Author Dedication!

Hi everyone! How’s your week been going so far? Get any good reading done this week? I’m currently reading Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsey Cummings; showing some support for our fellow book lovers. I hope I enjoy it!

Anyways, today I’m here to talk about a certain author that has become an instant buy for me in the last few years. I am dedicating my post to the one and only Kasie West! In honour of International Women’s Day, I’ve decided to share my thoughts on one of my favourite female authors and rate her books from my least to my most favourite! 

Kasie West is an American young adult author of mostly (but not limited to) contemporary novels. She was born in California and enjoys Junior Mints. If you’re interested in learning more about Kasie West, I’ve linked her Goodreads profile here and her website, here. The awesome thing about her, (well awesome for us readers but maybe not our wallets haha) is that she writes really quickly; releasing a new book every year, sometimes even two! 

Without further ado, here are all of Kasie West’s books and my order of preference. (Reminder: this list is my own personal opinion and is not meant to offend the readers or the author. I thoroughly enjoy all of her books and with that, this is a very difficult decision). 

📚 Number 6: On The Fence
Release Date: July 1st, 2014

On the fenceOn The Fence is about a girl named Charlotte who grew up with three brothers and raised by her father. In all sense of the word, she is a true tomboy. She loves to play with all the boys at their favourite sports and usually wins at their own game. When she gets caught for speeding, she finds herself working in a little chic boutique in order to pay off the ticket. There she becomes the girly girl she never knew how to be and starts hanging around a boy who doesn’t know the real her. She finds solace in her best friend Braden when they share midnight talks through their backyard fence, however, Charlotte’s heart is betraying her and she begins to fall for the boy she can’t be with.
First of all, I will answer the question that I know is burning in your minds right now… Yes, all of her books have really cute covers 😝 I think this was the second book I ever read by her and I enjoyed reading someone who was very different than me. I wouldn’t call myself a girly girl but I am definitely not a tomboy so it was a lot of fun reading from Charlie’s POV. 

📚 Number 5: Lucky in Love
Release Date: July 25th, 2017

lucky in love Maddie is the typical super smart girl who always works hard for her grades and dreams of going to university even though she knows she can’t afford it. She doesn’t believe in luck, however, when she wins the lottery the first time she ever she plays it, she can’t say that it isn’t lucky. Now, Maddie has gone from the girl no one ever sees to the one everyone wants to know and while the attention is fun at first, when random people she’s never met start asking her for loans, she starts to think that the money might be more of a burden than a gift. The only place she can truly be herself is at her job; the local zoo and with a friend who doesn’t know her secret.
This is the most recent book of West’s that I read, just finishing it up in January of this year. With most of her books I find that they get better and better everytime she releases one, however, this one wasn’t my favourite. I am not sure why, but I can’t seem to love books that have to do with winning the lottery. For some reason, I get really anxious about how careless the characters are with the money and can’t just enjoy the story. This has nothing to do with West and it’s not to say that the book isn’t good, it’s just a personal thing I suppose. 

📚 Number 4: The Distance Between Us
Release Date: July 23nd, 2013

the distance between us Caymen has been warned against boys with money. Good looking teenage boys with so much money they don’t know what to do with it and ultimately spend it on things they don’t need and will never use. So, when Xander walks into her mom’s small porcelain doll shop, she thinks he’s just the same as all the rest, but Xander keeps coming around. Just when she starts to open herself up to loving him, he surprises her and she realizes that money was a bigger part of their relationship than she first knew and that she should have been asking her mother more questions about why she never trusted anyone with money to their name and why Caymen shouldn’t either.
This story was super fun and really easy to get through. I found Caymen enjoyable to read from and Xander was charming as all rich boys are I’m sure. I especially loved it because I actually didn’t put 2 and 2 together when I first read it because I was so enthralled by the characters. I love when books can surprise me. Just one thing… a porcelain doll shop? I mean talk about CREEPY. 😖

📚 Number 3: P.S. I Like You
Release Date:
July 26th, 2016

ps i like you This book follows Lily, a typical high school girl who has a hand full of close friends and a crazy family. While dozing off during a chemistry lecture, she scrawls some of her favourite lyrics on her desk, sure that no one would even know what the words were, but when she comes into class the next day, she finds that the lyrics have been continued and there’s a message. Lily and her new pen-pal become close as she juggles the struggles that come with high school. But who really is this guy? And is he actually the kind of person Lily can fall for?
This book was SO cute! Lily’s struggles felt like my own even though our lives are very different. The characters in this story have a lot of heart and their issues are real-life issues. I had a really good time reading this one and Lily’s counterpart is complex and pretty mysterious. 

