A New Addition…

So, obviously summer is coming to an end and that means I will be going back to college. Sadly, college means less time for reading and reviewing books, but instead of forsaking my hobby entirely, I thought it would be a fun opportunity to change things up a bit on this blog. Sometime around mid-August, I am going to start Fangirl Fridays, which will be a once a week post where I will write about upcoming books/bookish events that I am super excited for, occasionally share playlists I created for series that I love, and post short reviews of books that I read but don’t have time to fully review while school is in. I also intend to start doing gif emotion reviews for the books that really get me in the fangirl in addition to my short and full reviews.

My hope for Fangirl Fridays is that it will be a fun way to liven up my blog and make it more enjoyable for all of you readers who’ve been with me these past couple of years. Thanks so much for you sticking with me!



The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

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“The Fill-In Boyfriend” by Kasie West

5 out of 5 stars.

Smart, pretty, and popular, Gia Montgomery has always had a seemingly perfect life, but lately acting like everything is perfect has been wearing her down, especially with Jules trying to trip up her every step. Jules has been tirelessly attempting to turn Gia’s friends against her ever since she joined the group, and prom was Gia’s last chance to prove to her friends that Jules has been manipulating them into thinking she’s a liar. But Gia’s final hope of disproving Jules’ lies went out the window when her boyfriend, Bradley, dumped her in the parking lot of her high school, just minutes before senior prom. Gia doesn’t know if her friends will believe her when she tells them that Bradley dumped her in the parking lot, or if they’ll choose to believe Jules’ lies and think that she had been pretending to have a boyfriend all this time. But then Gia meets a boy in her school’s parking lot and she comes up with a plan: ask him to be her fill-in date for the night.

What was supposed to be a just one white lie for Gia and her fill-in date turns into another when she poses as his girlfriend at his ex’s party. Her fill-in boyfriend is sweet and charming, and as Gia spends more time with him and his sister, she begins to realize that being perfect isn’t what life is really about. For a while it feels nice to get to know people who see her and can be real with her in return, but then Gia’s growing web of lies comes back to haunt her. Gia doesn’t know how to tell the truth to her friends without losing them completely, and in the process she is starting to lose the boy that she has begun to care for as more than a friend. After hiding the truth for so long and pretending to be something she’s not, Gia realizes that perfection isn’t possible, and she wants to discover what real can mean in her relationships. That is, if she has anyone left after the truth is done with her.

This book was a serious cuteness overload in the best kind of way! I read it over the course of an afternoon, and “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was exactly what I needed. Normally I’m not a huge contemporary fan, but Kasie West always hits the spot for me and “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was no exception to the rule. I even ended up loving this book enough that I went and bought it the following week on a jaunt to Barnes and Noble!

I really loved how Kasie West wrote Gia Montgomery in “The Fill-In Boyfriend.” Normally female characters like Gia annoy me in stories because of how unaware they are of other people’s’ feelings and only care about how they are perceived by others. The way Kasie wrote Gia, however, made me feel bad for her because of how insecure she was in her friendships and familial relationships. Gia wasn’t viscous or spiteful, but she did have moments where she was really self-absorbed and couldn’t see beyond her own issues, and yet I didn’t mind her character at all. I wanted to see Gia grow as a person and become more secure in herself so she didn’t feel the need to lie and pretend like she was perfect to be accepted. Kasie West did such a fantastic job of writing Gia so that she was an enjoyable female character despite her flaws, and I loved seeing her grow as an individual. I especially liked the dynamic that Kasie created between Gia and her new friends.

Good Lord, I adored the love interest Kasie wrote for Gia!

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I won’t tell you his name because that’s part of the story, but I’ll just say that I LOVED this boy. Nameless Boy was such a charming, sweet, and funny friend turned love interest that I couldn’t help but fall for him. Nameless Boy had a really good heart, and even when he did a couple of stupid things, I still loved him because he was a really great person. He and Gia were fabulously funny together in this book, and I also really liked how Nameless Boy made Gia start to think outside of herself and helped her to understand that she didn’t pretend to be perfect with people who were true friends. I loved that Kasie wrote a male character like Nameless Boy, and I absolutely adored his and Gia’s relationship in “The Fill-In Boyfriend.”

