February 2018 TBR

Hello, lovely readers!

I’m here today to talk about the four books on my February to be read list. I apologize that I haven’t gotten my wrap up for January up yet, but I haven’t been feeling well and haven’t gotten the chance to sit down and type it up. I hope to have it out for you all tomorrow!

February TBR

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black – I didn’t manage to make it to this one in January, but still really, really want to read it! This is the first book in a new, young adult fantasy fae series that I have heard incredible things about! I believe it’s about a girl who has grown up in the high court of the fae. I really don’t know much more about it, but I kind of want to keep it that way!

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes – This is the third book in the Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes. And although I wasn’t in love with the last book, I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I’m excited to see where the plot is going and what is going to happen with the characters.

Run Away With Me by Mila Gray – I read the second book in this series in January and would love to continue on. I’ve loved both of the books in this series so far, and cannot wait to read more. This is a series of companion novels, and I really don’t know much about this last book. The last two have centered around military and loss and it’s so good. I can’t wait!

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – I was supposed to read this book last year. I read about 100 pages of it for a buddy read with my friend Heidi, but for some reason never finished it. The Rest of Us Just Live Here is a young adult fantasy book that follows the “other” characters. Not the chosen ones, but the like little side characters.

What do you plan to read this month?

happy reading,


The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

Publication: May 5, 2015

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: Purchased Paperback

Pages: 343 pages

Rating: 2 sm

When Gia Montgomery’s boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she’d been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.

The problem is that days after prom, it’s not the real Bradley she’s thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn’t even know. But tracking him down doesn’t mean they’re done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend’s graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.

Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.

“I don’t like the words ‘I’m fine’. My mom tells me those two words are the most-frequently-told lie in the English language.”

The Fill-In Boyfriend was not great. The more I think about it, the less that I like it. I feel like maybe I’ve outgrown these more shallow type young adult contemporary stories. The Fill-In Boyfriend follows a high school senior who is pretty and popular. She gets dumped in the parking lot at prom by her college-aged boyfriend. And honestly? Good on Bradley for breaking up with Gia. She really was this self-centered girl who only cared about how hot he was and showing up her “friend” Jules, who had apparently been challenging whether Bradley actually existed? Excuse me while I stand in the corner and cringe.

This was a quick read, it only took me a few days, and if I had the chance to sit down and read it in one sitting, I probably would have. However, I couldn’t connect to the story or the characters. The writing felt juvenile and lackluster. That being said, I did find the romance to be kind of cute.

Oh man, the characters in this book. I just. I couldn’t connect to them. I found Gia, our main character, to be shallow and annoying. Most of her problems or issues throughout the novel were things she brought on herself. And those that she didn’t, were so cliche. We had, “this girl hates me and is trying to sabotage my life” and “omg which boy do I really like”. Some of her issues could have been solved if Gia had simply just told the damn truth. However, I did like how she developed as a character. I feel like by the end of the book, she wasn’t the same shallow girl she had been in the beginning.

Hayden was the only character I didn’t really have an issue with. His sister, Bec, was alright at times but was extremely immature and hypocritical 90% of the time. Gia’s brother was an asshole. Her parents were dismissive, and her friends were seriously shitty.

Overall, I would not recommend this book. I’m sad to say that I didn’t enjoy this because I’ve heard so many good things about Kasie West’s novels. I do own another book by her and plan to give it a try. I have read some reviews of people who didn’t enjoy The Fill-In Boyfriend but have enjoyed other things by this author. Hopefully, I will enjoy another story by her!

*The image and synopsis were both taken from Goodreads. Clicking on the “add to Goodreads” image above will take you to the Goodreads page for this book.*

What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

Publication: July 11, 2017

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Format: Purchased Hardcover

Pages: 288 pages

Rating: 4 sm

Sometimes a new perspective is all that is needed to make sense of the world.

KIT: I don’t know why I decide not to sit with Annie and Violet at lunch. It feels like no one here gets what I’m going through. How could they? I don’t even understand.

DAVID: In the 622 days I’ve attended Mapleview High, Kit Lowell is the first person to sit at my lunch table. I mean, I’ve never once sat with someone until now. “So your dad is dead,” I say to Kit, because this is a fact I’ve recently learned about her. 

