Book Review: Lucky in Love by Kasie West

Lucky in Love by Kasie West
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Source: Borrowed

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.

I’ve had the same TBR for like three years, so I decided that 2020 is my year. I’m going to read as many books from it as I can. I started with Lucky in Love by Kasie West. Now, I can go either way with her books. I loved The Distance Between Us and cringed all the way through Listen to Your Heart. I wasn’t sure which way this one would go, but I figured that her books are short and easy, so why not.


It turned out to be pretty bad, honestly.

The whole premise of this book is that newly eighteen-year-old Maddie has the worst birthday ever — her brother eats her birthday cereal (yeah, I don’t get it either), her parents take her out to eat and can’t afford the bill, her best friends all stand her up and don’t even come to her birthday party — so she goes out to a gas station and buys a lottery ticket on a whim. There’d be no book without her winning, so she’s suddenly $30 million richer.

She proceeds to do exactly what you might expect an eighteen-year-old high school student to do with $30 million. Waste it. Wildly. Illogically. Stupidly. I’m talking a Corvette, a yacht party, designer clothes, a diamond necklace, half a million to a relative she’s never met… the list goes on. Maddie, who once just wanted to do well in high school so she could get a scholarship to a good college, completely forgets about her classes and fixates on being popular. I was annoyed.

But what was possibly even more annoying than her wildly irresponsible wasting of money was her family. Was I supposed to empathize with any of these people?

  • A father who has sat at home, unemployed, for three years because he claims he can’t find a job? Right, I’m sure there are zero companies hiring in California. You might not be able to find a job in your field or a job making as much money as you want to be making, but you know what? Making something is better than making nothing. (And somehow his teenage daughter found a job with no experience so what’s his excuse??)
  • A mother who’s worked double shifts for years because her husband can’t be bothered to find employment? I should have been able to sympathize with her, but all she ever did was complain and argue and yell. And she has the audacity to ask her daughter, the new multi-millionaire, if she’ll be able to take care of them in the future after that daughter already gave them TWO MILLION DOLLARS and PAID OFF THEIR DEBTS? WHAT?
  • And don’t even get me started on the brother. (Really, I can’t even get into him without spoilers.)

The majority of the book is just Maddie spending money, Maddie angsting over whether to tell her love interest that she’s won the lottery, Maddie wondering if everybody who knows she won the lottery is using her for her money, and a romance that kind of feels like an afterthought.

I added a star because I appreciated that the love interest was Vietnamese and that there was a conversation about the very racist “no, where are you really from” question. I also liked the zoo. But overall? Definitely not recommended.

Have you read Lucky in Love? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Dating Disasters of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager

Dating Disasters of Emma Nash by Chloe Seager
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Online, you can choose who you want to be. If only real life were so easy…

Emma Nash may be down, but after months of wallowing, stalking her ex online and avoiding showering—because, really, who’s going to care?—Emma’s ready to own her newly single status, get out with her friends and chronicle her dating adventures on her private blog.

But life online doesn’t always run smoothly. Stumbling upon her mother’s Tinder dating profile, getting catfished and accidentally telling the entire world why her ex-boyfriend Leon’s not worth any girl’s…um…time… Okay, those were disasters.

But surely nothing else can go wrong?

Before I left for a ten-hour road trip, I impulsively chose six different audiobooks for the ride. I only ended up listening to two of them on the actual trip, but I made an effort to get through the rest after I got home. I want to preface my review by saying that I do not recommend the audiobook for this one. It’s written as a series of blog posts and I am like 99% sure that it makes more sense as a physical book.

First of all, the book is hilarious. It reminds me a lot of the British YA novels I loved in middle school, like Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicolson series and Cathy Hopkins’ Mates, Dates series. I probably would have liked this book a lot more as a younger teen than I did at my current age.

It’s not necessarily a bad book, but it’s basically just about the various dating disasters in Emma’s life (including her mother’s) and I like my books to have a little more substance than that these days. The pacing also felt really uneven and Emma was an incredibly annoying character.

