatable for many of us, mainly being young and having to deal with teenage issues. One moment you only feel sympathy for A but then without really realising it you start to feel empathy instead.

One thing I loved about this book was that it was so diverse, each chapter was a new person with a completely different story; you could never get bored. One chapter A is a popular jock, and the next chapter A could be a vulnerable, suicidal girl it was like reading a new book each chapter. Never have I read a book where I get to experience so many stories and so many points of view, I loved it. Because of its diversity this book became rather difficult to predict, I never knew who A would be next or what he/she would have to experience, I also had no idea how it would end. I’m not going to lie, the ending tricked me, I was not expecting what happened, but I loved it! It was fab! But one thing I would LOVE is a sequel?? Is there a sequel because if there is I would be all over that! I’m going to award this book a 5 out of 5 stars, I loved this book; it was full of everything a good book should contain!