Book Review: By Your Side by Kasie West

Title: By Your Side
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date: January 31st, 2017
Pages: 352
Format: ebook
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Amazon):

An irresistible story from Kasie West that explores the timeless question What do you do when you fall for the person you least expect?

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 at 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?

Review:

If you know me, you know Kasie West is my contemporary queen.
I simply adore her books, and I always feature them in my WoW posts, because I am always eagerly anticipating her new releases.

Since I loved every single book she wrote, I don’t think I have to underline that my expectations for By Your Side were high as Empire State Building (and yes, I am copying that group/band Fun here).

I could blame my level of expectations for the fact that this was my least favorite book written by Kasie West I read so far (I still have to read her paranormal series).
I could, but I won’t, because, truth be told, By Your Side is just a solid contemporary story that explores mental illness.
When I say solid, I mean good solid.
You see, this book is good, but it isn’t special in any way, nor will it stay with me long (I mean, it will because I know it was written by West, but if it was written by some author I read for the first time, it’d probably end up in my “to-be-donated pile).

The story talks about Autumn who finds herself locked in a library for the whole weekend.
What would be a terrible experience turns out to be a bit easier event because she was not alone. Dax, a mysterious guy who goes to school with her, is there with her.
As they spend time together, they get to know each other better and become closer.

First of all, we bookworms would be happy as hell if we got to spend weekend locked in library (okay, maybe we wouldn’t be THAT happy, but still we wouldn’t mind because we love books).
Here, there is a totally different story, because Autumn is not a reader, so in my opinion, those two could have ended up being locked in the wood storage or steal depository, the story would be the same.

Second, what kind of library doesn’t have a landline??

Third, I don’t mind love triangles, but please, if you decide to put one of guys into coma and make him a part of love triangle, please give me a chance to meet him and potentially fall in love with him before you doom his destiny.
Therefore, I would prefer if this book had two more chapters in which we’d get to know Autumn, Jeff and their friends before the whole library thing.

The best part of this novel is West’s writing style. She is always amazing when telling the story, and this one was no exception.

I also liked was how anxiety was presented in this novel. From my own experience, it was believable.
Then again, I saw some reviewers saying it wasn’t presented properly, so I guess it depends on one’s experience and own observing.
I guess everyone handles anxiety in his own way, so interpretations can be different.

What turned me off from the story was how most of the characters were selfish and self-centered.
From Autumn’s friends who didn’t even notice her missing, to Autumn herself.
I get that she was anxious, but she was also selfish.
Jeff’s best friend (whose name I forgot) was also jealous for no reason other but because he was self centred.

All in all, By Your Side is a good book to pick up when you need a light read that will entertain you, but don’t expect too much from it.

The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake Book Review (Blog Tour)

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I am so happy to be today’s host in The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake Blog Tour.
I really enjoyed reading this book and I am excited to share my review.
I’d like to thank Janne Moller from Black & White Publishing, for giving me this opportunity.

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About the book:

Daisy Delaney’s life is pancake-flat. A talented baker and passionate lingerie specialist, she has wound up with no one to bake for and a career that hasn’t proved successful. But when she starts a delicious relationship with famous French author-chef, Michel Amiel, everything begins to look a bit more exciting.

That is until Michel’s bestselling cookbook is knocked off the top spot by newcomer ‘Lucy Lovecake’. His outdated recipes slide down the charts, while the popularity of Lucy Lovecake’s new dating cookbook is rising like the perfect sponge.

As Daisy teeters on the brink of love, how can she ever tell Michel that she is the mysterious Lucy Lovecake? Could he ever forgive her for finishing off his career? And more importantly, does Daisy even want to be with a difficult, egotistical, down-on-his-luck Frenchman just as her career is beginning to take off? Especially when she has some other very interesting offers…

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My Review

They say “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, but when it comes to The Secret of Lucy Lovecake, you should.
Why?
Because the story of this novel is exactly like the cover – girly and cute.

However, when it comes to synopsis, in this particular case, the story does not follow it in a way one would expect. Everything that’s being said is true, but there’s also a big part of the story that hasn’t been mentioned.
This is a story that talks about love interest and Daisy keeping secret from her lover, but it also talks about aspiring author on her way to become a published one, and her life after having a best-seller.