The romance is this book was so sweet and adorable. Nameless Boy and Gia were great together, and I loved that they started out as being kind of friends whose relationship evolve slowly into something more. Everything about this book and Gia’s and Nameless Boy’s relationship had me smiling from ear to eat because of  how stinkin’ cute it all was!


But “The Fill-In Boyfriend” wasn’t all fun and games despite its smile-inducing charm, and it was refreshing to read a book that was funny and sweet while still having a purpose. Social media can be brutal in this day and age and it can also cause a lot of us to become really self-absorbed, superficial, and/or self-conscious. I just loved how Kasie West dealt with this particular topic, and I thought that she really got her point across without having to make an overly dramatic story. Kasie kept “The Fill-In Boyfriend” sweet and fun while dealing with heavier issues, and I honestly loved everything about this book.

Another thing that I liked about “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was that Nameless Boy and Gia seemed like more mature high schoolers compared to a lot of contemporary books that I’ve read as of late. He and Gia felt like they were seniors rather than petulant children. Sure, they were still really young and had a some drama go on between them, but nothing compared to a lot of the other books I’ve read in the chick lit/contemporary genres. Even when there was drama, though, I felt like it was well-founded in the fact that considering social media stuff and how viscous people can be, that the situations Kasie created seemed more realistic. Again, I want to commend Kasie West for masterfully writing a mature, yet clean, high school story that was as fun as it was heartwarming. I loved seeing Gia grow as a person, and it was really sweet seeing her relationship with Nameless Boy evolve. I also loved that she found another female friend that she grew to trust with her true self, not with the perfected facade meant to hide her flaws.

I could go on and on with how much I love this contemporary book, but I’ll end this review by telling you to go out and either buy, borrow, or get it from the library. “The Fill-In Boyfriend” was squeaky clean fun that had a lot of heart to it. I love this book so much, and I also grew to love all of Kasie’s characters and their perfect imperfections.

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The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson (Fairy Tales #6)

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“The Golden Braid” by Melanie Dickerson

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: November 17th, 2015

4 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Summary:

The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower.

Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read.

After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted.

After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige.

But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.

Thank you Thomas Nelson and Kerri Potts for being willing to send me a review ARC of “The Golden Braid.” In no way has this affected my review.

 Gosh, this was a cute book! I absolutely adore the original “Rapunzel” fairy tale, so I was really excited to read “The Golden Braid” and find it to be super enjoyable! “The Golden Braid” was a very sweet and endearing retelling of the old fairy tale, and I really enjoyed reading it and getting to know Melanie’s newest cast of characters.

Rapunzel was a very endearing heroine, and I liked that Melanie Dickerson wrote a female character who was as sweet as she was strong. Normally the female characters in fairy tales are the ones who are portrayed as male-dependant and are only marriage minded, especially when they take place during the medieval times. That was the culture of the time, so I get why authors usually write females that way, but the truth of that time doesn’t always make for the strongest of heroines. Melanie, however, made Rapunzel a far more balance character by having her save the hero of this story at one point and desire things like education and more independence. Rapunzel wanted to learn to read and write, something that very rarely taught to anyone outside of the upper classes, and even more seldom to women, during the middle ages. Despite that, however, Rapunzel was determined to learn all she could about the world, especially how to read and write. She was a really sweet character in “The Golden Braid” but she was also determined to search out as much life as possible, and I felt like Rapunzel had a good balance of feminine and independent qualities for the era she grew up in.

Besides the fact that I liked Rapunzel’s balance of being a good example of how femininity and gentleness are types of strength, I really enjoyed seeing her evolve as a character. Her mother, Gothel, was vehemently against men and she raised Rapunzel to believe that all men are wicked and only wanted to hurt females. Rapunzel was more skeptical towards the male sex because of that and even though she was not as extreme as her mother in her beliefs, it affected her outlook on life. I really liked this aspect because it kept Rapunzel from being obsessive over finding a man to take care of her; she learned to be independent, and although she wasn’t against finding someone to love someday, that wasn’t not her heart’s only desire. l found that really refreshing and it was nice to see a female character with other desires and goals that she wanted to accomplish, and who didn’t obsess over the potential love interest.

