A little while ago I was lucky enough to receive a copy of By Your Side by Kasie West and I absolutely adored it, so last month I departed on a path through quite a few of her books. So here are my thoughts and feelings on her works, and my excitement for her upcoming book.
Title: The Distance Between Us
Genre: Romance, YA
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s 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 Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.
She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty 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. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.
I quite enjoyed this novel. It is an interesting take on the old school trope of the rich “saving” the poor, in that it turns it on its ass. I won’t go into details because I don’t believe in spoilers.
I will let you know that Caymen is a character with a lot of strength, that the romance in this book is not overly schmoopy and that I read it so quickly I immediately went back and read it again.
Xander is a character that is more insecure than he seems, but with a certain charm and wit about him.
This is a story about family, and how sometimes even when we know them we can’t always know them as much as we should, or as deeply as we should.
This is good for anyone wanting a quick read, who likes rags to riches stories, but wants something with a little bit of a different ending for that familiar trope.
Title: On the Fence
Genre: YA, Romance, Hurt/Comfort
For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. 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. Even stranger, she’s spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.
To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can’t solve Charlie’s biggest problem: she’s falling for Braden. 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.
This book deals a lot with heartbreak, and the unhealthy ways in which we sometimes deal with it.
Charlie has had her heart broken in one of the worst ways a child possibly can, by losing a parent in a truly shocking way, and she doesn’t even know the half of it. Despite that she is a character who possesses a lot of strength, and really is, as much as she can be, the heart of her family. Both the family she is born into and the family they’ve found for her.
In this book she finds her own independence from that life though, because it can be slightly stifling.
Braden is dealing with a different type of family issue, and is brave in the face of it, and oh so lovely.
A good read.
Title: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Genre: YA, Romance
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.
This is the good that had me emanating some of the most high pitched, dolphin noise style reactions to a book that I’ve had in a long time.
This book contains so much I love, because to be honest I love romance so much. It’s my escape from the world more than sci-fi or even fantasy has been for me. Because it so resembles our world but it’s a happier version of it.
Gia seems like a superficial character, but she doesn’t want to be, not anymore. She is learning how to be more.
Fill-In Bradley (his name itself is a spoiler) is an utter sweetheart, who is stuck in a rut a little bit. And maybe he just needs someone to break him out of it, which is definitely what happens here.
This book is fun, and makes me want to snuggle down and read.
Title: P.S I Like You
Genre: Romance, YA
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…
This book is my jam. If a book, can in fact be my jam. If so this is it and I would like to see someone try to dispute it. Because there’s a lot of music in this book.
Now that I’ve pretty much entirely stopped making sense I’ll try to make some and review this novel with the dedication and flailing that it deserves.
I love letter writing, and novels with letter writing in them. I love mysteries (though this one was not a hard one to figure out). I love romance, and this book has all of those things within it.
Kasie West’s writing, and the feel-good emotions within it have improved through time and this novel is a reflection of it. It’s a fluffy, wonderful, smile creating book that had me squeeing a time or two.
Title: Lucky in Love
Genre: YA, Romance
Can’t buy me love…
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—
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?
This book had me shaking my head quite a bit. Mainly at the irresponsibility of the main characters family who seem to have no desire to teach their teenager daughter how you should learn how to manage money.
Spoiler alert: You don’t manage money very well if you buy yourself a sports car and rent a yacht just to throw a party, and hire a really bad band to play at it.
Like jeez, I spent more time during this book shaking my head and wanting to give Maddie a talking to then enjoying the burgeoning romance.
Its an interesting read, and I am glad I read it, if only because I do love Kasie West and want to support her career.
Title: Love, Life and the List
Genre: Romance, YA, contains resolutions of a kind (the NYE type)
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 am just going to say it right out. Abby is a great character and quite frankly she deserved better than how Cooper treated her. He’s pretty much an arrogant jerk. I want to like him, for the glimpses of support and friendship you see shining through but there’s no way a guy like that does not know what he’s doing.
That being said, I love the theme of this novel. Of self love, and changing to become something more than what you are. Of stepping out and experiencing more of life.
I also can’t resist books about artists. I don’t know why. I’m not really an artist but I am a person who appreciates art and the process.
Her family dynamic is also heart-wrenching in a way that I am sure is real so so many people.
This book was pretty solid when it came to the true main character. A book to pick up for sure.
So there you have it, my thoughts on Kasie West, I can’t wait to read the rest of her books, especially the one coming out this month. So look forward to my thoughts on Listen to Your Heart in about 9 days or so because that is a book I have definitely pre-ordered.