I really appreciated that aspect of the story, because it showed what publishing a book looks like, and in a way it made me learn something I didn’t know before.
I think mentioning it in synopsis wouldn’t hurt.

The story is written in first person, following Daisy’s POV.
Daisy’s voice is quirky and is really easy to read.
With really short chapters (84 in total) the book reads pretty quickly, and it is very likely that faster readers will finish it in one sitting.

On a quick note, I think the story would have been better without first four chapters (in those chapters we got to see Daisy’s life now when her book is bestseller, and then we go back into the past and follow the story from the beginning).

I liked characters in this story.
The one that stands out the most was Michel Amiel, who is also Daisy’s love interest.
I know it is stated that he is her boyfriend, but I wouldn’t use that word to define him.
He’s very complex and there is so much more then meets the eye when it comes to him. He suffers from depression, self medicates it with alcohol, he is very self centred, grumpy and overall one bitter man.
On the other hand, he can be fun and sweet.

Since this story is told from Daisy perspective, I wish the author (or should I say Daisy) gave us a chance to fall in love with him, or just like him better.
I mean, Daisy likes him, but we don’t see what she likes about him. Almost everytime she talked about him or described scenes with him, there was something problematic about him.
I wish we got to see why she fell for him.
Honestly, I feel like there was more connection between Daisy and Michel’s mother then between the two of them.

The end was very sweet and cute.
I can’t say I was 100% satisfied with the way the story was wrapped up, because it felt like the author decided to turn a blind eye on Michel’s depression (or maybe that is something that will get more attention in the next book).

Overall The Secret Life of Lucy Lovecake is a fun novel that I would highly recommend to chick-lit lovers.

3,75

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About Pippa James:

Pippa James is a full-time writer with a love for food, fashion and all things French. She is best known as Janey Louise Jones, author of the fantastically successful Princess Poppy series, with sales of over 4 million copies to date. Before Princess Poppy took over her life, Pippa James had always intended to write contemporary fiction and this debut novel is the start of a brand new series, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Sophie Kinsella.

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Follow the tour:

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Early Book Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe (Buddy Read)

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Title: AList of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date: January 10th, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

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About our buddy read

I read A List of Cages with Jasmine from How Useful It Is. She is an amazing blogger who’s reviews are always a pleasure to read.

Her review is already posted on her blog, so make sure to visit it and read her toughts.

We both composed three questions (Jasmine’s idea) for each other, and you can read her questions here on my blog (with our answers) and mine on her blog.

 

This book is the author’s first ever novel. Do you feel reluctant to read it?

Jasmine: No. I don’t judge by the author’s number of novels published. I saw the cover looks cute and by the glimpse of the synopsis, it sounds interesting. I always hope the book is good before I start reading and I am so glad my wish come true!

Irena: No! Since I started reviewing books I learned how important it is to give debut authors a chance, because they don’t have a fanbase that supports them (yet). I always like to give new authors a try so when a novel comes from a debut author, it kind of makes me want to read it even more.

 

What do you love most about this book?

Jasmine: I love that justice is served. I love it when a book teaches us things. This book is full of things to remember, especially, how your smiles can affect others.

Irena: I loved how this book carries an important message, but at the same time it shows teenage life in realistic way, describing not only dark moments that come along with the story it brings, but also fun momends in which friends bond. I loved how the author found the balance between the two.

 

Do you want the author to write more books?

Jasmine: Absolutely! Please write more!

Irena: I would be honoured to read more of Robin Roe’s work.

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My Review:

A List of Cages is not a book that grabs your attention immediately.
At least, it was not in my case.
I saw it’s cover on Netgalley, but didn’t pay much attention to it until I got an invitation to review it.
That invitation made me read what this story is actually about, and, since it sounded interesting and like something that could possibly make me learn something new, I decided to give it a try.
I am so glad I did! This book ended up as one of the best books I read in 2016, because of the powerful message it brings.

The story centres around two boys: Adam and Julian. It is told in first person, from both boys’ POV.

