Weekly Update: I won my first wrestling match, wrote a sonnet, and arted.

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Hi guys! We have officially made it into February!

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, it has been quite the week (and a half) for me! Before I get into that, I’ll give you a quick update on my reading progress.

What I’ve Read/ What I’m reading:

Okay, so some sad news… I haven’t actually finished any books since my last update. Between school work and yearbook work (and Netflix/Hulu), I haven’t had that much time to sit down with a book.

However, here is what I’m in the middle of:

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: This book is taking me forever to get through. I think it’s mostly because of how traumatic the ending was for me the first time around, so I’ve kind of been putting it off. That being said, I do what to try to finish it this week and move on to Tower of Dawn.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray: I’ve heard a lot of amazing things about this book so I decided to start it. I’m about 10% in right now and it’s pretty interesting so far, so I’m excited to see what happens next!

Run by Kody Keplinger: I haven’t read any of this since the last time I checked in, so I think I might just take it off my “currently reading” list and try to pick it back up later.

I did also post my review for By Your Side by Kasie West (I ended up giving it 2 stars). You can read that here.

Wrestling:

I mentioned briefly last week that I joined my school’s wrestling team this year. It’s been amazing so far (although sadly the season is going to be coming to an end soon), and it’s been one of the best experiences of my life.

Last weekend on Sunday I had the chance to go to a women’s wrestling tournament at another boarding school. In the morning there was a clinic with Leigh Jaynes, who is a bronze medalist at the 2015 World Wrestling Championships(!!!). She taught us some of her favorite take-down techniques before the tournament started.

There were about 50 girls that showed up for the tournament (which was an amazing turnout)(, and we were split up into weight classes. There were two other girls in my weight class. One of them was about 5 pounds lighter than me, and was also a first year wrestler, so we were a pretty good match up. The other girl had a good 20-30 pounds on me and had been wrestling for 6 years, so as you can imagine, that match up was not ideal (for me).

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I almost escaped from her, but she was hanging on my leg and I couldn’t get it free.

I wrestled with the more experienced girl first. I was so nervous! I ended up trying to take her down too fast and didn’t do the move quite right (but remember, this was only my second match ever…). After that I didn’t really stand much of a chance. She crushed the air out of me and I literally couldn’t breathe.

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Incase you can’t tell, in this picture my head is stuffed under my body in an attempt to roll me over.

For a second there I was like “This is it. This is how I die.” She pinned me in just under 1 minute and 30 seconds. But I’m pretty proud of the fight I put up, and my coach was really proud of me too.

My second match went a lot better (for me). I actually worked with that girl during the clinic with Leigh Jaynes, so

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I took this match a lot slower and focused on getting in a good position before trying to take her down.

we were really excited for the chance to wrestle each other. I took this match a lot slower and really focused on my form before I

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I got her in a headlock which led to a pin!

tried to take her down. That strategy (along with both of us being relatively inexperienced) served me well, and I was able to take her down and get the pin! That was my third ever match, and my first win!

It was such an amazing feeling walking off the mat! I couldn’t stop smiling!

After all of the wrestling was done, we had an awards ceremony, where the girls in each of the weight classes were awarded medals. Because I won one of my matches and there were only three of us in my weight class, I walked out with the silver medal!

The day was rounded off with some yummy pizza with Coach, his daughter, and my teammate, and lots of singing along to the radio on the ride back to school.

I wrote a Sonnet!

Disclaimer: I am definitely not a professional poet!

In AP English, my class had a poem project. We got to make our own quills (feather pens?) by carving the tip of a feather with a knife. It took me a few tries to get the tip quite right, and even then it kept bleeding a little bit on the page.

Then, we had to write a sonnet.

A sonnet is 14 lines long, and follows a specific rhyme scheme: ABAB CDCD EFEF GG (There are actually a few different rhyme schemes you can use, but this is the one that my class did) . Each of the lines also has to be 10 syllables long.