A thing that also bothered me personally were the constant references to vomit throughout the entire book. That’s the one bodily fluid that I just cannot handle and it was constant. What was the point? Did it actually add anything to the plot? No, it was just gross.

I will give the book some bonus points for being one of the only YA books I’ve ever read to specifically reference female masturbation. It also has a nice message at the end about learning to be comfortable with yourself before trying to be with someone else and not replacing one boy with another just to avoid being single, but getting there is a hassle that I’m not entirely convinced was worth it.

#mm18: new or old

Have you read Dating Disasters of Emma Nash? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: AmazonTBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

I actually requested an ARC of this book at the beginning of the year and was denied because… that’s just what usually happens to me. After reading this book, I’m actually okay with it. This is going to be a very short review because the biggest emotion this book made me feel was disinterest.

Last year, I read (and actually enjoyed) The Distance Between Us. I am admittedly very hard on romance novels right now, and this one is no exception. I have four main complaints:

  • the whole book felt underdeveloped,
  • the characters were flat,
  • the plot was predictable,
  • and absolutely nothing happened.
None of that is to say that this is necessarily a bad book. It’s cute in that way that YA contemporaries usually are. It’s pretty low on the angst scale, although it’s ridiculously high on the misunderstanding and miscommunication scale. I expected something more than that, and just ended up being disappointed. Also, the synopsis gives away literally the entire plot.

#mm18: new or old

Have you read Listen to Your Heart? What’s the best romance you’ve read recently?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

Goodreads   Amazon

If Caymen Meyers’ mother has taught her anything, it’s that smooth talking rich boys are not to be trusted. All they’ll do is steal your heart and break it. She should know, after all. It happened to her. Caymen’s father was a rich boy, and he decided that he wanted nothing to do with her or her mother after he’d had his fun. So when Xander Spence walks into the family’s doll store, oozing wealth and privilege, Caymen’s dead-set on hating him. Too bad he’s so likable.

Xander is the first person in a long time that understands Caymen. He gets her dry wit and her sarcastic sense of humor. He knows what it’s like to not know what you want to do with your life, to just know that you want something different from what your parents hope for. And sure, Caymen’s hoping to get out of the doll store before one of them comes to life and murders her, while Xander doesn’t want to take over his family’s 500+ hotels, but it’s the same general idea.

Caymen isn’t looking for a boyfriend. Xander isn’t looking for a girlfriend. But they find themselves growing closer and closer together. Caymen knows that her mother wouldn’t approve. Secretly, she’s worried that Xander’s family wouldn’t approve of her, either. After all, he’s rich enough to get his face plastered all over tabloids. Her mother can barely pay their bills. But the two of them click, and the slow burn of their building attraction was just enough for me to fall in love.

This book was so cute and fluffy. It was the perfect thing to read after a long, stressful week at work. I started it late on a Friday night and didn’t want to put it down, but eventually, I had to give in and sleep. I did, however, pick it up first thing after I woke up on Saturday morning. I loved it.

I loved that there was no love triangle. Xander is not competing for Caymen’s affection. Caymen is not competing for Xander. They are just two people who unexpectedly become friends, and then unexpectedly become more. I loved Caymen’s friends and how supportive they were. I loved Caymen’s relationship with Mrs. Dalton, a regular at the shop who happens to be Xander’s grandmother. I loved Caymen and Xander’s excursions as they tried to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their lives. I think I was in the perfect mood to read this book. I enjoyed it so much.

It seems like everybody and their mother has read a book by Kasie West. When I flip through her titles, there’s a long list of my friends & following who’ve reviewed each of her books. For some reason, I never had much interest. I don’t know what I thought was wrong with them. Maybe just that, like many well-loved authors, I’d fail to catch the spark. I wouldn’t see what everybody else does. That I’d be disappointed. Well, much like 2016 was the first year that I read Morgan Matson, 2017 is the first year that I read Kasie West. And I’m hooked. Watch me check out all of her books from my library over the next week.

(I’m kidding. I have some ARCs to finish first. Maybe in the next two weeks.)

Final rating: ★★★★☆