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kasie west

Mostly Mag

Mid-Year Book Freak Out

I’ve gone bananas for books this year! I’m well on my way to completing my 40-book Goodreads pledge, clocking in at 37 books read! Yay, me!

Reading Challenge

Bout of Books 19

Yay! I’m so excited that it’s time for Bout of Books again! I absolutely cannot believe this will be the 19th installment! This session begins Monday, May 8 and ends Sunday, May 14. In past Bout of Books challenges, I’ve never been successful in completing my TBR for the week; however, the challenge is so laid back, which is perfect for me.

Sporadic Update

March = Laid Back Style

Sporadic Update was inspired by The Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. πŸ˜€

Sweet Reads

While I didn’t read a ton of books in March, three is the grand total, I did read books of great quality, which was a nice change of pace, as I despise to despise a tale!

My favorite read of the month was Erin Morgenstern’s gorgeously written The Night Circus. Beautiful inside and out, I read it over the course of about two weeks. The book isn’t slow-paced at all – I simply savored every word – I didn’t even shorten words into contractions or skip certain romantic parts of the novel. I’m looking forward to writing my review for this one!

The first book I read in March was an ARC of Rita Stradling’s Ensnared. While this futuristic retelling of Beauty and the Beast was quite unlike anything I’ve read before, I really enjoyed it. I lament that it won’t be released until near the end of the year – I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else thinks of it!

My middle book read in March was The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket. The fourth installment in the Series of Unfortunate Events books, this is my favorite thus far. I’m looking forward to getting my eyes on the fifth tale, The Austere Academy, soon.

Sour Reads

My only sour read for the month was actually a sour listen – I had to give up on the Audible edition of Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I don’t know if it’s the narrator’s voice that turns me off or what, but I made it through about three hours before I decided I still didn’t know what in the hell was going on.

Therefore, I DNFd the audio version of Caraval, but, as I still want to give it a chance, I’m going to attempt reading it in print form. The hype is too heavy for this book and my curiosity is so very piqued by it that I must give it another shot.

Welcome to My Library!

As for book buying, I didn’t get QUITE as much as I have recently, but I still had a good time! πŸ˜€ I fell in love with Kasie West’s writing in February, so in March I got the paperback of By Your Side. While I’ve seen some mixed reviews of West’s book set in a library – a huge draw for me – I’m excited to judge for myself, especially since I never dreamed I’d be a West fan!

As I mentioned above, I’m giving Caraval another chance, so I ordered the hardcover version. I’m wary of reading it, as I’m afraid I won’t be able to follow the print edition like I wasn’t able to follow the audio. I’ll just have to dive in headfirst.

I think Charles Krauthammer, a brilliant syndicated columnist and psychiatrist, is so enlightening in everything he says, whether or not I agree with his statements. I got his latest book Things That Matter and I’m really looking forward to reading it; I’ve wanted it forever.

I am also absolutely thrilled to welcome an eARC of Geekerella by Ashley Poston to my Kindle! πŸ˜€ I’ve been dying to read this book for ages and I still cannot believe I was given access to it! *pats self on back*

Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi is another book I’ve been putting off buying and finally broke down and purchased. Chronicling the Charles Manson murders, this book is sure to give me the creeps! But, I love true crime, so I’m expecting a treat!

Although I’ve still only read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas, I went ahead and pre-ordered the third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin, releasing May 2. I thankfully have the middle tale, A Court of Mist and Fury, so I can get caught up in time for the publishing date.

I broke the mold a bit in March by buying a new cookbook, Cooking Comically by Tyler Capps. The recipes are simple to follow and look delicious – hello, jalapeno poppers! Also, the book is hilariously laid out, hence the title! I’m excited to do some actual cooking!

Challenging

Shockingly, I’m still ahead of my Goodreads challenge goal of 40 by five books! This is truly a miracle – I may actually complete – even surpass – my goal for the first time ever! Yay for me! As I’ve stated previously, I’m hoping to remain ahead of my challenge goal, so as not to sweat its completion at the last minute.

In Real Life

Well, let’s see, my life this month has mostly revolved around my babies. I’m working on getting Jack used to going out in the yard with me without running across the street! He’s getting so much better about listening; he’s only two, but he’s learning.

