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Review: By Your Side

Review: By Your SideTitle: By Your Side
Author(s): Kasie West
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 346 (Paperback)
Source: Own
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

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.

My Thoughts

I decided to read By Your Side because I needed a fluffy romance, but I got more than I bargained for.

I found I had so much in common with Autumn. Not so much my high-school self, but my current self because of her anxiety disorder. I suffer from depression and anxiety and it’s amazing how much your body plots against you. West did such a great job of showing that in Autumn. I almost wonder if she or someone she knows has an anxiety disorder.

I also loved watching Autumn and Dax together. I loved watching their friendship blossom and it turn into more.

This has happened with both contemporary novels I’ve read by Kasie West. The novels start out so-so. I like them, but I think I’ll only give them three stars. But by the end of the novel, I’ve fallen in love with the characters and the story that I can’t help give the book five stars. I now wonder if this will happen with all her books. I guess there’s only one way to find out.

Review: The Joy Luck Club

Review: The Joy Luck ClubTitle: The Joy Luck Club
Author(s): Amy Tan
Genre(s): Contemporary
Pages: 288 (Paperback)
Source: Own
For: Play Book Tag
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

In 1949, four Chinese women, recent immigrants to San Francisco, begin meeting to eat dim sum, play mahjong, and talk. United in shared loss and hope, they call themselves the Joy Luck Club. With wit and wisdom, Amy Tan examines the sometimes painful, often tender, and always deep connection between these four women and their American-born daughters. As each reveals her secrets, trying to unravel the truth about her life, the strings become more tangled, more entwined...

My Thoughts

I read The Joy Luck Club because the topic for this month for my Goodreads PBT group is Asia.

The Joy Luck Club was a very interesting read. I especially enjoyed reading the mothers’ stories and their hardships in China and how they came to the US. I actually wish the book would’ve focused more on them and their time in China.

I also enjoyed the nods to Chinese and Chinese-American culture. I learned quite a bit while reading The Joy Luck Club. It was interesting that even though the mothers joined a Christian church upon their arrival in the US, they retained some of their Buddhist beliefs throughout their lives.

I also found it interesting to see the differences between the mothers and the daughters. Because of the American culture around the daughters, the daughters couldn’t help but grow up American. Yet, I thought the mothers would’ve taught their children more about their culture. The daughters could understand Chinese, but they couldn’t speak it very well nor could they read or write the characters.

While I found the book interesting, I found the characters to be a little flat. Their voices were similar and the only reason I could tell each of them a part was because each of their stories were different. And, as I said, I would’ve rather the book focused more on the mothers and their hardships in China than on their life in the US with their daughters. For these reasons, I’m only giving The Joy Luck Club three stars.

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Review: A Wrinkle in Time

Review: A Wrinkle in TimeTitle: A Wrinkle in Time
Author(s): Madeleine L'Engle
Series: A Wrinkle in Time #1
Genre(s): Fantasy, Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Pages: 256 (Paperback)
Source: Own
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

When Meg and Charles Wallace Murry and Calvin O'Keefe learn that Mr. Murry has been captured by the Dark Thing, they time travel to Camazotz, where they must face the leader IT in the ultimate battle between good and evil--a journey that threatens their lives and our universe.

My Thoughts

I decided to read A Wrinkle in Time before the movie release since I had never read it. I knew it was fantasy and I knew it had to do with darkness and light, but I don’t know what I was expecting because this wasn’t it.

I enjoyed the fantasy and science aspect of the story. In fact, that is probably what I liked most about the story. Well, that and Charles Wallace, the 5-year-old brother of the main character Meg. I enjoyed reading about wrinkling/tessering. And, I loved the mix of fantasy/science with religion. I thought that was rather unique.

What I didn’t like is Meg. She was so annoying and unless I can connect with the main character, I don’t usually fare all that well with the book. I’m not one of those readers that like books with unlikable characters just for the sake of the plot and character development.

I also didn’t like how short the book is. Without the introduction, afterword, acknowledgements, etc., the story is only 203 pages. I know this is meant for children, but I feel like this book could’ve been fleshed out so much more. I felt like the characters, other than the main three, were very one-dimensional. View Spoiler » I also have so many unanswered questions that I feel could’ve been answered with a longer book. View Spoiler »

Overall, I liked the story and I’ll continue the series at some point, but I don’t feel like the book lived up to the hype.

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Review: On the Fence

Review: On the FenceTitle: On the Fence
Author(s): Kasie West
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 296 (Paperback)
Source: Borrowed
For: Personal Interest
Rating:
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Synopsis from Goodreads

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.

My Thoughts

I borrowed On the Fence from my friend Suey over a year ago. 😳 I know, right?! I decided it was high time I read it and, boy, am I glad I did! I finished it in two sittings!

I adored On the Fence! It is the first 5-star read of the year. Heck, it’s the first new 5-star read of the last two years! It’s a new favorite. I loved the relationship that Charlie had with Braden and watching it build from friendship into something more. Friendship to romantic relationships are the best!

I also loved watching Charlie discover herself. She’d only ever known herself in one way before. Once she was thrown in all these difference social situations, she wasn’t sure who she was. She discovered she could be herself and a little more girly at the same time.

View Spoiler »

Anyway, I’m glad I read On the Fence and I wish I had read it sooner. I look forward to reading more books by Kasie West.