Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

by your sideBy Your Side
by Kasie West
January 31st 2017
Harper Teen
346 pages
Contemporary / Young Adult / Romance

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?

Rating: C – Okayed

It took some effort to actually come up with things that I did like on this book. Not that this book is horrible. It’s just a little too bland for me.

What I Liked

The anxiety disorder. It’s good that this was given a highlight on this book. In fact, I do think this was given more emphasis than the actual romance.

A light read. Overall, it’s a light, fluffy, romance contemporary. In other words, it’s an easy read which is totally fine but it fell short on the romance. That can be a good thing if you’re the type that prefers the subtle love in the air and not the cheesy stuff.

The library setting. My second favorite place in the world! Next to my bed obviously. Woot! Woot! On the same note, it’s just hard to believe that they got stuck in a freaking library. Like how? Usually, someone checks the entire place before locking down and like, there’s no way they couldn’t have found the public computers or the landline phones. I mean – emergency exits exist for a reason, don’t they? I was literally shaking my head the entire time.

What I Didn’t Like

Dull. I’ll say it again. If I was asked to describe this book, I would say drab. Boring. Lackluster.

Dax. I couldn’t read his character. What was really his impression of her? Does he really like her? How is he really as a person? Maybe he was just written to be that way – a little off, mysterious loner.

Autumn. This is just a personal perspective but I do hate it when people play with other people’s emotions. Maybe it wasn’t Autumn’s intention but it felt like along those months she was on and off flirting with Jeff, teasing him, she could’ve already ended things with him. Knowing that she couldn’t handle her disorder and her feelings for him weren’t even that strong enough. For me, that’s being hoggish. And for what? A cheap shot for a love triangle?

The underdeveloped plot. The snowed-in trope is nothing new. After all, it’s the easiest way to trap two individuals into isolation. There’s just so many things that could’ve happened while Dax and Autumn were having their own little world to themselves. The plot could totally use some work.

By Your Side is definitely not Kasie West’s best work.


Review: Lost Girl by Chanda Hahn

lost-girlLost Girl
by Chanda Hahn
Neverwood Chronicles #1
December 13th 2016
320 pages
Fantasy / Retellings / Young Adult / Romance

Wendy doesn’t remember anything about Neverland—or the experiments done on her there as a child. Seven years later, all she wants is a normal life, but shape-shifting shadows plague her dreams and turn her life into a waking nightmare. When the shadows attack at a football game and a boy disappears right in front of her, she realizes these wraith-like shadows are real. They’re not just haunting—they’re hunting.
A mysterious boy named Peter, his foul-mouthed sidekick, and a band of misfit boys intervene before Wendy faces a similar fate. But can they trust Wendy enough to take her to Neverwood Academy and reveal all of their hidden secrets when she’s hiding a secret of her own, or will the dreaded Red Skulls find her and drag her back to Neverland?

Rating: C – Okayed

What I Liked

A different twist. This is quite a twist from the old Peter Pan story I knew and loved. I got to give Lost Girl some props for that.

The romance. Weird – I know – but I’m shipping Peter and Wendy. There’s someone on the side but I won’t get ahead of myself and call him the love triangle.

A little The Mortal Instruments vibe. Neverwood instantly reminded me of the New York Institute and Peter was somehow playing the Jace. Maybe that’s another reason why I started liking the teenage Peter. I kinda like this new character to him.

What I Didn’t Like

The end. The ending is such a cliffhanger. I hate it because it felt like the whole story is back to square one.

The sequel. I hate to say this but I think it’s pointless for me to read the next book in the series. You’ve fooled me once. I can’t let you fool me twice. That’s coming from someone who isn’t a big fan of retellings.

Reachin’. The synopsis is really something. But for me, the plot is just so much of a reach into the YA genre. Making the characters suddenly teenagers is just ‘meh’. This would’ve been a more appropriate read for the younger adolescents instead.

To fans of retellings, Lost Girl should be the next read for you. I know there’s a whole lot of Peter Pan retellings out there but I quite think this one is one of a kind.

Review: Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey

anything-you-can-doAnything You Can Do
by R.S. Grey
February 2nd 2017
Kindle Edition
247 pages
Romance / Contemporary / New Adult / Adult / Chick Lit

Lucas Thatcher has always been my enemy.
It’s been a decade since I’ve seen him, but our years on opposite coasts were less of a lasting peace and more of a temporary cease-fire. Now that we’re both back in our small town, I know Lucas expects the same old war, but I’ve changed since high school—and from the looks of it, so has he.
The arrogant boy who was my teenage rival is now a chiseled doctor armed with intimidating good looks. He is Lucas Thatcher 2.0, the new and improved version I’ll be competing with in the workplace instead of the schoolyard.
I’m not worried; I’m a doctor now too, board-certified and sexy in a white coat. It almost feels like winning will be too easy—until Lucas unveils a tactic neither of us has ever used before: sexual warfare.
The day he pushes me up against the wall and presses his lips to mine, I can’t help but wonder if he’s filling me with passion or poison. Every fleeting touch is perfect torture. With every stolen kiss, my walls crumble a little more. After all this time, Lucas knows exactly how to strip me of my defenses, but I’m in no hurry to surrender.
Knowing thy enemy has never felt so good.

