Book Review: Love, Life And The List by Kasie West and PS I Like You by Kasie West

Book: Love, Life And The List by Kasie West

Published December 2017 by HarperTeen|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

What do you do when you’ve fallen for your best friend? Funny and romantic, this effervescent story about family, friendship, and finding yourself is perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han.

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings, Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list, she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being.

But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself. 

This book is really cute!  While I have yet to love a Kasie West book, I still enjoy her books.  They’re fun and cute and perfect if you want a quick, light read.

I liked seeing Abby challenge herself and try different things.  It’s a cool but also cliche story for an artist- the one who sets out on this journey to do these different things, just to make their art better.  She just wants to be able to show her paintings, and I get that.  It’s cool, and not at all surprising that she sees it as an opportunity to get into the art program of her dreams.  Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?

She has a lot to learn, and it seems like she has a lot of potential as an artist.  It sounds like she’s pretty good, and will continue to get better, which is what one always hopes for.  She gets in the art show (with an unexpected twist, which I have mixed feelings about), she learns a lot about herself, and she gets the guy.  All in all, it’s predictable but cute.

As for her mom, I’m glad Abby wasn’t taking on everything herself.  At least her grandpa was there, and he seems like a pretty cool grandpa.  I feel like we’d get along really well.  I did feel for Abby, because it meant her mom wasn’t there for certain things, but her mom is getting the help she needs, so that’s always good.  Hopefully, her mom was able to go to more of Abby’s things and worried less about her.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it, but didn’t love it.  It’s cute, though.

Book: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Published July 2016 by Point|330 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Signed, sealed, delivered…

While spacing out in chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk and added a message to her. Intrigue!

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters—sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she’s kind of falling for this letter writer. Only, who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can’t always be spelled out…

P.S. I Like You is another cute Kasie West book!  I figured I’d review two of the books I’ve read by her recently in one post, especially since I’ve read them so close together.

I’m actually a little surprised I didn’t get the two books confused considering I started this one right after I finished the other one.

I figured out pretty early on who the mystery man was.  I thought it was pretty obvious, so when it turned out to be true, I wasn’t all that surprised.  I did like seeing Lily’s reaction to who it was, and how much she was hoping it would be someone else.  Considering the history between Lily and her mysterious pen pal, I can’t say it was a big surprise.  I am surprised, however, that it didn’t cause more problems with her and her best friend, but her best friend does seem pretty cool.  She was pretty understanding and relaxed about it, all things considering.

They really did have a lot more in common than she thought, and who knew that some letters would really change things?  For him, as well as Lily.

And the story is predictable- I’ve read enough of her books that she does go for the quirky, charming but very adorable, cliche romance.  Maybe, if I hadn’t read so many other similar stories, I would have loved it, or even really liked it.  Don’t get me read, I did like P.S. I Like You.  It’s cute and light-hearted, and maybe I read it too close to Love, Life And The List to love it more.

I doubt it, but it was fun and cute to read.

My Rating: 3 stars.  The obvious love interest (and similarities to West’s other books) aside, it’s a cute romance.

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books About Friendships

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers from all over share their own top ten list based on the topic of the week.  You can find all Top Ten Tuesdays here.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books About Friendship

This week’s list is all about friendship, which is pretty awesome!  Sometimes, friendships are my favorite part of whatever book I’m reading, and I think I’ve put together a pretty great list of books that have some awesome friendships!

  1. My Best Friend, Maybe by Caela Carter.  I just finished the ARC, and it’s one of the first books I thought of.  I really liked seeing how former best friends sort of became friends again.
  2. Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.  I love the friendship that Roar and Aria have, and it’s one of my favorite things about this entire series.
  3. Harry Potter.  There are many amazing things about Harry Potter, and there are so many awesome friendships in the book.  From the Marauders to the DA to Harry, Ron and Hermione…friends are definitely important!
  4. the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine.  This series is about all sorts of things, but I love the friendships between Eve, Michael, Claire and Shane.
  5. The Sweet Trilogy by Wendy Higgins.  I love how Anna and her group of friends came together to do what they needed to do.
  6. Incarnate by Jodi Meadows.  I just love how Ana found some awesome friends who accepted her even though she wasn’t like everyone else.
  7. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi.  I know this book has all kinds of things going on but I love the friendship that Juliette and Kenji have.
  8. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales.  I love that Elise and Vicky become such good friends by the end of the book.
  9. Soulless by Gail Carriger.  Ivy and Alexia as best friends crack me up.  As do Alexia and Lord Akeldama.
  10. Ten Tiny Breaths/One Tiny Lie by K.A. Tucker.  Livie and and Kasey are sisters, but they’re also really close and seem to be best friends.  Which is totally awesome.

