By Your Side

By Your Side

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

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?

Thoughts:

Kasie West is one of those authors I go to, when I know I want to read something that’ll leave me happy and it won’t be too taxing to read. I hope that doesn’t sound like an insult, as it’s not intended that way! Kasie West’s books are just easy to devour and I have always enjoyed them. By Your Side wasn’t my favourite Kasie West book, but it was still a decent contemporary read.

By Your Side centres around Autumn. One day, Autumn finds herself trapped inside a library for a long weekend. Autumn isn’t alone. She’s trapped with Dax. Autumn doesn’t know a lot about Dax, but she’s heard rumours that he’s trouble. Autumn has no way of getting out, her bag is in the car with her friend, Dax’s phone is dead… so they just have to stay in the library and live off vending-machine food. Dax doesn’t want anything to do with her, but after a while they begin to warm to one another. After Autumn finds out information about her friend, she experiences a panic attack. Dax manages to get her help. The story follows Autumn after she gets out of the library. Will her connection with Dax last?

I have mixed feelings about anxiety in this book. First of all, I must say I love it when a character with anxiety is represented. I suffer from anxiety myself and appreciate its representation, especially in YA. I loved how supportive Autumn’s family were of her anxiety. I loved that her mum encouraged her to take mental health days and was constantly checking on Autumn’s feelings and emotions. Yes for supportive parents in YA!

On a more negative note, I felt like Autumn’s anxiety wasn’t portrayed in the best way that it could be. I totally understand that anxiety can take many shapes and forms, but I didn’t buy into Autumn’s anxiety. I also couldn’t believe that Autumn’s friends wouldn’t notice she had anxiety? Sure, she was medicated, but in my experience, even with medication it’s still there…just a dialled down version. My friends can still tell that I’m anxious in situations.

Another reason why I didn’t rate this any higher was because not all of the characters felt real enough to me. I felt like I didn’t know nearly enough about Dax to invest in their relationship.

I think this is a book where you have to suspend your disbelief (who gets locked in a library without phones in there…?) and just enjoy for what it is! A cute romance that doesn’t take long to read.

Would I recommend it?
Yes!

Whilst this isn’t my favourite Kasie West book, it doesn’t take long to read, just suspend your disbelief! 

He Said/She Said

He Said/She Said

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.

Thoughts:

I have really enjoyed Erin Kelly’s books in the past, so when Beth badgered me to read this one, it didn’t take me long to decide to bump it up my TBR. I had seen so much buzz around it in the blogosphere that I was somewhat nervous to read it. That hype monster gets books all too often.

He Said/She Said is about a couple Laura and Kit. Kit is an eclipse chaser and travels around the world to be present at each eclipse event, if the weather permits it. Laura starts to become more interested in Kit’s hobby and begins to travel with him. It is at a special eclipse festival in 1999, that Laura and Kit witness a terrible event. Laura sees more than Kit, but Kit sees enough for it to haunt them years later in their lives. The story alternates between Laura and Kit, both in the present time and events in the past. In the present, the couple have changed their names and have no presence on social media. Laura is suffering from anxiety following the awful situation and the aftermath. Slowly, the truth about what happened in 1999 is revealed…

It’s so hard to review thrillers when you don’t want to give too much away for those that haven’t read it. I loved the fact that the truth was slowly drip fed to the reader. I was desperate to know what had happened to Kit and Laura to make them so fearful of being found. I thought Erin Kelly used the slow reveal sublimely. It certainly kept me turning the pages.

I, in no way, predicted the ending. It was one that actually made my eyes widen! If you’re looking for a decent thriller that’ll keep you guessing, then try He Said/She Said. 

Would I recommend it?:
Of course! 4.5 stars

A simply excellent thriller!

Her Husband’s Lover

Her Husband's Lover

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

She stole her husband. Now she wants to take her life.

After the horrors of the past, Louisa Williams is desperate to make a clean start. Her husband Sam is dead. Her children, too, are gone, victims of the car accident in which he died. 

Sam said that she would never get away from him. That he would hound her to death if she tried to leave. Louisa never thought that he would want to harm their children though. 