I loved how author managed for both voices to sound differently, which is very important for me when it comes to alternating perspectives.
I enjoyed reading both point of views, but I have to admit that Adam’s was more enjoyable for me, because Julien’s was sometimes too hard to read (emotinally).

That’s why I question whether the word “enjoyed” is the right one to use. This book was great, even perfect at some point, but it was also very, very hard at times.
Some situations in this story were emotinally draining.
Robin Roe is not afraid to tell the story in realistic way. There’s no sugarcoating.
The violence is described in a way that it is not too descriptive, but shows you enough to make your eyes tear up.

This is a work of fiction, but I honestly believe that similar cases to Julien’s are happening right now in the world we live in (I still remember one episode of Oprah Show that I watched when I was a kid, with three brothers with similar fate as Julien’s).
Therefore, A List of Cages is so important! I think people of all ages should read it, and after they do, they should talk about it, talk about what happened in this story and make others read it too.

This book tells us how important it is to find our voice and talk. And for those who can’t, we have to help them find their voices, encourage them in a way we can, and never stop talking.
There are so many awful things going on in the world right now, and raising our voices is one way we can at least try to make things better.

Although A List of Cages is a novel that talks about serious topic, it also shows life of teenagers in a realistic way.
There are funny scenes and everyday life moments.
Parties, chrushes and bonding also found their places on pages.
Because of that aspect, this novel reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (the movie, I still haven’t read the book. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my all-time favorite movie. Ever!).

Robin Roe did an amazing job when it comes to characterization.
Her focus was not only on Adam and Julien who are “stars” of the story, but she also created side characters who weren’t only interesting, but also went through development as well.
My favorite character was Charlie. I loved his story and enjoyed reading about him.

The writing style is really good.
Once you start reading, it’s hard to stop, and it reads quickly.
If my Nook didn’t chrash in the middle of reading, I would probably finish it even faster then I did.

Overall, A List of Cages is a book that should find itself on everyone’s tbr lists.
I know that there’s still no book that everyone likes, but in this case, I really think that many people should at least give it a try.

5

Waiting On Wednesday (#20): By Your Side by Kasie West

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Waiting on Wendesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It spotlights upcoming releases we can’t wait to read.

This week I am eagerly anticipating:

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By Your Side by Kasie West

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: January 31st, 2017

Summary:

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?

Why am I waiting?

As you probably already know, Kasie West is my favorite ya contemporary writer, and I want to read everything she writes.
By Your Side already has amazing ratings from bloggers and book reviewers who were lucky enough to receive an early review copy.
I have no doubt this will be another stunning novel and I can’t wait to read it myself!

Tell me, what book are you eagerly anticipating this week?
Feel free to leave your links so I could visit you.

Book Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

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Title: Catching Jordan
Series: Hundred Oaks (#1)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Date: December 1st, 2011
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?

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Review:

My dear friend Jasmin and I decided it was about time for us to do another buddy read together and Catching Jordan was the book we chose was the perfect choice, because we always buddy read YA (or NA) contemporary.

Catching Jordan is the first book in Hundred Oaks series and it follows Jordan and her friends who play football (or like I prefer to call it, American rugby, because you know, us people from Europe prefer another sport called football).

Jordan is a Quarterback, the captain of her team and – a girl. Yes, guys, you read it right. She is one badass girl who plays rugby better then any guy in her team, she is the only female member of her team and she is one of the guys.
As a result, her best friends are all guys, they appreciate her, and watch her back in a way.
Even though at first it sounds pretty unbelievable that a girl could be so much better then guys at sports, especially if you consider the fact that the female body is naturally builted weaker then male, there are things explained in this book.
Jordan comes from family of sport champions. Her father is great Alan Woods, one of the best rugby players in America. Her brother also plays rugby professionally, and she is bigger then other girls. She is just a big girl.

Jordan has a dream to play rugby professionally and to go to study to Alabama where all the best rugby players go.
She wants to be looked at equally as men.

This book talks a lot about sexism and how hard it is for women to be appreciated equally as men even if they are as good or even better then them.