And It Begins

NaNo is off to a roaring start this year!  I had a lot of fun at the midnight kick-off, and I was really glad that I reserved a couple tables, since it was busy at our party location! 

I’ve only worked on one novel so far, my mermaid one, and wrote for about an hour at the kick-off.  Actually, that’s what I’m doing right now…writing a blog post at the kick-off.  At least it’s NaNo-related! 

There’s not much to report right now, other than my word count is currently at 1,230 words. 

This is definitely going to be a short post, since there’s really not much to report right now, and I’ll definitely have more of an update tomorrow morning.

November feels as normal as it’ll ever be!



I try really hard to avoid them.  I am more of a panster, and by all appearances, outlines and winging it don’t seem to go together.  But is it possible to find a balance between winging it, and having an outline?

I think so.  My problem is that I would want to outline EVERYTHING.  I just need to find the right balance between outlining and giving myself enough freedom to keep things interesting.

In other words, I need to have enough wiggle room to pants it.  A general structure, you know?  Outlines were always this mysterious thing that happens in the distant future after I’ve written a first draft.  How could I be expected to write an outline when I don’t know what I want to happen?  It would be easier to outline after the first draft, when I have a better idea of what I want to keep and discard.

But maybe a very vague outline wouldn’t be such a bad idea.  A general idea of things that should happen.

Like that’s actually going to happen.  I can barely get myself to settle on plots and work on my characters.  How the hell am I supposed to motivate myself to do even a vague outline?

But this year, I think I’ll have an outline of some sort.  For both novels!

The one I’m doing about the family who only sees each other at funerals?  I have quite a few narrators. I think I might have more narrators than funerals…or maybe it’s more funerals than narrators…either way, one has more than the other.  I definitely need to figure out who goes in what order or who will be narrating which funeral.  I’m leaning towards the second one.  It’ll be a lot easier to go through it if I have groups.  There doesn’t need to be a specific order for each group, but as long as I know who’s narrating which funeral, I think I’ll be good.

As for the fairie mermaid girl who dies, I was thinking about shifting between letters/journal entries and the present time.  So it doesn’t need an outline or anything, not really.  But I should probably give it some thought.  You know, the progression of letters and journal entries, and what’s going on with her while seeing what’s going on after she dies.  I just got an idea!  Her journal could be a parallel story!  We see what happens to her while she’s alive and we also see what’s going on in the wake of her death.  I’ll have to get working on that.

I’ll have everything ready to go by the 24th, because that’s when my 8 day NaNo posting extravaganza starts.  I’m off to bed so I can be all rested up for a day of planning.

Yesterday Was Hilarious

It’s time to share some of the funny stuff I’ve accidentally written so far!  I managed to get all caught up, which made yesterday even better!  So here we go:

  • “so why are you here earler?” aske gibbs.  (I know gibbs is a man of few words, but you’d think he’d be one to speak clearly.)
  • “There is ziva,” tim whispered. “Mcgee’s hjere, and he looks happy wjch might not last very long if he’s sees us at his desk.”  (I feel the need to bang my head against a wall repeatedly after noticing I typed this.)
  • “You know about abby, boss,” tony said.  “She things somethings wrong.” (I should hope Gibbs knows about Abby.  They’ve worked together for years now).
  • “If I don’t have to hide someone, then I won’t.”  (I would hope you’re not hiding anyone…)
  • “I could use another set of eyes,” abgy said.   “Time are you doing anything important?” (I’ve come up with a new character!  Meet Time, Tim’s evil twin.)
  • “Chasing down leads bossy,” gibbs sais.  (This made me laugh.)

The best thing I noticed from yesterday was the fact that I named my novel July 2010!  Which made me laugh, because I laugh at everything.  I’m going to keep it as is, because it’s too funny to change!  Yesterday’s final wordcount was 8344, and hopefully I can stay on track.

Day Two Of Camp NaNo!