Rating: C – Okayed

Recently, I’m into nemesis-to-lovers trope – all thanks to The Hating Game by Sally Thorne which I totally adore so much that it went straight to my favorite romance reads. So I ended up recommending it to a good friend who recommended this book back.

What I Liked

The love hate relationship. This is one of my go-to romance tropes. If I’m in a reading slump and currently in the mood for something romantic, I make my way for this kind of books on my bookshelf. They almost always work. So this book was hard to pass for me.

The flavor of sweetness and sexiness. This is the kind of book that doesn’t disappoint because it meets your expectations. And what do you expect in a contemporary romance novel? Well, obviously some hot stuff and sweet nothings for you. The plot almost hit the right spot. Mind you, almost. The emails totally made me swoon!

The practice. It’s a plus for me that they’re both doctors because I don’t really meet a lot of contemporary romance or new adult characters that work in this field. Most of them are in corporate jobs – you know those men in Armani suits.

What I Didn’t Like

The first lovin’. In the wrong place at the wrong time.

Childish act. The main female character is a big joke to the point that, it felt like the male character had to redeem her at times. She was just petty.

This book was fun but I really can’t say that I enjoyed it that much. It met the basic requirements for it to be considered a good read but I guess, I just need something more.

Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

finding audreyFinding Audrey
by Sophie Kinsella
June 9th 2015
Delacorte Books for Young Readers
286 pages
Contemporary / Young Adult / Chick Lit

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

Rating: C – Okayed

Finding Audrey is 2015’s most awaited novel from Sophie Kinsella. So like anyone else who’s a complete fan of her, I had to have this book.

What I Liked

The family dynamics. This deserves the spotlight in this novel. They downright add hilarity in the whole novel which makes me adore them a bit too much. I actually have a personal bias with Frank, Audrey’s older brother. I just can relate to him in his teenage angst aspects. I got to admit that at first I was annoyed at their mom but I was glad that I got the chance to really understand where she’s coming from. We all, know that we all had that time when we go against our parents’ (especially our moms) wishes. It’s a good thing that at the end of the novel, things got better, not only for Audrey’s mental health but also for the family.

What I Didn’t Like

Kind of a clickbait. In my opinion, the summary was misleading. I thought the plot would really dwell on the technicalities that come with the social anxiety and depression but to tell the truth, it didn’t. The novel lacks details on that. I’m not entirely sure if that’s really a good thing or it just adds loopholes in the plot but this is supposed to be a fun read so I guess I just tolerated it. Actually, I don’t even know why I was expecting more given that the author was always known for her light, sweet, fun chicklit novels.

A little slow. It took me almost half of the book to really get into the story.

The ship. Of course, they were cute and I was quite delighted with their relationship. I can’t deny that Linus is the love interest that Audrey really needs but I’m just not sure I’m their biggest fan. They had their sweet moments and I oh-so-like them all but that’s just it. I’m just not shipping them.

As much as I adore Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret? my heart is not set out for this book. I know in my mind that this is a comic novel but in my opinion, Finding Audrey completely transverses the line of putting too much lightness and comedy in a very serious mental health issue.


Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

ugly loveUgly Love
by Colleen Hoover
August 5th 2014
Atria Books
Kindle Edition
337 pages
New Adult / Romance / Contemporary

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she doesn’t think it’s love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.
Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.
They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.
Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

Rating: C – Okayed

Ugly Love took me by surprise. I thought this was another Fifty Shades inspired book after watching the movie teaser off Youtube. I read some comments and I noticed that there’s quite a bunch of people complaining that the teaser’s quite different to the book. But it’s not the movie teaser that really piqued my interest, but the actor to play the main character *drum rolls, please*, Nick Bateman. I don’t know if you already know but on my previous post, I’ve mentioned my (huge) crush on him. I mean, this is Nick Bateman we’re talking about. How can I resist? So at about one in the morning, with an iced coffee by my side, I started reading Ugly Love and finished it in one sitting.

What I Liked

Class A writing. This book was beautifully written. That’s not something I’m going to question now.

What I Didn’t Like

Self-respect. I can’t see what she really saw in Miles aside from he’s a looker (but I get it, with Nick Bateman on my mind, I definitely get it). His looks screamed sex and consequently, that’s the only thing he can give and the only thing she can get and nothing else. Even though she believed she deserves better, she let herself sell short. Seriously, a bottle of self-respect for Tate won’t hurt. She definitely needed it for she was so obsessed with Miles for the wrong reasons.

Overly melodramatic. Miles is unmistakenly hot but he’s too unrealistically melodramatic. Yes, what he went through in the past was beyond hurtful but it’s been years, and though he was left broken, there must have been some time where he could’ve started to move on with his life. He should’ve gotten over himself. And I can’t endure with how he was so in love (actually I think he’s just obsessed which looks quite absurd given that he was not a 12-year-old boy when it all happened) with Rachel. Bleh.

Time jump. I’m not into the author’s continuous ‘jumping from past to present’ way of telling the story. I only want my flashbacks on the prologue. I can tolerate one or two within the chapters but more? Nope. That’s just my preference, though.

At first, I didn’t get what was so appealing about this book (even though my friends tried to convince me to read this and every other novel written by Colleen Hoover). I just didn’t get why they were so excited about the upcoming movie. I was apprehensive with Ugly Love, but in all honesty, now I finally get why there’s a book hype going on with this novel.