To make this project even harder, we had to come up with our own topic. It took me a while, but I decided to go with “College”. Then came the struggle of actually writing the thing. Here is what I came up with:

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College

Everybody wants to go to college
The only way to get ahead in life
Study hard and do your best and pledge
To not end up as a stay-at-home wife.
Sending in applications is a chore
An honest test of character and time
Don’t resent as a show off or a bore
Don’t be too loud or quiet as a mime.
Just be yourself, not like that, be better
Your greatest accomplishments are mundane
You’ve done nothing to deserve a letter
I guess your life has just been far too plain.
Just as you begin to give up hope
News arrives that makes you not want to mope.

Ta-da!

I arted!

I’m not a particularly artsy person.

Don’t get me wrong, I like doing art occasionally… I’m just not really great at it (which I have accepted and am perfectly okay with).

But one day my friend asked me to come keep her company in the art room and paint, so I decided to go ahead and give it a shot.

I went for something abstract (because then if I messed it up I could say it was intentional). Here is my art!

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Pretty snazzy, right? *flips hair artistically*

Talk to me!

What have you been reading lately? Have you done anything exciting or interesting? Is there anything you are looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review- By Your Side by Kasie West

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By Your Side by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on January 31st, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 346
Goodreads
Amazon

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

Initial Thoughts

After loving P.S. I Like You and hating The Fill-In Boyfriend, I wasn’t sure how to feel going into this book. Would it be adorable and cute or frustrating and cringey?

It turned out to be a bit of both.

What I Liked

Dax. Dax was honestly a pretty compelling character, and turned out to be my favorite character in the story. He was independent and closed off, yet he had this soft gooey center that made me want to love him. At first I was a little confused by his motivations, but as the story went on and I began to understand him better, he really grew on me. Also, he ACTUALLY READ in the library (unlike the other characters, which kind of made the whole plot questionable… but I’ll talk more about that later).

The relationship between Dax and Autumn was pretty cute. It definitely followed the hurt-closed-off-guy-opens-up-to-spoilt-rich-girl-who-secretly-has-problems trope, but it was done pretty well. I really liked how organic the relationship seemed (even if the part where them getting stuck in the library was… um… unlikely?)

I also liked the pacing of the book. It wasn’t too slow, but it wasn’t super fast either. And the plot was not too complex, but had a lot of complexity to it.

What I Didn’t Like

Jeff. He was the boy that Autumn was pining over, and honestly he didn’t do much except annoy me. Even though he was made out to be a fun, likeable, and go-lucky kind of guy, I couldn’t bring myself to care about him in the slightest. He felt too much like a cut-out, and it definitely didn’t help that his “best friend” was literally an exact copy of him (except of course the best friend didn’t like Autumn at all).

I honestly didn’t really like any of the characters except Dax. All of Autumn’s friends were boring, and I couldn’t even differentiate between them. And, at some point, there was a little bit of drama when one of the friends told Autumn that another one liked Jeff… and then it was never mentioned again. Like what was the point of that?!?

I also really didn’t like the parents in this book. They were all frustrating and pointless. Even Dax’s mom, who was built up so much, was a complete letdown. Then there were some loose ends left with her. DID THEY MAKE UP? DID DAX TELL HER OFF? The world may never know.

Also can we take a minute and talk about the library? What the hell?!? First of all, the whole Autumn being left behind thing was stupid and improbable. I just can’t see that happening in real life. Secondly, the very first thing I would think of in that situation would be pulling the fire alarm. It was SO FRUSTRATING waiting for Autumn to come up with that on her own. It kind of ruined the whole first part of the book for me.

And then, Dax was honestly kind of annoying about the fire alarm. Like just let the girl get out and hide if you don’t want to be seen. It’s not like they are going to search the library once they realize that she pulled the alarm because she was stuck in there.
And then the whole plot when she finally got out of the library. I mean, I guess I could see how that would happen, but it was all just a little much to believe.

And then Jeff’s mom. Oh MY GOSH she was the worst. I actually kind of wanted to strangle her. I get that she was just clinging onto any hope (given her situation that I won’t tell you more about becuase #nospoilers), but it was so unrealistic and annoying.