Camp NaNo started yesterday!  I’ve been waiting and waiting for it, and now it’s arrived!  For anyone who’s not familiar with it, it’s NaNo…year-round.  It’s great for people who can’t/don’t want to do NaNo in November or for people who want to do more than one novel in a year.  While I’m a big fan of multiple novels going at one time, I know it’s not for everyone, so it’s a good way to get all of those ideas out.  Plus, last year, I learned that 2 50k novels is the most I’m willing to do, so it’s perfect for me!.  This month, I’m doing an NCIS fanfiction, and it’s based off of the season finale.  The timing of Camp NaNo is perfect, because I’m hoping to have this thing (mostly) written by the time the season 9 premiere rolls around in mid-September.  I think it’ll also be a good test run for NaNo, because this month, I’m planning to keep up with my other novels while writting a 50k novel.  I’m not sure how completed they’ll be by November, but at least one should be done, maybe 2 or 3 if I’m lucky.  Anyway, it’ll be good to see how it works out.

It’s off to a really slow start, and my own theories about what’s going on aren’t thought out at all, so I’m winging it.  I’ll definitely have to write those down as soon as possible.  I’m not sure if it’ll reach 50k, but I’m going to try!  And if I have to word-pad, I will.  Since I didn’t do any planning, I am having some trouble with it, so once I come up with my own theories, it’ll (hopefully) get easier.  I think part of it is because I’m so used to doing Harry Potter fanfiction, and it’s a lot easier to reference Harry Potter than it is to reference NCIS.  I’ve seen bits and pieces of the first 7 seasons, and only the second half of season 8, so I’m not completely caught up on it yet.  I feel like I have a good handle on the characters, but still, I feel like I’m missing a few things.  There is this fan wiki site which looks like it’ll be really useful, and I’ll probably refer to it quite often this month.  I’ve already learned something: if you’re doing a fanfic based on your theories on what might happen in the next season, it’s a really good idea to write them down before you starting writing the actual fanfic!  Since it’s only day 2, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

It’s strange to novel in a non-November month, but it’ll be a good way to narrow down the field for November.  My last (and only) attempt at doing a novel that’s not during NaNo failed- I did get 10,000 words or so, so it wasn’t a complete loss.  I definitely got into the mindset that November=writing, but I’m slowly trying to change that, so maybe I’ll get farther along in noveling the rest of the year.  I can do it!

So, yesterday, I wrote 1746, which was rather surprising, considering how much I didn’t want to write.  I struggled with the first 800-ish words, and after that it got slightly easier.  Maybe today will go better.

Jane Seymour…The Queen, Not The Actress

I think I’m going to do my historical fiction and make Jane Seymour the focus.  I really don’t know too much about her, other than a couple books I’ve read about Henry and his wives.  It would be a great chance to learn more about her.  I’m not sure what I want to focus on, but right now, I’m thinking about doing something in relation to her becoming queen. 

I also like the idea of something about Anne of Cleves or Katherine Howard, so I’ll probably read up on them as well in case the Jane Seymour thing doesn’t work out.  I love history, especially Tudor England, so I can see myself focusing more on the research and not enough on the actual writing.  In the spirit of trying new things, though, I’ll have to overcome it, and just go for it.  At some I’ll have to focus more on writing…all I need for a rough draft is some of the basics about the period.  If I decide it’s something I want to keep working on, then I’ll have something to edit. 

I think I might to have to take a look at Anne Boleyn- at least towards the end of her marriage with Henry, because that’s when the overlap with Jane Seymour is.  But for the most part, I just want to know about Jane, and who she really is.  She tends to be portrayed as Anne Boleyn’s opposite, and while it seems to be an accurate portrayal, I really just want to know about her.  Her childhood I want to know more about, as well as how Henry noticed her and decided he had to marry her. 

Unfortunately, David Starkey just glossed over her, so his book wasn’t particularly helpful.  I’m definitely going to see if there’s anything specifically about her; otherwise, I’ll probably stick to Alison’s Weir biography of Henry’s wives.  I might try reading Antonia Frasier’s biography too.

My Brain And Fingers Need To Communicate Better

Alrighty, I just have to share some of my nano-isms from Turning Point.  They’re just too funny not to share with the world.  These were some of the ones from the last few times I worked on it. 