Sir Gerek was no Flynn Rider (A.K.A. My soul mate) but he was still a really good male character. He was definitely rough around the edges and a bit gruff, and he and Rapunzel did not hit it off right away because of his more abrasive demeanor. Gerek, although seemingly tough and standoffish, ended up being a really great character with a kind side to him, and I even liked that he initially distanced himself from Rapunzel because it meant that there was no insta-love between them. With both of their more twisted and broken growing up experiences, Rapunzel and Gerek were not the “dive in love” kind of characters, and that was super refreshing from the insta-love romances that have saturated the YA and Adult fiction markets in the past. Gerek was, to begin with, a bit of an oaf in the fact that he didn’t like being saved by Rapunzel and having to teach her to read German and Latin as repayment for her helping him, but as he got to know Rapunzel, he began to really appreciate and admire her for her kindness and natural intelligence. Obviously I didn’t like his initial oafishness towards Rapunzel besides the fact that it prevented love at first sight from occurring, but I did love that I got to see so much character growth on the part of Sir Gerek.

I ended up enjoyed this book a lot because of Melanie’s great characters and the romance that never felt forced. I love that authors are beginning to realize that most readers want to see character growth and for the hero and heroine to slowly learn to care for one another, rather than empty-headed protagonists who fall instantly in love. “The Golden Braid” had a romance in it, yet I never felt like Melanie tried to foist upon me some nauseatingly forced love story that was trying to be ridiculously “perfect.” Yeah, there were times when this story was maybe a little too sweet and situations a bit too convenient, but it was a fairy tale, after all, and that is to be expected. I liked neither Rapunzel nor Gerek ever pursued anything up until three-quarters of the way through “The Golden Braid,” and so when the romance finally happen, it felt more believable than a lot of other books I’ve read in the past within this books genre.


I liked that the romance between Gerek and Rapunzel slowly bloomed, and another thing that I enjoyed about “The Golden Braid” was how it connected to the previous book, “The Princess Spy.”

“The Golden Braid” and “The Princess Spy” by Melanie Dickerson overlapped one another in this series, and I really enjoyed that aspect. It was interesting to see the previous book’s situations from different characters’ perspectives, and I thought that it was creative of Melanie to do that because of how interconnected the whole series already was. One of my favorite parts of reading this book was figuring out how different scenes in this book aligned with ones from “The Princess Spy.” It was fun to see what was happening behind the scenes when Hagenheim was being taken over by Lord Claybrook, who I had gotten to know in “The Princess Spy.” (No worries, that’s not a spoiler!)

“The Golden Braid” is definitely my favorite Melanie Dickerson book in her “Fairy Tales” series, and I had such a great time getting to know these new characters. I would recommend it to all YA readers, young or old, because of what a quick, fun read it is, and I am so excited that someone wrote another wonderful version of my favorite fairy tale. Well done!

Starflight by Melissa Landers (Starflight #1)

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“Starflight” by Melissa Landers

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Release Date: February 2nd, 2016

Writing Quality: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

How much I enjoyed it: 2 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Goodreads Summary:

“Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world–and each other–the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…”

I just want to say thank you to Disney-Hyperion and the lovely lady who allowed me to borrow a galley of “Starflight.” In no way has this affected my review. In all fairness, “Starflight” was a pretty good book. Melissa is a good writer who created a fast, readable book, but I personally didn’t fall in love with this story or its characters. There was just something missing for me in the main and secondary characters, and that prevented me from connecting with them in “Starflight.” Besides them missing something to make me like them, they were kind of irritating at times and there wasn’t anything that endeared them to me while I read this book; they felt a little two-dimensional, so I lacked the attachment to root for them and feel involved in the story. I also didn’t buy into the romance due to my lack of emotional connection with these characters and their circumstances. I have a felling that a lot of people will like this book and its characters, but sadly I am not one of them right now.