Let’s also take a minute to talk about Autumn’s anxiety disorder. She kept it a secret from her friends because she didn’t want them to look at her differently. UMMMMM. Honey. If you are scared to tell your “best” friend(s) something like that then are you sure that they are really your friends? I get that talking about stuff like that can be scary sometimes, but that’s something that people talk about with their friends. You should see how much I talk to my friends about stuff like that. It’s called building a support system.

And I guess it wasn’t even that I had the hardest time believing that she would keep it from her friends (although it was pretty stupid).What really annoyed me about Autumn’s Anxiety™ was how much she whined about it. Literally half the book was her complaining about her anxiety and then refusing to do anything about it.

“Oh my gosh my anxiety is so bad and it holds me back from life but I don’t want help I just want to suffer in silence please and make my friends think I’m a terrible flake instead of facing my problems. But you know I’m gonna whine about it 24/7 and wonder why this is happening to ME. I’m also going to ignore my parents and brother trying to help me because they JUST DON’T understand my mind.”

– My impression of Autumn for 90% of the book

Overall

As you can probably tell by the amount of good vs. bad things I had to say about By Your Side, this wasn’t my favorite book. It wasn’t the worst thing that I’ve ever read, but I don’t think I’m going to be picking up anything by Kasie West for quite a while.

I am going to give By Your Side two out of five hearts.

♥♥♥♥♥

Talk to me! Have you ever read By Your Side? What did you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with what I had to say? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Weekly Update: I got the flu and almost died… and those two things are only mostly related

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Hey guys!

So as you can probably tell from the title of this post, my week has been one of cough syrup and trying not to die. But before I get into that, let me tell you about all the reading I’ve managed to do!

Books I’ve read in the last week!

Seeing as I was sick, I spent a lot of time in Heath Services (the nurses office) instead of going to classes. Which meant a lot of time to read. So between sleeping and trying not to feel like I was burning alive, I read. A lot.

By Your Side by Kasie West: This was the only book I read this week that wasn’t a re-read. I honestly didn’t like it that much (I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads), and hopefully I’ll be able to sit down and write a review of it soon!

A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger: I loved this book just as much as I did the first time! I love Keplinger’s writing! (review here)Ruby Red (trilogy) by Kerstin Gier: I remembered loving these books, but reading them again made me love them so much more! This series is really a masterpiece! If you are looking for something to read, please please please consider these books!! (reviews: Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, Emerald Green) Currently Reading!

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas: I am slowly making my way through this beast of a book, and (like my other re-reads) loving it!! I can’t wait to finish this one and finally write a review for it! Then finally read Tower of Dawn!!

Run by Kody Keplinger: I’m only a few pages into this one, and I think I may just start it from the beginning. I haven’t really had time to get into this one, but I’m hoping that I love it just as much as Keplinger’s other books!

How I almost died:

Alrighty. So here’s how it happened:

I started feeling sick on Wednesday. As in chills, nausea, fatigue, muscle weakness… the works. I went to the nurse at the end of the day and she told me to lie down and take it easy. But Wednesday is game day and I wanted to at least go to the wrestling match and support my team. So she let me go on the condition that I didn’t wrestle.

When I got back, I was feeling pretty rough. I did my homework and went to bed and I had to take like 30 cough drops to make my throat feel okay enough to let me fall asleep.The fire alarm went off at 12:30 in the morning.And guess who didn’t wake up?

Me.

I slept through 10 minutes of the fire alarm.

Then woke up to my phone ringing ON VIBRATE. Because apparently my brain thinks my vibrating phone is more important than the fire alarm.

Turns out, it was one of the dorm parents calling me to see where I was, and the conversation went something like this:

Dorm Parent: Emma, you need to get out of the dorm.

Me (still super groggy and hasn’t realized that alarm is going off): Why?

DP: The fire alarm is going off.

Me (still not registering that the beeping is, in fact, the fire alarm): No it’s not.

DP: Emma! Get out of the building!

