Trapped in a Library with a Knife Carrying Teenager // ARC Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

 photo 30256248_zpsbclveelk.jpgBy Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Series: Standalone
Genre(s): Contemporary
Release Date: 1/31/17

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Goodreads Description

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?

By Your Side is a contemporary romance novel about teenager Autumn Collins who finds herself locked in a library with bad boy acclaimed druggie, Dax Miller. Autumn, frustrated and hoping her friends will eventually come find her is surprised to find that WOW Dax Miller isn’t a druggie. WOW. Dax is actually really nice. WOW. Dax didn’t go to juvie because he punched someone in the face. While on the other hand, Dax finds himself surprised that Autumn isn’t the perfect, naive, rich brat he assumed she was.

I quickly burned through By Your Side in a couple hours. I was intrigued by the concept and quite recently I finished reading her last novel, PS I Like You and I very much enjoyed it. I would say I did enjoy By Your Side but on the other hand, I felt that the synopsis is somewhat misleading. The novel does take place in the library for the first third of the book, but it isn’t about books. It isn’t about Autumn liking to read. The entire book is mostly about Autumn trying to tell Jeff (this guy she isn’t dating yet but everyone thinks they will) that she doesn’t want to be with him.

The characters were actually disappointing in my opinion.  I didn’t love them, I didn’t understand them and most importantly, I didn’t really care about what their end result would be. Characters in my personal opinion are the central part of the story, if you don’t care about a character, why would you care about what they say or do? It is without a doubt, that though By Your Side was an entertaining and light read, it wasn’t a thoughtful deep novel and for sure did not meet my expectations.

The plot was for sure not fast paced, it was definitely interesting, but like I said, not superb. In fact, Autumn had some serious angst that needed to be solved. There wasn’t much to By Your Side. It was extremely one dimensional and it felt like the only thing within our story was Autumn, Dax and Jeff. All the other characters? Forget them, we hardly knew their last names!

Overall, By Your Side was a disappointing read that failed to meet my expectations of West’s last novel. I recommend the novel to anyone looking for a light slightly fluffy novel, but this is most certainly not the next great American novel.

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Have you picked up By Your Side yet? Did you enjoy it? Are you anticipating this novel? Let me know down below in the comments! Thank you for reading!

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“Remember, it’s only a game.” || ARC Review » Caraval by Stephanie Garber

 photo Caraval_final20cover201_zpsy4iavhbc.jpgCaraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Untitled #1

Genre(s): Fantasy, Romance, Action
Release Date: 1/31/17
Stars: 5 STARS

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Goodreads Description

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber easily lands in the top five books read this month. Starting on the first page, the reader is whisked into a story where everything is questioned. The audience doesn’t quite know what is happening yet, but it is written in such an amazing way that it keeps the reader hooked. Caraval gave me the chills, by page one, I knew Caraval would be phenomenal.

The plot of Caraval was stunning. Extremely well paced. There wasn’t a single part in the entire plot that I felt I was waiting. The entire story kept me on my toes. Don’t even get me started on the twists. Garber is clearly the queen of plot twists because the plot twists were so well done. I didn’t see a single one of them coming. The romantic plot was also spectacular, it is clear that the romantic aspects in the story isn’t the main plot. But when romantic parts appear in the story, it made me as the reader squeal. In a good way, of course.

The descriptions were out of this world. Every single page of Caraval played in my mind like a movie. I could picture every single bit of magic Garber wove into the story. Everything, the smells, the sights, Garber definitely has a talent in world building. The setting for the majority of the book, Caraval was a mystical place, Garber gave me the shivers and made me want to hop right into the story.

Our main character, Scarlett was lovely. Headstrong and definitely feisty was one character that I just adored. She cared for her sister dearly, and she is quite an admirable character. I’m very glad she wasn’t the type of character to fall right over into the “hot guy’s” arms. Julian, our “hot guy” of the book was spectacular. I loved him, Scarlett might not have fallen over on to him, but I surely did. Julian’s character was mysterious, he was caring, and the twists surrounding his character were just spellbinding.

Overall, Stephanie Garber’s, Caraval is definitely a book that any lovers of fantasy should read. Any of her next books will be an instant read. Her writing stunned me. I rated this book 5 out of 5 stars. Caraval had no cons. It kept me hooked all the way. FullSizeRender (20)

Have you pre ordered Caraval yet?



new year // new goals // new start

Hi everyone! Claire here, long time no see and I really miss you guys! Life has been hectic, I’ve been in a blogging slump for just about forever, and in general, life has been really not that great at all. But, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the new year and all the goals I’m hoping to stick to! Let’s do this! FullSizeRender (20)

goal #1

I haven’t really been blogging much at all. Any posts that are being released were scheduled a bit back on so when I’m talking, I’m not really talking. So my first goal is to post at least once a week. Whether it be a review, discussion, list post, whatever, I will have a post up once a week for you guys.

goal #2

Being organized is one thing I am terrible at. Seriously, you should see my room. I really hope to accomplish being organized because when you’re organized, I feel like it can make life a lot less stressful by just being organized.

goal #3

Get my shit together and get a job. Or an internship, or bonus, an internship that pays. I need to make money and all my friends have jobs and then there’s me with like no money. Plus I need to make money so I can get my car!

goal #4

Finish driver’s ed and get my permit. I just actually started taking driver’s ed, the only problem is is that now that school is starting it will be hard to keep up with the class. Hopefully I’ll be able to manage my time well enough and I’ll be able to finish driver’s ed and get my permit before my junior year

goal #5

Be myself! Last year was basically a mess, we can all agree on that. Just last year I started wearing makeup. Not a lot but some eyeliner and mascara and  a little bit of lip gloss. Pretty simple and it made me feel way better and confident. I also wore it for those around me. This year, I’ll definitely be wearing makeup but I want to be wearing it because I like it and no other reason.

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These were my goals for 2017! What were some of yours? How will you accomplish them?  Are they similar to mine? Let me know down below in the comments!