As for my six-month-old, Hank, he’s getting SO close to crawling! I feel like I watch him constantly when he’s awake just in case he crawls all of a sudden.

I wasn’t good at all about keeping appointments this month, I either canceled or skipped the three I had scheduled – oops! Sometimes I’m really bad at holding to engagements – I hate appointments of any kind.

We’ve got our boys’ baptism scheduled for the end of the month and I’m so excited to have everything set and almost ready to go! I even have the babies’ white outfits already, so I’m on the ball as far as that goes!

Weather wise, it’s been weird here in Tennessee. Early in March, we had a little bit of snow; at the end of the month it was in the 70s. Strange, but not really, considering where I live. The weather has always been strange. I feel like I sat around all month waiting for it to rain and/or storm. It was cloudy and ominous for so many days, with zero climax, rarely even a shower.

April Showers

As for my April reading plans, I’m not going to make any predictions this month. Seeing as I’ve rarely read what I’ve planned thus far this year, I’m not going to worry about it. I do have a few books in mind, but nothing set in stone!

In Closing

Here’s to a fantastic May and (hopefully) nice weather! πŸ˜€

Love, Maggie

Book Review

The Fill-In Boyfriend

The Fill-In BoyfriendThe Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 343
Format: ebook
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy at The Book Depository
Goodreads

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 boyfriendβ€”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 partyβ€”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 am totally not a girl who runs to see romantic comedies – I avoid them at all costs – let alone someone who reads romance-based novels. I felt as though I was being haunted by Kasie West and her books. Seemingly everywhere I looked in the bookish blogging world were rave reviews of West’s writing.

The Fill-In Boyfriend beckoned me to crack open its cover for a long time before I gave in to my intense urge to read it, despite my prejudices regarding romance. Now, I’m also not that into reading about romance of any sort in any book of any genre, which helps illustrate my reluctance to read West’s work, which I’ve seen referred to as ‘fluffy’.

The Fill-In Boyfriend is full of fluff and I loved every minute of it! The book’s synopsis and title make it obvious enough that a girl basically uses a guy to pose as her boyfriend. What I didn’t expect was the roller coaster ride of emotions that I experienced while reading this book.

Gia, the protagonist, meets a stranger after being unceremoniously dumped right before her senior prom and, you guessed it, the stranger becomes her prom date and is introduced to her clique of gal pals as her questionable boyfriend.

Gia weaves a tight web of lies to cover up the facade of having a real boyfriend, even keeping the truth from her dearest friend, Claire. Perhaps my favorite aspect of the book is Gia’s newfound friendship with someone whom she normally would have overlooked, being the perfect popular student council president that she is.

The reader is taken on a journey of evolution for not only Gia, but for supporting characters as well. Cracks in Gia’s home life become evident; Gia’s friends slowly grow suspicious of her shenanigans; Gia’s ultimate frenemy is out to ruin her, but no one believes her, which clouds Gia’s judgment and intuition.

A caterpillar at the beginning of the book, Gia transforms into an illustrious, independent butterfly toward the end, gaining serious introspection along the way. I loved reading about Gia’s personal growth and the changes she inspires in both herself and those closest to her.

As I was taken on Gia’s road trip of lies, I was constantly swerving and weaving through emotions ranging from anger, to joy, to sadness, to empathy, to anger again, and finally to a terrific resolution.

The Fill-In Boyfriend has definitely changed my viewpoint regarding romantic, fun novels and I very much look forward to reading the rest of West’s work. Kasie West has made me an auto-buyer of her books with this single story.

Love, Maggie

Sporadic Update

February = Heart Reading

Sporadic Update was inspired by The Sunday Post meme hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer. πŸ˜€

Sweet Reads

February began slowly for me, reading-wise; however, I sprinted toward the end of the month by starting and finishing five books over the course of two weeks, which for me is a lot! I am an admittedly slow reader, plus I’m a parent, making it difficult to carve out reading time.