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth?

“I think about my dad’s favorite expression: People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. What is my house made of? Paper, I decide. Like in a pop-up book. Easily collapsible.”

Julie Buxbaum has done it again. I read this book in one day (with the exception of the 50 pages I read the night before). And for the most part, I read it in one sitting, only to break for food with a friend. Her books are just so sweet. I love her characters, her writing style that makes the books fly by, and her story telling. Not to mention, this book has some moments I was actually laughing out loud. And a few where I almost cried.

David Drucker is the sweetest cutie on the planet. I just want to hug him and love him for forever. I’ll stop now because I could go on like that for a long time. David has Asperger’s syndrome, though it’s only really mentioned a couple of times, and kind of brushed off by him. I don’t have much experience with autism, so I can’t say how accurate the representation was, but it was nice to read about a character with high functioning autism. I don’t believe I’ve ever read about a character with autism before.

David is very sweet, funny, and passionate about science. He undergoes some really traumatic things in this book, things he definitely did not deserve. I know high school kids can be mean (I mean, it’s only been almost seven years since I graduated), but damn.

Kit, at the beginning of the book, has recently lost her father in a car accident. She’s a character that I related to really well. I lost my father in high school, and could totally relate to her grief and feelings of dissociation. I feel like she didn’t go through gobs of character development, but she did work through her grief a little. I did appreciate that.

There are some occasions in which she stands up for David, and doesn’t let the fear of what people might think of their friendship get in the way. I really appreciated that, because I feel like anytime we see a character who is not neurotypical, the character that befriends them, at some point, feels embarrassed to be their friend. I never got that vibe from Kit.

Now, this could have totally been a five star book for me. It was definitely well on it’s way. However, I thought the plot twist at the end was not needed. While it did surprise me, and I wasn’t expecting it, it felt like too much. Along with that, the constant talk of how attractive the other was felt a little unnatural. We get it, he/she is cute. You don’t have to mention it literally every chapter.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s chalk full of cute, sweet moments. It’s full of so many other things like grief, friendships, family relationships, romantic relationships, discovering yourself, etc. The book was so engrossing, I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next. I can’t wait to read more from Buxbaum.

*The image and synopsis were both taken from Goodreads. Clicking on the “add to Goodreads” image above will take you to the Goodreads page for this book.*

The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel


Publication: November 3, 2015

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Series: The Book of Ivy Duology, Book Two

Format: Paperback

Pages: 288 pages

Rating: 5 sm

Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty–forced marriages and murder plots–for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall’s borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy’s life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she’s fought for.

“That’s what love is, though, isn’t it? You don’t stop loving someone just because they disappoint you.”

Trigger warnings for mentions of rape, murder, and suicide. If this triggers you in any way, I do not recommend picking this book up. Please beware and take care of yourselves. ❤

The Revolution of Ivy picks up just after the first book, when Ivy has been put out. She has nothing but the clothes on her back and has to learn how to navigate a completely new part of the world. She has to learn how to survive, and deal with the brutal people on the outside of the fence.

I thought this was a wonderful second book, and a great conclusion to the story. Again, most of this book isn’t action driven. The beginning a little, because Ivy is learning how to survive in what is essentially a new world. And the ending, because so much happens in the last fifty pages or so.

Again, I really loved the characters in this book. I can’t stand how much I love Ivy’s character development. I remember being slightly frustrated in the first book because I felt she was so brainwashed by her family. So willing to sacrifice herself for people who could barely love her back. If they even did that. She has a sort of awakening in this book that I really, really appreciated. However, that brings other issues to light that I think she works through well throughout the novel. I loved watching Ivy struggle and discover who she is and what it means to live in this post-war, post-apocalyptic world they live in.

Bishop. Oh, my little baby Bishop. He is top notch book boyfriend material, people. Seriously, there’s this huge “bad boy turned good boy” trope in Young Adult literature. And while I love that trope, and enjoy books that contain it, it’s nice to have a male character who is just good from the beginning. There’s no miracle girl that changes his ways and makes him a better person. He just is. I love his devotion and love to Ivy. I just. Ugh. I could gush about this romance for the rest of my life if someone would let me.