📚 Number 2: The Fill-In Boyfriend
Release Date: May 5th, 2015

the fill-in boyfriend.jpg When Gia’s boyfriend dumps her right before her prom, she’s in trouble. She’s been boasting about Brayden to her friends all semester and this was her shot to prove to them that he’s real and not pretend like they think he is. When she spots a cute boy waiting for his sister in the parking lot of the rec. centre, she knows he’s her only hope. So, she recruits him to be her fill-in boyfriend for the night to convince her friends that he is Brayden. After the night, she finds herself thinking about the fill-in Brayden rather than the real one. As they start to hang out, she learns that he has secrets of his own and the real Brayden isn’t completely finished with her yet.
This was my first book by Kasie West that I ever read and it definitely holds a special place in my heart. This is the book that made me fall in love with her books so I can’t thank it enough. This one is super easy to get through, could probably read it in one sitting. The characters are all fun and the plot is just so funny! This book has a little more humour because of Gia’s personality but also some family aspects that are very interesting. 

📚Number 1: By Your Side
Release Date:
January 31st, 2017

by your side Autumn Collins is getting some last minute studying done at her public library before her and her friends head off for a fun camping weekend when she finds herself locked in the library with no way to escape. She thinks her friends will come back for her once they realize she isn’t with them but they never do. How can she survive an entire weekend in a library and how is she going to eat? Matters are made worse when she discovers that she isn’t alone and has to share the space with the bad boy at school Dax. He’s known for his bad reputation but Autumn and Dax have an unexplainable connection. Will that be enough once the weekend is over and they go back to their normal lives?
I LOVE THIS BOOK! I mean, it’s cute, happy, sad, emotions ring true and they’re trapped in a LIBRARY! Wouldnt that be amazing!? I mean maybe not the “I-can’t-escape-” part… but everything else. I loved Autumn and Dax’s relationship and I think it is one of West’s strongest pairing. The main character also has a mental illness which I can relate to on some level and I loved how the relationships with her friends and with Dax progress once they leave the library. 

Now, I will mention that there are three books by Kasie West that I have not read:

While I own Love, Life and the List and plan to read it this year, I probably won’t read the other two. Also, another one of her books is releasing this year so I can’t wait to read that one as well and figure out where it fits on my list! 

For now, that is all I’ve got. Remember that today is International Women’s Day so make sure you’re letting those lovely ladies in your life know that you appreciate them and that they are great. A unified world is a strong one! 

Thank you so much for reading this far and let me know if you’ve read anything by Kasie West! 

Sincerely,

B ❤

  

 

 

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My Favourite Love Stories!

That day is fast approaching. Dreadful for some, and exciting for others. Whether you hate the day with the passion or you can’t wait to share it with your special someone; here are some books to get you in the lovey-dovey mood. Valentine’s day is one meant to be spent with the ones you love, but since it is generally geared towards a romantic love story, that is what my list will consist of. 

So, let’s begin! 

anna and the french kiss Anna and the French Kiss is such a cute love story about a girl who moves to France because of her dad’s success. At her new school, she forms new friends and falls in love with Étienne, a boy who already has a girlfriend. Their relationship is super adorable and such a fun and easy read. The other stories in the series are equally cute and follow secondary characters. They ultimately all come together at the end. 

saint anything Saint Anything is Sarah Dessen’s twelveth release and it doesn’t disappoint. It is told in the point of view of Sydney, a teenage girl whose brother Peyton, whom she had always looked up to, is now in jail for a DUI. While her entire family is doing their best to protect Peyton, Sydney is more concerned about the victim and his family. When she finds solace in a boy and his crazy family, she learns a few things about the night of the accident and about herself. 

safe haven Nicholas Sparks does it again doesn’t he? Safe haven is a beautiful story about second chances and new beginnings. It definitely contains some heavy content; death, abuse, stalking and trauma. I love how effortlessly Sparks is able to make me attached to these fictional people. You will be rooting for these two from the very start. Keep in mind that Sparks write new adult fiction and not young adult, this doesn’t change the fact that it is a beautiful story, especially for Valentine’s Day. 

by your side

This should be on everyone’s TBR. We’ve got great characters and character development, a cute romance, mental health issues, and they’re trapped in a LIBRARY. When two teenagers get trapped in their city’s library over the entire weekend, they start to open up to one another and realize they’re a lot more alike than they first thought. This is my favourite Kasie West novel and what I especially love is that it’s super easy to get through. You fall in love with these characters and get totally immersed in their situations.