Melissa did do a good job of making sure that this book’s pacing didn’t drag, and I was able to read it over the course of an evening. It was entertaining, but again, there was nothing in particular that drew me into the story and the world she had created, so I remained very distant. Melissa Landers’ world in this book was interesting, if a bit generic, which would have been fine if I had found something, anything, to make me grow fond of this book. Generic and reused it okay, and I don’t usually call people out on it if I find something in their work that I end up loving. Not all of us have perfectly original ideas, and that’s okay, but what I look for in these recycled stories is at least one character or an environment/world that draws me in, makes me root for that character or world to rise above the difficult circumstances set before them. In “Starflight,” I felt like it was “Firefly” meet “Guardians of the Galaxy” minus the endearing characters and humor. Neither of those entertainment pieces are perfectly original, but there are elements to them that make their stories and characters really stand out in my mind. “Starflight” was good for what it was going for, it just didn’t stand out to me, and it wasn’t the kind of science fiction or romantic adventure story that I like.

If you like Melissa Landers’ “Alienated” series, then I’m pretty sure you’ll like this one. I haven’t read her other books, but from what I’ve heard about them and read in “Starflight,” the two series are similarly written (adventure stories, alien science fiction, romance, random crude humor dispersed throughout, the last one being a major turn-off for me, personally). I love alien stories (thank you, Roswell!) and various types of science fiction, but “Starflight” and its characters just did not do it for me. “Starflight” was a well-written story, and I’m sure that a lot of other people will like this book, it just wasn’t for me.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #2)

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 “P.S. I Still Love You” by Jenny Han

 3 out of 5 stars.

Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky were just pretending to be in love, but as time passed, it became less of a show for those around and more of a secret they shared. They were pretending, yet it was the most real thing that Lara Jean had ever experienced, and what’s worse is that she never got the chance to tell Peter just how real she wanted them to be before everything fell apart.

Lara Jean can’t stand the idea of saying goodbye to Peter forever, so she decides to write one last love letter, but this time it’s a letter of admission rather than resignation. Everything seems to be finally falling into place when Lara Jean and Peter reconcile, but when she starts to get harassed at school, Lara Jean wonders if something real is really worth all of the pain it can cause. To complicate matters even more, Lara Jean discovers that Peter has unresolved feelings toward his ex, and John Ambrose McClaren, her old crush, comes to town. Trying to understand herself and figure out where she stands with Peter, Lara Jean begins to understand just how wonderful and difficult something real can be.

Disappointing is the word that comes to mind when I think about “P.S. I Still Love You.” If any of you have read my “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” review, then you know that I LOVED the first book and was really looking forward to seeing how Lara Jean’s and Peter’s story was going to end. Me and my sister were ecstatic when “P.S. I Love You” came in the mail, but alas, it did not live up to its predecessor!

When I picked up “P.S. I Still Love You,” I had the first book fresh in my mind because I had just reread it in preparation for this book’s release. “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han had warmed my heart, made me laugh and cry, and it was a lovely story about a young girl figuring out who she was so that she could come into her own. I had expected for those lovely themes to be transferred over into “P.S. I Still Love You” so that readers could see Lara Jean bloom into an even more lovely person and find her happy ending with the one who she loved. Instead, what I got was a shockingly odd shift in tone and theme from the first book.

Why I loved “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” was because of how sweetly endearing it was. It was the perfect fluff story that just captured my heart and made me laugh and cry alongside the characters within it. Despite all of the delightful fluffiness of it, though, “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” also dealt with some pretty big topics that occur during most teens’ high school years. High schools are a jungle and sweet little Lara Jean didn’t come out unscathed in her’s, yet Jenny Han somehow managed to keep the tone of her book fairly light while introducing heavier topics that most teenagers deal with, and I loved that! All of that being said, why “P.S. I Still Love You” was such a disappointment for me was because there was neither the sweetness nor the endearment of the first book in it, plus it had every social issue a high schooler could possibly encounter in a 336 paged book.

