Review – By Your Side by Kasie West

 

By Your Side

By Kasie West

SummaryWhen 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? 

Source: I purchased a kindle copy

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Review:

I enjoyed By Your Side. Like other Kasie West novels, it was a fun and short contemporary romance. I loved that it started out in a library and that it was a romance between two people who probably would’ve never crossed paths before. 

Autumn got stuck in a library when she ran into pee before going off with her friends for the weekend. Somehow, it seemed like she got lost in the shuffle because her friends didn’t come back for her. Dax, a guy from her high school ended up locked in the library, too, but he was a lot less freaked out and also had an overnight bag with him. Autumn didn’t know him very well, but just heard rumors about how he was trouble. 

Autumn had anxiety, but none of her friends knew. She was constantly thrown into crazy scenarios and parties with her friends and she found herself escaping to a quiet corner when she could. Probably how she ended up locked in the library without her friends looking for her. They were used to losing track of her. Dax, while he wasn’t very talkative or friendly, didn’t seem to mind that she had anxiety and was freaking out about being trapped in the library. He seemed to know exactly how to talk to her.

I loved By Your Side because it was all about not judging books by their covers and learning to be honest with yourself and your friends.

Star 4

Book Blogger Hop – August 18

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Book Blogger Hop

Hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

When you enter an unfamiliar house or apartment for the first time, do you feel disappointed if you don’t see any bookshelves, or books on the coffee table? 

(submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books)

Books.gif

 

For the most part, yes. 

Even if someone isn’t a big reader like I am, I feel like there should be some books in a house. 

I’m even more disappointed if I don’t see other hobby type of stuff. I feel like it’s okay to not be a reader, but you have to have some sort of hobby to stimulate your mind. If I see evidence of that, I’m less disappointed.  

Review – A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom of Fire #1) by Jessica Cluess

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom of Fire #1)

By Jessica Cluess

SummaryI am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves?

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Source: I purchased a hardcover.

Review:

 A Shadow Bright and Burning was full of magic and adventure. Henrietta possessed the power to use fire and it often ignited out of anger. Reports of the frequent fires led a sorcerer to check out her school to find the witch. She thought, based on the history of magical women, it was to execute or imprison the culprit for possessing magic. But it turned out to be about a prophecy of a young female sorcerer and she was the Chosen One. Or was she?

Henrietta struggled to fit in and train as a sorcerer and her life got pretty complicated as a result. 

I wish the story was as gorgeous as the cover, but for me, it fell short. It sounds so amazing and it’s one of those books that I didn’t enjoy, can’t really figure out why, and when I reread the synopsis, it makes me want to read the book, so what went wrong? I felt off for the entire story. I never really connected with Henrietta and so many of the scene changes just felt abrupt. So much happened and I never felt like I was fully introduced to everything. Henrietta was off doing lessons, exploring London on her own, making friends, making enemies, becoming an apprentice, and yet I felt bored and disconnected somehow. 

I think I expected a different style of writing to accompany the magic and setting and I just didn’t get it. It read more like a boarding school book than one of magic and London and wonder. 

I have an ARC of the sequel, so I’m likely to continue the story, but I’m not sure that I would if I didn’t feel obligated to. 

Star 3

Top Ten Tuesday – Book Recommendations

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Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Book Recommendations for 90’s Lovers

 

1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

2. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

3. Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

5. That Summer by Sarah Dessen

 

Review – Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh

 

Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)

By Renee Ahdieh

SummaryThe only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.


Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from my local library

Review:

Flame in the Mist has been compared to Mulan, but it takes place in Japan, not China, and aside from the girl dressing as a boy to fit into a group of boys, it’s an entirely different plot. It was clear that the author did her research while creating the setting and it was a gorgeous story full of magic and adventure that was rich in Japanese folklore and history. In many ways, her writing shined.

I enjoyed Flame in the Mist, but it was not without flaws. One of the biggest flaws was Mariko herself. She didn’t really do anything or have much of a purpose aside from a few scenes when she stood out as something more. Yet, throughout the story, we are constantly told how she’s so smart and ingenious. It was frustrating because she felt very much like a spectator. Every other character was so well fleshed out and interesting, but Mariko’s character felt flat.

I really enjoyed the plot. I even enjoyed the romance, though it seems it was hit or miss for many reviewers. I liked that it wasn’t the main focus, too. I also enjoyed the bigger conflict between the different groups. 

I wish the book had more of a focus, but I tend to blame Mariko because she never really admitted to herself about her intentions once she found the Black Clan and so the book sort of lost focus while she fit in with them. I was also a little disappointed by the amount of telling vs showing in the book. I didn’t get that sense at all from her other series, so I can’t help but feel that, if I’m comparing them, this book falls short of my expectations. It’s not nearly as good as The Wrath and the Dawn, but it was good and I’d continue reading, but I’m glad I didn’t buy the hardcover. 

Star 3

Book Blogger Hop – August 11

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Book Blogger Hop

Hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer

Do you participate in readathons and/or reading challenges? 

(submitted by Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte)

 

Yes! I love the POPSUGAR Reading Challenges that come out every year. 

I also set a Goodreads reading goal each year to challenge myself since I track all my books on Goodreads, anyway. 

See my challenges here and my progress halfway through this year here.

Review – Rant by Chuck Palahniuk

Rant

By Chuck Palahniuk

SummaryBuster “Rant” Casey just may be the most efficient serial killer of our time. A high school rebel, Rant Casey escapes from his small town home for the big city where he becomes the leader of an urban demolition derby called Party Crashing. Rant Casey will die a spectacular highway death, after which his friends gather the testimony needed to build an oral history of his short, violent life.

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Source: I purchased a paperback

Review:

Rant was weird. Obviously. 

It was told as an Oral History from multiple perspectives. 

It’s very difficult to review the book because I wasn’t really sure what I was reading for most of the book. Like any Chuck Palahniuk books, it was kind of gross, really weird, completely f’ed up, and made many jabs at society and human nature and people.

I mean, does anyone pick up a Chuck Palahniuk book for any other reason than to experience all of those things at once?

I kind of loved Rant, but it was annoying and frustrating and it took some help from the internet to figure out what the F I just read. But then I also appreciated how crazy it was. 

I think I might need to reread this one now that I know who everyone really is and how the time frames work. 

I don’t recommend this book because I can’t recommend any Chuck Palahniuk books to any strangers or friends because as soon as they open one they’d just assume I’m a deranged psychopath and never speak to me again. But if you’re already a fan, then sure, I recommend it.  

Star 3