On top of that, we were introduced to new characters. People outside the fence that I loved, and one that I wanted to stab every time he was on the page. Once again, I loved Amy Engel’s writing. The story flowed so well and was at a perfect pace.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this sequel. This was such a wonderful duology, and is one of my new favorites. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about either book since I read them, and already want to reread them. And make everyone I know read them.

*The image and synopsis were both taken from Goodreads. Clicking on the “add to Goodreads” image above will take you to the Goodreads page for this book.*

Bout of Books 21 Progress Updates

Hello, lovely readers!

This will be my master post for Bout of Books 21 updates. I hope you’re all getting plenty of reading done! This post will have updates for days one through six. I will post a wrap up after day seven.

Let me know in the comments how you are doing so far!

Day One – Monday – January 8, 2018

Pages Read: 238 pages

Books Finished: None yet!

Currently Reading: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

My Thoughts: I forgot how much I enjoyed Falling Kingdoms the first time that I read it. The audio book is really enjoyable, I think the narrator does a fantastic job! (And that’s coming from someone who is really picky about audio book narrators.) It’s also been nice to listen to an audio book, as I’ve been trying to finish up a few last minute gifts. Next, I plan to listen to the rest of the Falling Kingdoms audiobook. After that, I will pick something else up. I’m leaning toward either Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, or The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. My husband picked Six of Crows as my book to read, and I did start it the other night. I just feel kind of iffy about it right now. I also have a copy of the audio book for Cinder by Marissa Meyer from the library right now too. We shall see!

Day Two – Tuesday – January 9, 2018

Pages Read: 412 pages

Books Finished: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Currently Reading: Nothing!

My Thoughts: On Day 2, I managed to finish the audio book for Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes. I rated it ★ and you can find my review from four years ago here. I had to work both jobs and spent a good portion of my evening playing video games with friends, so I didn’t pick anything else up yet. I still can’t decide what to read next! I did read a little more of Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo while I was at the second job. I’m not sure I’m in the mood for it, so I didn’t count those pages and am going to set it aside for later in the year. I’m leaning toward either picking up Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes or a contemporary!

Day Three – Wednesday – January 10, 2018

Pages Read: 492 pages

Books Finished: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Currently Reading: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

My Thoughts: I’ve heard so many good things about Kasie West’s books. Along the lines of how cute her young adult contemporary is. So I was so excited to finally be picking up a Kasie West novel! I’m about 80 pages in so far, and I’m just so underwhelmed by it. I don’t know if maybe I set my expectations too high, or what, but I’m just not enjoying the writing. Or the characters. Or really anything. I’m still interested by the premise, and plan to finish the book. Hopefully I will enjoy it more the further I get in! On a side note, I’ve also read reviews saying people didn’t like this book as much as some of her others; so if I end up not liking this, I will probably still read something else by her. Sometimes that happens, sometimes you just don’t like a certain book by an author but you enjoy other things they’ve written.

Day Four – Thursday – January 11, 2018

Pages Read: 632 pages

Books Finished: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Currently Reading: The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

My Thoughts: Okay, so now that I’m over half way through this book my opinions have changed slightly. But only slightly. I still find the actions of most of the characters incredibly petty and annoying. In fact, I can’t stand the majority of the characters in this book. I do really like Fill-In Bradley, and don’t really have any complaints about him. Gia is growing on me a little more as she’s starting to develop as a character. I don’t mind Bec sometimes, but I think even she acts incredibly immature 80% of the time. I think I’m going to end up liking Gia more than disliking her, if her character development continues in the direction that it is headed. I plan to finish this book tomorrow, but it will be a busy day. We will be traveling to visit family tomorrow, and possibly a friend. I’m not sure how much reading I will get done.

Day Five – Friday – January 12, 2018

Pages Read: 817 pages

Books Finished: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West, Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Currently Reading: Nothing!

My Thoughts: Day five was kind of a weird day. I woke up late, and then laid in bed and finished reading The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. I did end up enjoying it a little more by the end of the book, but it definitely still had its issues. After that, we had to finish getting ready for our trip this weekend. I managed to read Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell on the drive but spent the rest of the evening just hanging out with my family. We have more family coming in today, so I probably won’t get much reading done for day six, but I will try my best.