Geekerella I think I’ve recommended this book a million times already but maybe if I keep at it, everyone will read it! Geekerella is a modern day retelling of Cinderella and it works surprisingly well. It is an accurate tale of how technology affects the way we meet and communicate with people. The best part is that the main character is a total fangirl! This book is so relatable and what’s great about it is that it is told from both the girl’s and the boy’s point of view!

nowhere but here I had never read a Katie McGarry book before this one so I really didn’t know what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book! it follows a girl and her dealing with her separated parents. she goes to stay with her dad for the summer and he’s basically the leader of a “gang” like community; although the term gang is somewhat offensive. There she forms new relationships and begins viewing these new people as family, however, there’s a secret that no one is willing to tell her. 

And that’s all I have! I hope these love stories get you guys in the mood for Valentine’s Day and whether you’re single, dating or in a relationship, make the most of the day.

Sincerely,

B ❤

Let’s Talk About Mental Illness

Hey Bookies! We’re back with another post and today we’re going to be talking about some of our favourite portrayals of mental illness in books that we’ve read. In honour of Canada’s Bell’s Let’s Talk Day on January 31st, we thought this would be a good time to post some of these books that deal with sensitive situations and more heavy content (although they are not all like that). We hope you guys can find some of these characters relatable and give some of these books a try! 

Recommendations by Bia:

Book One: This Song Will Save Your Life – Leila Sales

This song will save your life.jpg

 

This book is a young adult contemporary novel that follows the hardest point of a person’s life: adolescence. The main character deals with bullying, depression and has suicidal tendencies. While the subject matter of the book is quite heavy, the story is written with such fluidity and flow (kind of like a song) which makes the content easier to read without taking away any of its importance. I would recommend this to teenage readers who are going through depression brought on by the need to “fit in” and the overall devastating feeling of not belonging. If that is something that relates to you, then I think you will like this book. 

Book Two: The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

the yellow wallpaper.jpg The Yellow Wallpaper is one of those books that takes things to an extremely real but uncomfortable place. It takes place in the twentieth century where a woman receives the rest cure after giving birth. Essentially, this means she isn’t allowed to leave her bed until the doctor deems she is fit to carry on with her regular life. After a while, we learn that there isn’t any known reason as to why she needs to stay in this condition when she seems perfectly healthy. Locked in this room with barred windows and a ghastly swirling- designed yellow wallpaper, the woman begins to see images in the intricate lines of the wall. Over time, she becomes entranced with the “woman in the wallpaper” and it takes her to the brink of insanity (although some may say she went past the brink). I recommend this to young adults who enjoy a psychological illness that is almost haunting and atmospherical.      

Book Three: The Rescue – Nicholas Sparks

the rescue.jpg Ah… Nicholas Sparks. The man who fills our hearts and then breaks them. It’s a trend, let me tell you. The Rescue is, of course, a love story, however, it handles mental illness in a different way. The main character’s child, Kyle is a four-year-old boy who has a learning disability as well as a speech impediment. We learn a little bit about what Kyle goes through as a child living with this condition but what is really beautiful is how the mother, Denise learns to raise her son. The love she has for him is wonderful to read and I think this is a book that will touch everyone’s heart. I recommend this to parents who are learning to raise a young child with an illness or disability or to anyone who has a family like Kyle. 

Book Four: Mrs Dalloway – Virginia Woolf 

Mrs Dalloway This is a book when you read you will never forget, and not because the writing is revolutionary or because the characters are outstanding (although both are true), but because Woolf decided to write this entire book without punctuation. That’s right, not a single comma, period or break. Not only that, but she also switches perspectives between main characters and DOESN’T TELL YOU… I swear my OCD could not handle this book. However, she does a great job writing a character going through PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) since this takes place shortly after the war. I would recommend this book to anyone with a sharp mind who is able to differentiate between the characters and to anyone who doesn’t want to throw the book across the room due to the lack of punctuation thing. 

Book Five: Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo

six of crowscrooked kingdom

This is a fantasy duology and probably doesn’t scream mental illness but it is so much more than just an epic fantasy tale. Each of the main characters deals with their own demons and Kaz Brekker is particular tries to carry on with major PTSD. His circumstances force him to keep his hands gloved and have as little human interaction as possible. Another main character is Wylan who suffers from illiteracy, and not because he isn’t smart because he is a genius. I highly recommend this series to anyone, whether you are looking for a “mental illness awareness” type of book or not. Its a definite 5/5 stars for me. 