Me (finally hearing the alarm): Ahh! Coming!

So I slid out of bed and pulled on my boots and wrapped myself in a blanket. Then, right as I was opening my door, a security officer was coming in to get me. He kind of looked at me like “how do you not wake up to a blaring alarm?” (good question dude) and then I walked downstairs. There were firemen on the first floor and it smelled like smoke. One of the firemen looked at me and went:

What are you doing?

And then I just kind of went:

I didn’t wake up.

And hurried out of the dorm feeling stupid and sick and tired and trying not to cry. So basically, if there had been a real fire instead of one of the washing machines starting to smoke (actually it might have caught fire… I’m not super clear on what actually happened), I probably would be dead. In my defense though, the fire alarm in the dorm sounds like a super loud microwave beeping and not like an actual fire alarm. So it’s not my fault that my sick brain didn’t think it was worth waking up for. Right? What else has been going on with me?

Besides missing two days of school and pretty much sleeping all weekend, I haven’t been up to much.

But I do have one bit of good news….

I GOT INTO MY FIRST COLLEGE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Honestly the weight off my shoulders with that one letter was something that I don’t even know how to begin to describe. I was just such an amazing feeling.

Talk to me!

What have you been reading? Have you ever almost-died? Are you too a victim of flu season? Do you have any good news to share? Let me know in the comments below!!

Thanks for reading!

Book Scenarios Tag!

Hey guys!

Lindsay @ Singer of Stories did this tag, and seeing as I apparently like to torture myself via impossible decisions, I have decided to do it too! So without further ado, let the hard choices begin!

Scenario Time:

1. You have to get rid of all of your books and you can only keep one from each of these genres: contemporary, fantasy, non-fiction, and one other genre of your choosing. What books do you keep?

Ha. Haha. Hahaha. My brain is melting. Already.

Contemporary:The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

Fantasy:Throne of Glass (series please? Is there a version all wrapped into one huge volume?) by Sarah J. Maas

Non-Fiction: Okay, so I actually don’t read/like a lot of non-fiction so this wouldn’t be the hardest loss. (And on that note, if you have any good non-fic recs for me, I am obviously in desperate need) One other genre:But there are so many more books I want to saveeeee. Moooommmmmm!!!!!!Maybe Ruby Red or Stalking Jack the Ripper ???? I can’t choose!

2. You’re at the bookstore and you hear a teenager telling their mom they don’t like to read, but their mom insists they pick something. You walk over and recommend a book you think is great for people who aren’t big on reading – what book is it?

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett or Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer. Both were quick books that drew me in from the beginning and had me captivated until the last word!

3. You’re not feeling yourself and need a pick me up. Which book do you read to put yourself in a great mood?

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The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury. This book is so magical and swoon worthy and never fails to make me feel good!

4. You go back in time for a day to your teenage years. What book would you most likely have caught yourself reading?

But I’m still 18 so that counts as a teenager, right? Okay, if I could go back to being 14, you would probably find me reading the Gallagher Girls books by Ally Carter. I loved those books so much!

5. Your friend surprises you with a 4 day trip and you have 1 hour to pack. Which book do you bring to read on the way?

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I’d bring Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas, just because I’m in the middle of it right now.

But honestly, if I were surprised by a 4 day trip, I don’t think me and my friends would be doing that much reading…

6. Your house has been robbed! Don’t worry – everyone is safe, but your bookshelf has been raided. What’s the book you really hope is safe?

Uhhhhh….

I don’t really have a good answer for this one, because I don’t really collect any books. I have some ARCs, but if they got stolen I’d be fine with replacing them with finished copies.

7. Your friend borrows a book and returns it in awful condition. Do you a) Just pretend you haven’t noticed b) Ask them to repurchase it or c) Secretly do the same to something of theirs.

OMG they would never hear the end of it. All of my friends (and family) know how careful I am with my books, and literally before I lend any books out I make sure the person knows exactly how I want my book back. If that didn’t happen and it came back in terrible condition, they would definitely be replacing it.


Aaaaaand scene.