But then she never thought that he would betray her with a woman like Sophie. And now Sophie is determined to take all that Louisa has left. She wants to destroy her reputation and to take what she thinks is owed her – the life she would have had if Sam had lived.

Her husband’s lover wants to take her life. The only question is will Louisa let her?

Thoughts:

Pre-blogging days, Julia Crouch was one of my favourite psychological thriller authors. With Her Husband’s Lover, Julia cements herself as a favourite of mine in the genre. I was absolutely gripped by this story and couldn’t put it down. It’s so gritty! Just what I love in a psychological thriller.

Louisa Williams has had a pretty horrendous past and she’s desperate for a fresh start. Louisa’s husband is dead. He died in a car crash. Sam was chasing Louisa and their two children when the crash occurred. Louisa always thought that Sam would never hurt her, but he betrayed her with a woman named Sophie. Sophie is determined to take what Louisa has left. She wants the life she should have had if Sam had lived.

This really was an amazingly crafted psychological thriller. Julia Crouch has such a way of creating such terrible characters. I don’t mean badly written. I mean shockingly awful people that are easy to dislike. I love those sort of characters. I actually said out loud ‘Oooh, she’s a messed up woman!’ I had to remind myself that it wasn’t real! So sucked into the story.

The two female characters Louisa and Sophie are incredibly well written. I can’t say that I liked any of them, but I loved to read from their points of view. Their interactions with each other were intense and their relationship was completely toxic as you might expect. I don’t often like a dual point of view that goes from past to present but Julia Crouch creates such a great narrative in this story.

I couldn’t stop turning the pages. It’s a fairly long read but it doesn’t take long to get through it because there’s twists and turns all the time. I didn’t know who to trust. Some scenes made me incredibly uncomfortable. There’s plenty of shocking moments and nothing is first what it seems.

The reason why Julia stands out in this heavily populated genre for me is her writing style. Julia Crouch doesn’t shy away from gritty, raw and quite disturbing stories. This is certainly all of those things and much more besides.

Would I recommend it?:
Without a doubt!

If you love unreliable characters then this is the thriller for you!

Fairy Tale Friday- The Shirt Collar

I quite enjoyed this week’s fairy tale which was short and sweet. It was about a gentleman’s collar. Random, I know, but it made me smile. The gentleman’s collar is incredibly confident and boastful. He flirts and proposes to very lady-object he meets including a garter and a pair of scissors. He lies about what he has got. Finally, the collar gets his comeuppance when he ends up in a rag pile. Unfortunately, the collar is made into a piece of paper. The very piece of paper that his story is told upon!

Next Fairy Tale- The Butterfly

The Disappearing Girl

The Disappearing Girl

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Kayla Marlowe is slowly vanishing…

Last year, Kayla’s world imploded. Her beloved father died, leaving her alone with a narcissistic mother who is quick to criticize her daughter’s appearance. During her winter break from college, Kayla’s dangerous obsession with losing weight begins.

Kayla feels like her world changes for the better overnight. Being skinny seems to be the key to the happiness she has desperately been seeking. Her mother and friends shower her with compliments, telling her how fantastic she looks. Kayla is starving, but no one knows it.

Cameron Bennett explodes into Kayla’s life. He’s sexy and kind—he has every quality she has been looking for in a guy. As Cameron grows closer to Kayla and learns of how far she’s willing to go to stay thin, he becomes desperate to save her.

Kayla’s struggles with anorexia and bulimia reach a breaking point and she is forced to confront her body image issues in order to survive. She wonders if Cameron could be the one to help heal her from the pain of her past.

Thoughts:

I have had this book on my TBR for what seems like the longest time. I recently came across it and decided that it needed to be read this summer. The Disappearing Girl isn’t an easy read. It’s about anorexia and bulimia. Whilst it was a challenge to read because of its subject matter, it was an incredibly important and well written read.

