15 March, 2017

{ Mini Reviews } The Here & Now

Hello friends! Three quick reviews this time, featuring my latest contemporary reads.

These include Karole Cozzo's The Truth About Happily Ever After [ARC], Kasie West's By Your Side, and Clarisse David's Keeping the Distance!


The Truth About Happily Ever After by Karole Cozzo
Standalone Novel
Publishes May 16, 2017 by Swoon Reads
e-ARC provided by Netgalley
Chin up, Princess, or the crown will slip.

A theme park princess must put her life back together after her happily ever after falls apart in this contemporary YA romance from Karole Cozzo, author of How to Keep Rolling After a Fall and How to Say I Love You Out Loud.

Everything was supposed to be perfect. Alyssa has a job she loves, working as Cinderella at her favorite theme park; a fantastic group of friends; and a boyfriend who will no longer be long distance. But as the summer progresses, her prince becomes less charming and more distant, and Alyssa's perfect summer falls apart.

Forced to acknowledge that life is not always a fairy tale, Alyssa starts working to pull her herself back together. Fortunately, she doesn't have to do it alone. With her friend Miller's support, she's determined to prove that she's more than just a pretty princess. And with his help, maybe she's finally ready for something better than dreams. Maybe she's ready for something real.

♫ ♫ 

This one started off so cute! I loved Alyssa and that she took being a theme park princess so seriously! I thought she was nice and sweet! She never came off as a snob, thinking she was better than other people. She was a genuinely nice person and willing to help others and do the right thing!

I also liked the romance—sort of. It's complicated. See, Alyssa had this long-distance boyfriend who was coming to visit her and she was over the moon. But the moment the reunite, there's sort of a wall between the two of them. I absolutely hated the way her boyfriend treated her, especially when Alyssa had been trying so hard for their relationship—and what he did literally not even 5 minutes after they broke up made me so angry. 

The way Alyssa dealt with it was a little disheartening. I've never read a book where the main character focused so much on her weight. It seemed that Alyssa was doing it without a second thought and that kind of seemed iffy. I'm glad that she had someone looking out for her though.

The romance with another person in this novel started off really well! But towards the end, it felt waaaaay too childish, really. The problem seemed silly and the way it was dealt with seemed rushed, which ultimately ruined it for me.

Overall, 3 stars! 


By Your Side by Kasie West
Standalone Novel
Published January 31, 2017 by Harper Teen
Add it on GoodReads!

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

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?

♫ ♫ 

The problem I always have with Kasie West's stories is that the way they're written never has me fully engrossed with the story. The writing is very bland, even when something adorable or exciting or important it happening. It doesn't really make me feel anything.

Although I liked this book, it was hard to find it believable. I mean, I know that isn't even the point, but it was hard to get over the fact that someone could get stuck in a library for nearly an entire extended weekend. I kept comparing it to my library—where they lock the bathrooms and shut down the computers 15 minutes before actual closing time. 

Autumn's library had a vending machine. There's absolutely no eating in my library. I guess it's okay to say her library is cooler than mine.

Anyway! I really did like Autumn! I never thought she was jumping between the two guys—because she wasn't; she was sure she liked Jeff and knew she didn't having those types of feelings for Dax until way later, after she was sure she didn't really like Jeff in that way. This is confusing, I know, but what I'm trying to say is that NO LOVE TRIANGLE OF ANY KIND! In any way!

Kasie West did a good job with Autumn's anxiety attacks! I thought they were believable and they definitely added to her character and I appreciated that!

I would have loved the romance more if only the writing had me more engrossed. Otherwise, this is a great book if you're looking for a quick contemporary!

Overall, 3 stars!


Keeping the Distance by Clarisse David
I Heart Iloilo, book 1
Published February 6, 2017
No bets. No fake relationships. Just a very real one that has to be kept under wraps.

Seventeen-year-old Melissa wants to dye her hair cotton candy pink and focus on her ukulele instead of Physics. But she can't. As the daughter of a Catholic school principal, living up to her model student image 24/7 is a must. Something's about to give under all the pressure. She only hopes it isn't her.

Getting involved with a troublemaking basketball player is the last possible thing she needs...

Lance is used to getting what he wants. With a pretty face he uses to full advantage and his role as co-captain of the basketball team, the easy way is the only way he's ever known. Until the day he notices the prim Melissa he's known forever is actually hot and decides to ask her out. He has no idea he's about to learn the lesson of a lifetime.

Not getting what he wants might exactly be what he needs...

♫ ♫ ♫ 

Clarisse David is so, so good at the whole enemies to lovers trope. Twice now, she's had me a little romance mess over her characters and I would not have it any other way. This book made me swoon, laugh, cry, and fall in love with everything multiple times and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I really cannot think of any other way to describe this book! It was so cute! It was so real! From the friendships, romance, and obsessions, David definitely nailed what it was like to not only fall in love for the first time, but to also grow out of your shells, out of the mold people expect you to stay in, and going after something that scares you, no matter the consequences.

I loved the writing and the dialogue! It was so cheesy—both Lance and Melissa had this on-going thing where they used bad pick-up lines on each other. They also had pranks and adorable dates and gah. They were just super cute, okay? I loved their growth throughout the novel, both as a couple and individual characters.

Not only that, the best friends are never, ever sidelined and I loved that! Mel's best friend, Camille, and Lance's best friend, Jace, appear throughout and they're always either helping or teacing Mel/Lance, respectively. I know that the I Heart Iloilo series is a companion novel series, so I really hope that they each get their own stories!

Overall, 4 stars! If you love a cute hate to love romance and lots of banter and pranks, I highly recommend this!


  1. Karole Cozzo's other books were some of my favorites, so I'm incredibly excited to read this one - I have an ARC that I'm really looking forward to jumping into!

    By My Side was the first book that I have read by Kasie West, and I loved it so much I had to go and buy my own copy of the book. It definitely was a fun, quick read!

    I hadn't heard of Keeping the Distance, but I think I'll keep an eye out of it, because you made it sound really appealing!

    1. I really think you'll like her latest book! It's definitely a fun read for the summer!

      Her books aren't always for me, but I'd definitely recommend checking out West's other contemporaries! They're all cute and are highly recommended by several reviewers!

      And yessss, you must check out Keeping the Distance! I'm glad I did because it's one of my favourite contemporaries! Such a cute book :D