Jordan was an interesting character but I wasn’t fond of her.
Don’t get me wrong, being a tomboy myself, I had nothing against her manly behaviour (except in times when it went too far).
What I didn’t like about her was that she was supposed to represent feminists when in reality she wasn’t feminist, not at all! The reason I’m saying that is because she more then few times brang down cheerleaders just because they had an interest in make up. She put them all in the same box, labeled them as stupid and thought she was better then them just because they liked girly stuff.
I know one of them did her wrong in the past, but still, I think Jordan’s behaviour said more about her then about any of those cheerleaders.

This book is good, funny and easy to read in general.
I enjoyed reading about Jordan’s relationship with her friends. JJ was my favorite.

Henry is her best friend who has a habit to spend nights in her bed. Her parents are fully aware of that but they approve it. Let me ask you one thing: What kind of parenting is that??
They trust her. They know she has no interest in Harry. The only precaution they did is to say that Jordan and Harry can’t sleep head to head, but have to sleep head to legs. Yeah, like that’s gonna stop teenagers from doing anything!
Don’t forget we’re talking about minors, teenagers full of hormones.
Maybe I took it too harsh, but I just can’t get over that aspect of the story. I didn’t like it, not at all!

There’s also one more thing (third to be precise) thing I didn’t like: how Jordan hits like it’s a fun game. She hit Harry so hard that his jaw cracked, and she laughed about it, along with him.
If the similar thing happened with roles versed, if guy hit a girl, that would be women abuse, but when the girl hits a guy it supposed to be funny? I don’t think so!

I feel like I’m in minority here, but I actually liked Ty. I think he was right most of the times and everytime Jordan had problems with his behaviour, I was on his side.
Of course he had problems with his girlfriend sleeping in the same bed with another guy. Who wouldn’t?

As you can clearly see from m y review, I had more then few problems with the story but I am still glad I read it and, believe it or not, I actually had a good time reading it.
I would like to read next book in the series because it follows different characters and I am curious to see whether I’ll like that one better.

3

Book Review + Giveaway: Hope by Grier Cooper (Blog Tour)

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I am happy to be today’s stop at Hope Blog Tour.
I really enjoyed reading this novel and I want to say thanks to Dancing Poodle Press for providing me a digital copy of this book and to Giselle from Xpresso Tours for giving me this opportunity.

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Hope by Grier Cooper
(Indigo Ballet Series, #2)
Publication date: April 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adulthope

Synopsis:
Indigo is living the life she’s always imagined at the famed New York School of Ballet. Or is she? Although she hopes she’ll be chosen for the company, her ballet teachers aren’t talking and their silence is confusing.

When Indigo is singled out for a coveted solo she feels her dreams are finally within reach, until she finds out she’s dancing with Felipe Gonzalez, the school’s smolderingly hot rising star. In the days that follo
w, Indigo questions everything she thought was true and finds herself making surprising choices.

After a fateful piece of paper reveals the truth, Indigo must ask herself the hardest question of all: can she take control of her own future to create the life she wants?

Goodreads * Purchase Book 1 * Purchase Book 2

 

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My Review: 

In this, second book in the Indigo Dreams series, our main protagonist, a 17 years old Indingo, is not in Connecticut anymore.
She lives in New York where she goes to School of American Balet.

She has a lot going on. She’s trying to be the best dancer she could possible be. In order to reach her goal, she has to overcome some challenges that are standing on her way. Above that, she has to make piece with herself and learn how to deal with situations she finds herself in.
Like every teenager, she has a lot of going on in her personal life too.

This is the story of a young girl who’s trying to live up to her dream, but it is also a story of growing up, finding the streinght in yourself and coming of age.

Although this is the second book in the series, it could easily be read as a standalone.

The character cast is totally different from the one in the first book. The only character that is present in both books is Indigo. Others just got some mention and that is it.

I liked the first book in the series, but I liked this one even more.
Maybe I got used to the writing style, maybe I found the characters I met in this novel to be better, or maybe I just liked this period of Inigo’s life more.

This book does not deal with serious topics as it’s prequel, but it still tells the story about important things.

The writing style is pretty simple and I finished this book faster then I tought I would.