I’m still ahead of my Goodreads challenge goal of 40 by five books, with a grand total of 11 read. I hope to maintain my pace and stay ahead of my goal until I reach it. I’ve toyed with the idea of upping my 2017 reading goal, but I’m torn as to whether or not to simply leave my goal as is and let extra books tick up my percentage. I’ve got time to ponder this, thankfully! πŸ˜€

As for February’s sweet reads, three books made the cut! I didn’t intend for it to be, but The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West turned into the perfect read during the month of love. I hadn’t planned to read anything romantic in February, but I couldn’t resist, as I’ve been incredibly curious about West’s work for a while now.

I also really enjoyed Rick Riordan’s The Throne of Fire, second in the Kane Chronicles trilogy. I may have mentioned that I love to learn as I read, especially while perusing fiction. Long story short, Riordan never disappoints when it comes to melding entertainment with education.

My favorite book of the month was the debut novel in the cozy mystery series, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop, Elementary, She Read, by Vicki Delany. I’m really looking forward to writing my review for this one. Let’s just say that I recently stepped out of my genre comfort zone by trying a cozy mystery – Delany’s book is only the second cozy I’ve read! It didn’t take long for me to realize that I adore cozies!

Sour Reads

My not-so-favorite, so so reads of the month both received a mediocre three stars from me, meaning I liked them okay, just meh. More often than not, I adore Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene. Sadly, the Audible edition of The Sign of the Twisted Candles didn’t grab me.

Figment, the second book in Cameron Jace’s Insanity series, didn’t grab me either. I understand that it has a plot more focused on character building rather than action, but I’m looking forward to the third installment, Circus, which I hear is action packed and exciting, as was the series opener, Insanity.

Welcome to My Library!

I’m proud to have been approved for some great ARCs on NetGalley this month! I was so lucky to receive my first ever invite to read a popular upcoming book, Roshani Chokshi’s follow-up to The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes! I got the invitation because I was approved much earlier to read an ARC of Chokshi’s debut. πŸ˜€

I requested and was approved for Noteworthy by Riley Redgate and Ensnared by Rita Stradling, which I’m reading at the time of this typing and enjoying! I really liked Redgate’s debut novel, Seven Ways We Lie, so I hope to feel the same about Noteworthy!

I also bought a few books this month, mostly Kindle editions. I thought The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani looked cute, so I snatched it up. I also got Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt, about which I’ve been curious for a while, on special.

I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest finally found its way onto my Kindle, as did Carolyn Keene’s The Clue of the Dancing Puppet. With my Audible credit for the month, I got Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and narrated by Jim Dale. This will be my first reread ever and I’m really looking forward to hearing Harry’s saga.

Speaking of sagas, I went nuts and bought volumes four, five, and six of Saga by Brian K. Vaughan, rounding out my collection, in preparation for volume seven’s release this spring.

Finally, I ended my book spree by purchasing three books for my two-year-old, My Very First Book of Colors by Eric Carle,Β Curious George Tool TimeΒ by H.A. Rey, and Dinosaur Dance! by Sandra Boynton.

Near the end of the month, I received the ultimate book mail – my first ever Fairy Loot box! I’ll be showing off the entire contents of the February box later, but I do want to mention that the chosen book was the enticing Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza.

Challenging

In my Pulling the Plug post, I explain why I decided to abandon the year-long reading challenges for which I had signed up so early in the year. I decided to alleviate the reading pressure I was already feeling by solely keeping up with my reading through the Goodreads challenge.

As for short and mini reading challenges, bring them on!

In Real Life

In last month’s Sporadic Update, I mentioned applying for a job as an in-school therapist. I had an interview scheduled, but ultimately decided to cancel the day before. I dwelled on whether or not to take the job for a couple of weeks prior to my set interview.

I finally came to the conclusion that I’d rather continue with my role as a housewife and full-time mother. I adore every moment that I’m with my children and ever since I applied for the job I have tried even more to avoid taking any minute with my boys for granted.

My mother, who didn’t have the luxury of staying home with my brother and I full-time, implored me to let go of feeling the urge to have a full-time job. She re-instilled in me how important my job as a mother is – I am charged with raising two beautiful, spirited, happy boys.

Basically having little lives in my hands is definitely overwhelming at times, but it is so rewarding. I sometimes feel like what I do – raise my children and maintain our family’s household – isn’t worthy of admiration. But, I realize now that my boys will ultimately be the best they can be at least partially because of my love and the sacrifices I make for them.