Recommendations by Cass:

Book One: Every Last Word – Tamara Ireland Stone

every last word “I didn’t go there looking for you, I went looking for me. But now, here you are, and somehow, in finding you, I think I’ve found myself.”

Mental Health Issues Discussed: Purely Obsessional OCD, anxiety and depression.
+: This novel does not dress down or dress up, OCD. This was a book that changed my perspective, this book made me really fall in love with poetry and the power it has to restore a sense of power and acceptance. This book reflects true emotions, and it will most likely become your favourite book. Following the life of a teen who in everyone’s eyes is popular, happy, normal – breaks down what truly comes with having a mental health disorder.
– : Triggers: Anxiety, depression, explicit poetry.

Book Two: I’ll Meet You There – Heather Demetrios

ill meet you there.jpg“It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages—no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.”

Mental Health Issues Discussed: PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder),  depression and alcoholism.
+: This novel is a powerful story of love, loss and acceptance. Following two teens in a misfit town, a town of typical expectations. When Skylar and Josh meet, their individual isolation seems to disappear and a friendship soon becomes more. With the power of art, Skylar speaks her mind in a town her mother despises.
– : Triggers: emotional and physical abuse, alcoholism, depression and PTSD. 

Book Three: The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

the perks“We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Mental Health Issues Discussed: PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), anxiety and depression.
+: This novel shows the growth and changes Charlie our protagonist, goes through after a very traumatizing moment in his life. Following his journey through high school, being the wallflower of the group, falling in love, and loving yourself.
– :  Triggers: Sexual assault, sexual abuse, drug abuse, physical abuse and homophobic shaming.

Book Four: We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

we were liars.jpg“They know that tragedy is not glamorous. They know it doesn’t play out in life as it does on a stage or between the pages of a book. It is neither a punishment meted out nor a lesson conferred. Its horrors are not attributable to one single person. Tragedy is ugly and tangled, stupid and confusing.”   

Mental Health Issues Discussed: PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and depression.
+: A story that is woven in itself full of secrets, tales, magic, destruction, lies and family. We Were Liars occurs in the lapse of one summer, a summer that changes the lives of both the characters and the readers. I would rather leave this story to interruption, as many have felt better to just dive into this story without a solid explanation.
– : Triggers: Hallucinations, PTSD, and self-harm imagery.

Book Five: Looking for Alaska – John Green

looking for alaska.jpg“When adults say, “Teenagers think they are invincible” with that sly, stupid smile on their faces, they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die.

Mental Health Issues Discussed: Depression and Suicide.
+: A John Green classic, this coming of age story involves a boy on a summer journey to find himself. Through camp and an unlikely friendship between two odd teens, Pudge and Alaska form a romantic friendship. Between days of finding himself and nights shared with the girl of his dreams, Pudge grows and searches for more than just school and summer vacation. With Alaska’s wild imagination and Pudge’s sweet disposition, this story will truly make you fall in love with being a teenager again.
– : Triggers: Depression, suicide, and possibly social anxiety.

Unsurprisingly, a book we both recommend is:

Book Six: Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl Bia: 

Fangirl definitely doesn’t scream mental health issues but taking a closer look into the story shows that this book is not just about a young girl going through university who loves to write fanfiction; but also about a completely socially anxious girl with separation issues from her father who frequents the hospital due to his condition. I love this story and it is great to see how Cath gets through all of these challenges and how she learns to live with her issues especially since I think all readers can see themselves in Cath. I would recommend this to any fangirl/fanboy or to anyone starting/currently in university/college. 

Cass:

“I don’t trust anybody. Not anybody. And the more that I care about someone, the more sure I am they’re going to get tired of me and take off.”   
Mental Health Issues Discussed: Social anxiety.
+: Fangirl follows Cath and her college experience as an introvert with social anxiety. There is no immediate clearness of Cath’s inability to react to college life, but it is shown in the behaviour she has towards the many college students she interacts with. With humour, teenage angst, Harry Potter-esque fanfiction, and a quirky love interest – this will soon be your next favourite contemporary!

And that is all for this week! Thank you so much for the visit and don’t forget to join in on Bell’s Let’s Talk Day on January 31st! And if you live outside of Canada and can’t join in, remind family and friends that mental illnesses aren’t something to be ashamed of and it’s okay. The best thing they can do is talk to someone about it because you’re not alone. Happy reading bookies, and until next week. 

Sincerely, 

B & C ❤