Now, when I read both books in the series, I can say that Indigo really grew on me.

Even though this book ended with the full circle closed, I would’n mind reading about Indigo again.
If the author decides to write another book in Indigo Dreams series, I’ll be glad to pick it up.

This book doesn’t have special quotes, it does not have moments you’d like to remember after you finish the story, it does not leave you breathless, but it does give you one thing: a comfortable feeling all the time you’re reading it.
Once again, I had a feeling I was watching a good teenage drama on TV and it felt like home.

4

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Giveaway

Tour-wide giveaway (INTL)
  • e-book copy of “WISH”, book #1 of the Indigo Ballet Series and a $10 Amazon giftcard

ENTER HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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About the Author:

Grier began ballet lessons at age five and left home at fourteen to study at the School of American Ballet in New York. She has performed on three out of seven continents with companies such as San Francisco Ballet, Miami CityAuthorPhotoSm2014 Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, totaling more than thirty years of experience as a dancer, teacher and performer.

Her work has been praised as “poignant and honest” with “emotional hooks that penetrate deeply.” She writes and blogs about dance in the San Francisco Bay Area and has interviewed and photographed a diverse collection dancers and performers including Clive Owen, Nicole Kidman, Glen Allen Sims and Jessica Sutta. She is the author of Build a Ballerina Body and The Daily Book of Photography.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Book Review: My Single Friend by Jane Costello

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Title: My Single Friend
Author: Jane Costello
Publisher: Znanje (Croatian publisher)
Date: 2010
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): At 28, Lucy is doing well for herself. She’s got a great job in PR, her boss loves her, and her best girlfriends Dominique and Erin think she’s great. More important than anyone’s opinion is that of her flatmate, and oldest friend in the world, Henry. For twenty years they’ve been inseparable: beauty and the geek. Henry thinks the world of Lucy. So why does she feel the need to lie outrageously on dates? From rock-climbing to Chekov: when it comes to prospective boyfriends, Lucy is compelled to embellish her C.V. with unlikely porkies that always backfire – with hilarious results. Henry can’t understand it. Lucy is so loveable: why can’t she just be herself? But when Lucy turns the spotlight on Henry, he wishes he’d never brought it up. With a penchant for jumpers and NHS-style specs, Lucy decides that Henry is in need of a makeover – big time. Enlisting the help of Dom and Erin, it’s not long before the girls have Henry out of the flat, and into the Topman changing rooms. A new haircut, contact lenses, a flirting master-class from Dom …poor Henry doesn’t know what’s hit him. But nothing can prepare them for the surprise results! Before long, Lucy realises that their lives will never be the same again.

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Review:

What a fun and quick read this book was!
Having read and loved more then few books by Jane Costello before, I kind of knew what to expect from this novel, and I am so glad to say I wasn’t disappointed.

This book was everything I wanted and everything I needed at time.

It follows a 28 years old Lucy who works in a PR agency and lives with her best friend Henry, whom she knows for 21 years.
Henry is a perfect example of freak and geak.
He has a massy, longish hair, wears weird clothes and acts even wierder when girls are around.

One night, after watching some tv show, Henry agrees for Lucy and two of her best friends, Erin and Dominique, to give Henry a new look. They will do their best to transform the mate into a best looking version of himself.

Boy, did they suceed!

After his makover, Henry looks so attractive that girs realise they were blind to his hotness.
The matter of fact is, Lucy finds out she maybe has some feelings for her best friend…

This book was written in first person, in Lucy’s POV.
She was an entertainig narrator: funny and smart, but still blind to some situations that were obvious to us as readers.

Henry was a guy every girl could wish for and if that kind of man exsists in real life, please someone introduce me to him. He is a dream guy.

Lucy’s friends were very likeable, and the situation at Lucy’s work, which was a side story in this novel, was intriguing to read about even though I kind of expected the revelation of the situation in the similar way as it was handled.

I think this book is perfect for curing reading slumps and to make you forget the world around you for a few hours you would need to devour it.

I would recommend it to every chick-lit reader and to lovers of Sophie Kinsella’s books.

4,5