March Madness

I am a humongous college basketball fan and, quite naturally, my [second] favorite time of year is March Madness, the technically 64-team tournament that serves as the season’s grand finale.

I say technically 64 teams because there is a play-in round these days known as the First Four. Anyway, Selection Sunday is coming up I believe next week for the men’s tournament and then Selection Monday will follow to announce the women’s tournament contenders.

I always root for the SEC, excluding Vanderbilt, as I am from the South. However, every year features at least a few Cinderella teams with whom I fall in love. I could ramble on about basketball forever, alas, I shall return to the subject at hand – books!

I’m not totally sure as to what I want to read this month, aside from Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus. Since I ditched my reading challenges, I don’t have any particular books that I need to get to; I’m free to mood read!

On the other hand, I would like to finally read my ARC of Gilded Cage by Vic James – I’m really looking forward to it. So I figure I do have a bit of planned reading after all! I would also like to get on with reading Noteworthy.

In Closing

I hope all of y’all have a fantastic March and happy reading! πŸ˜€

Love, Maggie

Uncategorized

Book Report

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is the question asked weekly by the meme’s host, The Book Date. Additionally, you can announce to the world what you plan to read next as well as what you recently finished.

Now Reading

I started a NetGalley ARC, Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delany and I absolutely adore everything about it! I mean, a main character who owns a Sherlockian book store and investigates murders, yes please!

I’m still listening to the Audible edition of Stephanie Garber’s much hyped Caraval. I’m about two hours into it and have yet to be captivated. Please tell me it gets better…

Already Read

This past week I read the amazing Kasie West’s The Fill-In Boyfriend and Figment by Cameron Jace. I gave one book five stars and the other three – I’ll post my reviews soon! πŸ˜€

Up Next

I’ve got a few ARCs that I need to read this week, as their archive dates are creeping up on me. Those books are Ensnared by Rita Stradling and Noteworthy by Riley Redgate.

Ideally, I’ll finish Elementary, She Read early today, as it archives tomorrow, and finish Ensnared, archiving March 1, by tomorrow. As for Noteworthy, its archive date is April 2, so I’d love to get a head start on it.

Well, that wraps up my beginning of the week reading report! Good luck to all of you readers out there on achieving your reading goals! πŸ˜€

Love, Maggie

Mostly Mag

Pulling the Plug

It’s only the end of February and I’ve made the difficult decision to give up on the 2017 reading challenges I signed up for. The challenges I started are AMAZING and are hosted by AMAZING bloggers – I’ll link to them further on in this post!

While I am totally continuing to track my progress through the Goodreads challenge, I simply cannot bring myself to read set books. Over the past two months, I’ve come to realize that I’m an absolute mood reader!

If I claim I’m going to read blank book for, say, a certain month, I feel like I’m back in English class with an assigned book to put off reading until the last second. Needless to say, this causes me undue anxiety, which I put on myself.

I don’t feel as much pressure with the Goodreads challenge – it’s totally open-ended, meaning, of course, that I can read what I want, when I want. A lot of the time, I’ll go into reading a book with an idea of what I want to read next. However, being a mood reader and all, my plans typically fly out the window and I pick up something the book I just finished inspires me to read, whether it be similar or of a totally different genre.

For example, I recently finished my first Kasie West book, The Fill-In Boyfriend. Instead of reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern next, as I’d planned, I opted for the second in the Insanity series by Cameron Jace, Figment. I think all the exquisitely written romance of West’s tale turned me toward a guilty pleasure-type book. [The Insanity series is totally a guilty pleasure!]

While I do hate to pull out of my challenges, I do feel it’s necessary, as I feel like a creep when I don’t meet my goals – and I can already tell, obviously, that I’m going nowhere with my year-long reading challenges this year.

Here are the buttons and links to the challenges I am dropping out of – they are all awesome and if you’re top notch at finishing challenges, I highly recommend these!

The first challenge I’m opting out of is the very cool Reading Assignment Challenge, hosted by the lovely Michelle at Because Reading and Berls of Fantasy is More Fun. I did actually read the book I assigned to myself in January, alas, I never got in the mood for my February pick, hence my mood reading!