Another thing that was really disappointing to me was that I didn’t laugh while reading this book, and there was only one scene that actually made me smile and it didn’t even involve Peter! “P.S. I Still Love You” was such a departure from “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” that it felt it belonged to an entirely different series, and that was really frustrating because I had loved the tone and the approach of the first book so much. I had to trudge through the first half of this book, and by the time I got to the halfway point, I was disillusion enough that I did not care what was going to happen at the end. One the hugest reasons for my lack of warm feelings towards “P.S. I Still Love You” was that Jenny Han really wrecked the character Peter Kavinsky.

I had fallen in love with Peter Kavinsky in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” I loved that he and Lara Jean had so much fun together and were friends before their relationship blossomed into something more. I loved laughing when Peter took Lara Jean to the antique sale, and how kindly he treated Kitty. Peter had his faults in “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” but he made up for them with his sweet heart. In “P.S. I Still Love You,” however, the Peter I knew and loved disappeared almost entirely. Sweet, kind, cheeky, and dependable Peter vanished, replaced by a boy with anger issues, communication problems, and was unable to put his current girlfriend’s feelings before his ex’s. Peter was so heartbreakingly different in “P.S. I Still Love You” that he wasn’t Peter anymore, and I felt completely detached from him while reading this book. It took Jenny Han until the very last chapter to have him show a little of the old Peter, but by then I was already so angry with this book that I couldn’t enjoy the ending!

Another issue I had with “P.S. I Still Love You” was Lara Jean. There was something that Jenny Han did with Lara Jean as a character that I wasn’t a fan of. There was a ton going on in Lara Jeans life, and I was so sad with how she was being bullied and harassed by other kids, but sometimes her tumultuous inner dialogue (although warranted) was just TOO much on top of all of the other issues that Jenny Han created in this book. I think that I would have been okay with Lara Jean’s less sweet and more drama filled perspective if there hadn’t been so much going on with those around her, her relationship with Peter, her residual feelings for John Ambrose, and at school. Yeah, like I said, there were a LOT of issues.

The only character that I actually liked in this book was John Ambrose McClaren, which I find kind of hilarious because I should have hated him considering the fact that he was a “threat” to Peter’s and Lara Jean’s delicate relationship. Unlike Peter and Lara Jean in “P.S. I Still Love You,” John was charming and sweet, and, dare I say, endearing, and I enjoyed the scenes he was in a lot. His presence brought back a few warm and fuzzy memories of “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” because of his charming and endearing personality; there was a very cute moment between him and Lara Jean that made me smile, and I wish that the rest of “P.S. I Still Love You” had been more like that scene. John and Lara Jean were sweet, and it made me sad that I almost wanted her to end up with John instead of Peter; it was as if John took on the role of Peter in this book as the adorable charmer, and I thought that was sad because I still wanted to love Peter, but I felt so detached from him that I latched onto John. Although I was very disappointed in most of the characters in this story, John Ambrose McClaren kept me going, and I was grateful for at least one lovable character to read about.

Overall, “P.S. I Still Loved You” was a fairly well-written book, but it didn’t touch my heart like “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” had. There were too many social issues and dynamics going on in this story, from feminism and cyber bullying to broken family dynamics and bad boyfriends, that it was overwhelming. All of the things Jenny Han wrote about are issues that teens deal with today, but there were just too many problems and social issues in this book that it got bogged down. “P.S. I Still Love You” didn’t have the charm of the first book, and I missed the moments when I laughed uncontrollably because of a really comical scene and giggled because it was just that cute of a story. But most of all, I hate that the Peter I knew and loved from “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” was absent in this book. Normally a sequel like this one would ruin my love of the first book, but this time I’ve decided to ignore the existence of this book and remain in love with the story and characters of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” Jenny Han is a good writer, I just wish that she would have kept a little more of the first book’s tone and endearing qualities, instead of going full speed ahead on the more heavy social issues.

P.S. I still miss you, Peter.