  • “You cn borrow myine,” kior said.  (My question is: who exactly is kior?) 
  • “Sienna, it’s nice to see you back,” the tracher said.  “Please be sure to get the notes from someone.”  (who exactly is seeing saying this?  Apparently blog posts aren’t immune to nano-isms.)
  • “I stuck my finger in a vegetable slicer and cut myself,” kiora explained.  “It’s all my sautly there was no note, I should have left on, but I wasn’t thinking.” (*headdesk*)
  • “Dorry,” luna appoligized.  “I just open my mouth, and stuff comes out.”  “Apprently,” sienna nyterred.  (I would like to note that Luna is apologizing for Kiora.As for Sienna’s line, *facepalm*)

And my all-time favorite nano-ism:

  • “Thnaks,” she sadi again.  “Oh, what happened to your ginger, kiora?” (This is seriously one of the funniest things I’ve ever accidently written.  Sienna meant to say finger, but it makes me laugh everytime I think about it.)

It’s honestly any wonder I manage to keep writing with some of the stuff that comes out.  Everything needs to work together, and that clearly isn’t happening.  Like I’ve said a bunch of times, at least it’s always a good laugh, and it really does make writing more fun.  It’s like a game sometimes…what on earth will I come up with next?

Must. Not. Laugh.

Sometimes, when I’m writing, I glance at the last few paragraphs, and wonder what on earth were my fingers thinking.  Because what comes out is always funny.  Today I thought I’d share some more bizarre writing, this time from Harry Potter and The Giant Prehistoric Chicken.

  • “So be patient, is what he’s trying to saym,” tinks said.  (Who’s Tinks?  Is she related to Tonks at all?)
  • “Kepp this up mrs weasleyt, and you’ll find yourself in detention.  (When did Mrs. Weasley show up?  And what is kepp?)
  • “Yes professor,” ginny frinned.  (Maybe Ginny should try grinning instead of frinning.)
  • “We like encoruage trouble hermione,” geokrge said.  “I have a feelinh this potion is imporant.” (How many words can I misspell in one sentence?)
  • It was the best polalce to hide in the libraruy as she could actually be in the library without anyone finding her.  (*headdesk*)
  • “this isn’t air.” (*headdesk*)

It really is interesting (and funny) what I end up writing sometimes.  Other times I want to bang my head against a wall or find a cliff or something, but it’s really entertaining.  And whenever I need a good laugh, I know I can always go to previous NaNo’s.

The Children Of Henry VIII

Book: The Children Of Henry VIII

Pages/Format: 366/Paperback

My Thoughts: I thought this book deserved a re-read, especially since historical fiction is one of my new projects.

I really liked it, and found the relationships between his 3 children (plus Lady Jane Grey) really interesting.  There’s definitely a lot of material I can use.

Since I took notes, there were a lot of things that I noticed- one being how important religion was.  There was a lot of back and forth between the Catholics and the Protestants, which wasn’t a surprise, but still…a lot seemed to go back to religion.

One of the criticisms I have is that anytime medical issues were mentioned, different possibilities about what they were followed.  While I appreciate Weir’s attempt to be thorough, and mention the possibilities of what the different monarchs had, we can’t make assumptions because what we know may not be accurate.  What was recorded most likely isn’t the whole story, and how the doctors described something might not be how doctors today would describe something.  After all, we still have no idea what the sweating sickness was. 

A great example would be the times that Mary thought she was pregnant, and even showed signs she was pregnant, but actually wasn’t pregnant.  Weir goes through the different possibilities about what may have caused Mary’s false pregnancy, talking about how a phantom pregnancy was the most likely cause.

It’s not that I didn’t appreciate it, because I did.  It was interesting to read about the different theories about various illnesses they all had, but at the same time, it was frustrating because we can’t know for sure what they had.  I will give Weir the benefit of the doubt, and assume the different theories were in the sources Weir used when doing research for the book.

Another major issue I had was when she talked about Lady Jane Grey.  I was reading the part about Jane’s execution, and couldn’t figure out why it was so familiar.  And then I realized that the same passage was used in Innocent Traitor, nearly word for word!  She clearly used her own books as research for Innocent Traitor, which I don’t have a problem with, especially since Weir is known for writing about British monarchs.  But to use the exact same passage in a completely different book?  And not only that, but the wording in Innocent Traitor was almost exactly the same, if not entirely the same. 

Despite the couple criticisms I have, it was still a great book, and very informative.  I have several pages of notes, front and back, plus lots of highlighting and underlining, and even notes in the margins.  And I have quite a few questions and things I want to know more about.    

Rating: 4 out of 5.  I’d recommend it to anyone, especially those who like history or want to learn more about the relationships between Prince Edward, Mary, and Elizabeth.