The Disappearing Girl centres around Kayla. She is grieving after the death of her father who she found after he had a heart attack. Kayla and her sister, Lila were left with her mother. Her mother who was very obsessed with image. She constantly makes comments about the way Kayla and Lila look. Her comments made me cringe at times. She picked and picked away at her children giving them very low self-esteem. It wasn’t hard to hate their mother. She was so terrible to her children! Kayla starts to diet which brings with it a dangerous obsession with food. At the start of the weight loss, things are going well. She’s getting compliments and she’s landed herself a beautiful boyfriend. However, things soon get very serious and spiral out of control.

I thought Heather Topham Wood really explored the eating disorder very well. I felt like I was inside Kayla’s mind. I could understand why she felt the way she did because of her mother’s comments. I could feel that she was frustrated with people interfering with her diet. Yet at the same time, I was torn because I couldn’t believe what she was doing to herself.

This isn’t a long book, but it packs one hell of a punch! It’s brutal in its honesty of what an eating disorder can do to a person. It’s not just the person suffering from the eating disorder that’s affected. It was clear that everyone surrounding Kayla was affected by her behaviour. Even her mother… eventually.

I think this is such an important book to read for teens, adults and parents alike. It makes you think about mental health and just how much comments can hurt others.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A quick, but brutally honest read about eating disorders!

This Week In Books #74

I am joining in with the lovely Lipsy from Lipsy’s Lost and Found’s feature which highlights our week in books. I shall be sharing what I’m reading now, then and next! I won’t be showcasing my new books as I do that on a Saturday. I’m really excited by this feature as I loved sharing my recent reads. My book reviews published on my blog are often WAY behind what I’m actually reading, so this is a good feature to keep you up to date!

The Scarecrow Queen (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #3) Cartes Postales from GreeceClose To Me

NOWThe Scarecrow QueenMelinda Salisbury– I’m about a quarter of the way through this book which is the last in the Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy. It’s a YA fantasy.

THEN Cartes Postales From GreeceVictoria Hislop– I recently finished this book which is for Beth and I’s ‘Talking About’ feature. Look out for our feature next week!

NEXTClose To MeAmanda Reynolds– I think I’m going to read this psychological thriller next. We’ll see. I’m not going to have a lot of reading time within the next week!

What are you reading this week? Feel free to leave a link to your post or let me know in the comments below!

Top Ten Books For Those Who Want To Read British Authors!

Oh how I’ve missed Top Ten Tuesday! It’s back today after a mini break. Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the wonderful The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s list are the Top Ten Books for a certain person or subject. I decided to promote those British Authors I love so much. Here are a selection!

Click on the book image to get to the Goodreads page for the book! 🙂

Orangeboy- Patrice Lawrence

Orangeboy

I loved Patrice’s debut novel which centres around drugs, gangs, friendship and family. It’s well worth a read.

Indigo Donut- Patrice Lawrence

Indigo Donut

I recently read and adored this book which is another heart-warming family read. I gave this one five stars.

The Next Together- Lauren James

The Next Together (The Next Together, #1)

I didn’t expect to like this book as much as I did. Packed full of time travel which isn’t usually my thing!

Mad Girl- Bryony Gordon

Mad Girl

I enjoyed this memoir about the author’s experience with mental health!

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time- Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

I absolutely adored this book. So unique and special.

Am I Normal Yet?- Holly Bourne

Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club, #1)

Another mental health story… not intentional but wonderful all the same. I love Holly Bourne’s writing.

Paper Butterflies- Lisa Heathfield

Paper Butterflies

Such an intense read!

Infinite Sky- C.J Flood

Infinite Sky (Infinite Sky, #1)

A beautiful read!

The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase- Joan Aiken

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (The Wolves Chronicles, #1)

I only discovered this book last year! I absolutely lapped it up. A stunning piece of children’s literature.

A Boy Made Of Blocks- Keith Stuart

A Boy Made of Blocks

Oops, another book featuring a character on the autistic spectrum. This one is WONDERFUL and I can’t recommend it enough. A raw account of the main character’s struggle with his son.

Have you read any of these books? Have any caught your eye? Let me know! Feel free to leave a link to your posts and I’ll stop by!