Day Six – Saturday – January 13, 2018

Pages Read: 817 pages

Books Finished: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West, Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Currently Reading: Nothing!

My Thoughts: As predicted, I didn’t get any reading done on day six. I spent the day hanging out with family. I may get a little more reading done on day seven, as we’re driving home today. We have a few stops to make, but as long as I don’t have any motion sickness while we’re driving, I’ll be reading!

happy reading,

The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

wflp3raPublication: November 4, 2014

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Series: The Book of Ivy Duology, Book One

Format: Paperback

Pages: 282 pages

Rating: 5 sm

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual. 

This year, it is my turn. 

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power. 

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

“For the first time, it sinks in that the horrors beyond the fence are the same as those inside it. People. And the brutal things we do to one another.”

Trigger warnings for mentions of rape, murder, and suicide. If this triggers you in any way, I do not recommend picking this book up. Please beware and take care of yourselves. ❤

This is one of my favorite books of all time (series too, since I read both books in a week). It certainly reminded me of what I love about dystopian novels. The questions they can bring to my mind about our society and what could cause these things to happen.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that’s made me think as much as this one did. It was such a thought provoking book, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since I finished. It brought to mind questions about what is right and what is wrong. But also how life is too messy for things to be one way or the other. Sometimes there is this messy gray area that no one really wants to actually talk about. It was refreshing to have a light shown on it.

The Book of Ivy is about two teens on opposite sides of a political war. While I think that it would have been nice to get a little more world building, I think it had a fairly nice set up at the beginning of the book. There was a nuclear war that left most of the United States in ruin. A small group came together, and then there was an internal war over who would be in power over the people.

Sixteen year old Ivy, is the from the founding family. The daughter of the man who’s father founded Westfall. She’s raised into this household, made to believe that the Lattimer’s are bad and that they don’t care about the people in their community. Bishop, is the seemingly spoiled son of President Lattimer, the leader of their town. A man who believes in the rules and regulations put in place in their community. Both are not exactly who they appear to be.

The romance in this book is slow burning, and in my opinion, was perfect for this story. I absolutely loved Amy Engel’s writing, and the way that she chose to tell this story. It’s definitely more of a character driven plot, than an action driven plot. But I think that worked really well for this particular book.

Overall, I would definitely recommend picking this up. I need more books by Amy Engel now.

*The image and synopsis were both taken from Goodreads. Clicking on the “add to Goodreads” image above will take you to the Goodreads page for this book.*

Bout of Books 21 | Announcement

Hello, lovely readers!

I’m super excited to announce that I plan to participate in Bout of Books 21. If you would like to know more about this readathon, head on over to the Bout of Books website. Anything you want to know about the readathon can be found there, you can also sign up there if you would like to participate. They give out a grand prize each readathon, but you have to sign up to have a chance to win!

I have participated in Bout of Books before, but it’s been awhile, so I’m really excited to be doing it again! It’s a big event for the online book community that gives you the chance to meet other bloggers and readers. Bout of Books is a low key, week long readathon in which you set your own goals.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 8th and runs through Sunday, January 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 21 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team


Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes – This will actually be a reread for me. I read Falling Kingdoms for the first time in 2014, and really enjoyed it. I’ve been meaning to continue on with the series since, but for some reason I just haven’t. I would really love to continue with the series this year, but feel in order to do that I need to reread Falling Kingdoms. I just don’t feel comfortable jumping into the second book when it’s been just over three years since I read the first.

Mystery Book – I’ve had this weird idea to let my husband choose what I read next. I struggled to read in 2017, and I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that I just couldn’t decide what to read most of the time. I’ve made a shelf of books that I want to read soon, and I’m going to let him pick a book from there. I guess we will find out what he picks soon!

I’m really not sure how much reading I will get done. I work throughout the week, and we have plans to see family over the weekend. But I’m hoping to at least finish one book during the week. Anything over that I will consider icing on the cake!

Are you participating in Bout of Books? If so, what are you planning to read? If you have an announcement/to be read post, feel free to post it in the comments so I can check it out!

happy reading,

the girl and the books