Just in case you’re curious, here’s the list of books I had planned to read for this challenge. [I want to get to them, but at my own pace.]

Technically, I could still do the Shelf Love Challenge, hosted by Second Run Reviews, as the point of the challenge is to show those books sitting on my shelves, begging me to read them, some attention. However, I’m simply too lazy to keep up with my progress.

As for the Keyword Reading Challenge, hosted by Claudia at My Soul Called Life, it has the coolest concept I think I have come across, challenge-wise. For the challenge, Claudia chose particular words coinciding with each month in 2017 for challengers to base a monthly book pick on.

While I managed to read – and adore – A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas for January, I had a tough time with choosing books that fit with the keywords for the remainder of the year. I think I tried to get too creative with my book titles!

As for all of you who are dedicated to completing your reading challenges this year, I applaud you! You are very admirable to me; I just don’t think I have it in me to participate in year-long challenges anymore. But, I do look forward to joining in on short challenges and read-a-thons throughout 2017.

Love, Maggie

WWW Wednesday

Book Blast

Happy hump day! With today arrives the weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, WWW Wednesday! The meme has a simple format, asking the three W’s:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently

Today I started reading the second installment of Cameron Jace’s Insanity series, Figment. Thus far I’ve only read a few pages and I’m hopeful I’ll love it as much as I did the first in the series, Insanity.

In addition, I’m listening to Caraval by Stephanie Garber on Audible. I’m an hour or so into the book, and it’s just okay so far – I’m still waiting for excitement. I’ve seen mixed reviews of this one, with some citing offensive topics and others absolutely loving it. I wanted to readΒ Caraval before the controversy, but it definitely made me curious enough to go ahead and pick it up!

Just Finished

This morning I finished my first ever book by Kasie West, The Fill-In Boyfriend. I absolutely LOVED this book and gave it a five-star rating on Goodreads! I’m so excited to write the review – so many emotions were stirred within me as I read – and that doesn’t happen to me often.

Long story short – I cannot wait to read the rest of West’s work. The Fill-In Boyfriend is a book I typically wouldn’t just pick up, but I was haunted by it and kept seeing rave reviews. I’m so tickled with myself for branching out of my genre comfort zone and discovering a new favorite author!

The other day, I finally finished The Throne of Fire, the second in Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series. I took nearly three weeks to read it – I apparently had a hard time finding freedom to read, as I really enjoyed this tale and could’ve finished it quicker.

Next

I have a bunch of galleys I need to get through and write up reviews for before they’re archived. Luckily, I’m looking forward to testing out the books for which I’ve been approved. I still can’t get over the fact that I was auto-approved by Udon Entertainment, which produces Manga Classics! πŸ˜€

That’s it for me this week! How about you?

Love, Maggie

 

Stacking the Shelves

Get Graphic

Welcome to Stacking the Shelves, hosted by the lovely Tynga’s Reviews! I enjoyed participating in this weekly meme with my former blog and have returned to the fold after a long absence. The purpose of the meme is to showcase all the wonderful bookish goodies one has received throughout a given week.

Here’s my homage to the week of January 29 – February 4!

I’ve had a big time haunting Amazon, both for physical and e-books this week. For my Kindle, I purchased A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas and The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West. I am so excited for both of these books! πŸ˜€ I finally got around to reading A Court of Thorns and Roses in January and adored every word. I’m dying to know what’s up next for Feyre!

Kasie West is a new-to-me author whose work seems to come highly touted. I have a good feeling that I will enjoy my first taste of West’s writing, but I’m kind of nervous, as romantic cuteness isn’t usually my thing…I figured I should branch out a little more with my book choices this year.

I excitedly renewed my Audible membership today! So, I’m in the market for audiobook recommendations! πŸ˜€ Any genre is acceptable to me, just let me know of a book you think is amazing!

As for physical books, I ordered three graphic novels yesterday. I can’t wait for them to hit my mailbox Monday! I seriously loved Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan and quite naturally got Paper Girls, Vol. 2.

I also decided that Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu looks pretty damn good! Continuing my graphic novel kick, I topped off my order with Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine by Kelly Sue DeConnick.

That wraps up my week in bookish buys! How was your week in books? I certainly hope it was excellent! πŸ˜€

Love, Maggie