Review: Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Everyone knows Abby Turner is in love with her best friend, Cooper Wells. Including Cooper Wells. But despite what people tell her, it doesn’t affect their friendship. And she’s practically over it, anyway. What she really can’t get over is when her boss at the local museum tells her that her paintings lack heart.

Art is Abby’s passion and she hopes her future as well. She is determined to change his mind and earn her way into the upcoming exhibit at the gallery. So along with her family’s help, she compiles “The Heart List,” a series of soulstretching experiences that are sure to make her a deeper person and better artist in six weeks or less. When Cooper decides to complete the list along with her, she realizes this list is expanding her heart in more ways than one. Maybe she needs to start another project.

Love, Life, and the List is about a girl who, in an effort to bring more emotional depth to her art, compiles a list of soul-stretching experiences to complete with her best friend—a boy she also happens to be in love with.

This is the first in a set of three standalone books with crossover characters.

I’m very stingy when it comes to spending my money on books, but if there’s one author I don’t hesitate to buy a book from it’s Kasie West. I know her books will always be super cute and make me happy and Love, Life, and the List did not let me down.

I loved how sarcastic Abby was. I loved the banter she had with pretty much every character in the book, but especially her equally sarcastic grandfather. I also found her mother to be a pretty empathetic character. She’s overly anxious and has some agoraphobic tendencies that I relate to all too well. I liked that the book didn’t just include Abby’s growth, but her family’s as well.

I loved the friendship between Abby and Cooper. There was a little while there when I was actually rooting for them to just stay friends and for no romance to really be involved. But, I don’t feel like it’s a spoiler to say there is a romantic Happily Ever After involved and that it was cute and a little bit cheesy and I loved it. I also liked how Abby made a few more friends in the book with Elliot and Lacey.

I wasn’t really sure what I would think of the list plotline. To be honest, it didn’t seem real interesting to me when I read the synopsis, but I ended up liking it. When she gets turned down for an art show because her paintings lack heart, her boss tells her that some more life experience will get her there eventually. She decides to try and speed up the life experience process by making the list. She also includes tasks inspired by people who have qualities she admires. I actually thought this was a really productive way to try and enrich one’s life. I think a lot of us say we want to try to be a better person, but don’t actually come up with ways to do that. I felt like this was a perfect book to read at the end of the year when we all try to come up with resolutions to do better in the future.

Overall, I really enjoyed Love, Life, and the List. It was so cute and I loved the friendship and the banter. It was everything I expect out of a Kasie West book and I definitely recommend it to fans of hers and Contemporary YA.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: December 2017

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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The Bird and the Sword (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #1) by Amy Harmon. Read December 2-3. 4 Stars. 

This started out a little confusing. And I have to admit that I was still a little confused throughout the novel. However, I still loved it! I loved Lark and Tiras so much. I loved their banter and their romance. I also really enjoyed Boojohni. This was a much different book than the other ones by Amy Harmon I’ve read, but it was still beautifully written, just like what I expect from her. I borrowed this book from a friend (Thanks Brandie!!!), but I think I’m going to have to get a copy of my own because I know I will want to read it again. I’m really looking forward to the next book, though I am a little sad that Lark and Tiras aren’t the focus of it.

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The Queen and the Cure (The Bird and the Sword Chronicles #2) by Amy Harmon. Read December 3-7. 3 Stars. 

Well, there is obviously something wrong with me. Almost every review I’ve read have said how this book was even better than the first in the series, but I didn’t think that at all. Don’t get me wrong, it was still good. I just liked The Bird and the Sword better. I never really fell in love with Kjell and Sasha the way I did with Tiras and Lark. Still, if Harmon writes more in this series I will read it.

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Roomies by Christian Lauren. Read December 8-10. 3.5 Stars.

This started out a little slow for me, but then when I got further into it I found it pretty addicting. That’s the thing about the Christina Lauren books I’ve read – even if I’m not loving the story, I still find it compulsively readable.

I liked both Holland and Calvin. I liked the fake relationship/marriage of convenience idea. There were lots of cute and/or funny moments. But I also feel like parts dragged on a little too long. There were large sections where I felt like I was waiting a long time for something to actually happen. I also did not like how open the ending was. Overall, though, it was a fun book.

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Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer. Read December 13-17. 3.5 Stars. 

A fun and quirky story full of the ups and downs of online dating. Match Made in Manhattan was an entertaining and often addicting read. Full review to come in January.

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By The Book by Julia Sonneborn. Read December 20-23. 2.5 Stars.

Persuasion is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels and I am always ready to jump on board a re-telling. Unfortunately, By the Book did not really live up to my expectations. Full review to come in January.

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Let Me Lie by Claire Mackintosh. Read December 24-28. 4 Stars. 

I really enjoyed Let Me Lie. I loved the way the multiple narrators were utilized and thought the twists were very well done. The pacing did feel a little slow in the beginning, but it definitely picked up as the book went on. I also really empathized with some of the emotions Anna tried to work through. I’m really looking forward to whatever Mackintosh does next. Full review to come closer to release date.

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Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West. Read December 29-30. 4 Stars. 

I’m very stingy when it comes to spending my money on books, but if there’s one author I don’t hesitate to buy a book from it’s Kasie West. I know her books will always be super cute and make happy and Love, Life, and the List did not let me down. Full review to post next week.

********Back on the TBR********

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Friend Request by Laura Marshall, Miracle on 5th Avenue by Sarah Morgan, Holiday Spice (The Shaugnnessy Brothers #6) by Samantha Chase. I just wasn’t in the mood for any of those, despite being super excited that a Sarah Morgan book was actually at the library. I will give them all another try, though!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books On My Winter TBR. I’ve been an extremely moody reader lately, so I may not stick to these, but they’re all ones I’m hoping to read.

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1. Roomies by Christina Lauren – publishing 12/5/17. I loved the last book I read by this author duo, Dating You/Hating You, and I have high hopes for this one.

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2. Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills – publishing 12/5/17. I absolutely adore her other books and I can’t wait for this one!

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3. Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West – publishing 12/26/17. I love Kasie West books.

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4. Iron Gold by Pierce Brown – publishing 1/16/18. I am so excited for this!!! I probably should add the first three books to this list because I feel like I need a re-read before going into this so I can fully appreciate it.

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5. Runaway Groom (I Do, I Don’t #2) by Lauren Layne – publishing 1/30/18. I really enjoyed the first book in this series. Lauren Layne has become one of my favorite Contemporary Romance authors.

6. The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon – publishing 2/13/18. No cover yet, but that doesn’t matter. If it’s by Amy Harmon, I want to read it!

7. The Comfort Zone by Sally Thorne – publishing 2/20/18. No cover yet for this either. I adored The Hating Game and have been eagerly anticipating Thorne’s next book ever since.

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8. Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi – publishing 3/6/18. Though re-reads have made me lower my original very high opinion of these books, I am still very excited for this series to continue. I will never be sad about getting more Warner!

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9. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover -published 10/3/17. Brandie from Running on Words and Wine gifted me a copy of this for my birthday! I am not a huge CoHo fan, but Brandie said this one was a little different than her normal books and thought I would like it. Thanks again Brandie!

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10. Match Made in Manhattan by Amanda Stauffer – publishing 1/23/18. I got a physical ARC of this from the author so I really want to get this read soon. I’ve been such a moody reader lately that I’ve mostly avoided all my ARCs because I’m afraid my bad mood will negatively impact any book I read and I want to be as fair as possible with ARCs.

What books are you looking forward to reading this Winter?