Whelp that was tough. Think you want to answer these? Well then, consider yourself tagged!

Thanks for reading!

Weekly (?) Update: Two weeks into January and I’ve already died of embarrassment. But I have been reading some good books.

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Hey guys!

Is it just me or is December January moving too fast? (omg I actually had a brain fart and thought it was December for a minute…???) Where is the time going? I don’t know!?!?

Anyway, between school work and wrestling I’ve found some time to do some reading! Yay!

I’m currently on page 390/689 of Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Mass (which was one of the books on by TBR, and a re-read), and I have less than an hour left on the audiobook of A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Kody Keplinger (it’s also a re-read/listen for me… and you can see my original review here).

Both of these were 5 star reads for me the first time around, and so far those ratings haven’t changed! These are two of my favorite books!

As for my life, classes are going pretty well. I also got inducted into the Cum Laude Society (!!!!) which was cool but I also managed to look ridiculous because I had no idea how dressed up the other inductees were going to be:

Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

So basically I was rocking jeans, Uggs, and a sweater. So classy. (But really I felt so awkward and out-of-place the whole time.. please someone go back and save me) 

I mean seriously though, I had classes with two of the girls before the ceremony and they were wearing normal clothes and I thought that they weren’t going to get dressed up and then they did a sneak-attack change and left me ALL ALONE.  *dies of mortification*

Also, for those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I dyed my hair blonde!! That happened on Christmas day in my brother’s bathroom, and yes, I dyed his hair too! It was so much fun and I love how it turned out (thank you 3 hours of YouTube!)

Anyway, I still haven’t gotten into college, I’m covered in bruises from wrestling (although I feel so amazing and empowered and show them off to anyone and everyone), and I have actually been getting enough(ish) sleep for once in my life. And that’s how the New Year has been going so far.

Talk to me!

First, I’d really appreciate some feedback on the whole weekly update thing. Do we like this? Not like this? Should I make these a regular thing? What else would you want to see in them?

Secondly, HOW HAS YOUR NEW YEAR BEEN?!? What books are you reading? What new releases are you excited for? Has anything fun/interesting/exciting/terrible/mortifying/etc. happened to you lately?

Also, I haven’t had a lot of time to keep up with reading blogs lately, so feel free to leave a link to your latest blog post down below so I can check it out!

Thanks for reading!!

My January TBR!

Hey guys! So I’m still over here trying to process how it is 2018?!?!? It doesn’t feel real yet.

Anyway, it’s been a week, and the only thing I have read so far is the prologue of Empire of Storms. So, I decided to make a TBR for January that will hopefully motivate me to want to read more!

My TBR is going to be pretty short, mostly because school is starting up again and I sadly won’t have that much time to actually sit down and read. So here we go (titles will be links to Goodreads)!

January TBR:

1. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas28260587

This book is a re-read for me. I re-read books 1-4 in December, and this is the last one before finally getting to Tower of Dawn (which I haven’t read yet at all!). I know I am going to love this one, and this time when I finish it I’ll actually write a review! Hehe.

2. Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas31450852

I’ve heard this book surpassed a lot of people’s expectations, so I’m pretty excited to start it! Hopefully I’ll love it as much as I love the other Throne of Glass books!

3. Run by Kody Keplinger23613983

I actually started this book already, but I’m only about 15 pages in, so I’m not really sure what to think of it yet. I loved both The D.U.F.F. and A Midsummer’s Nightmare by Keplinger, so I’m hoping to love this one too!

4. Frostblood by Elly Blake27827203

I don’t know if I am going to have time to get to this one, but I hope I do. It’s been sitting on my shelf for a long while now, and I’ve heard it’s really good from a lot of people, so I’m pretty excited for it!

 

 

Talk to me!

What is on your January TBR? Have you read any of the books I plan on reading? Let me know in the comments below!

Why The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West made me want to scream- Book Review

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The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on May 5th, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 346
Goodreads
Amazon

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.

Initial Thoughts

After reading (and really liking) P.S. I Like You by Kasie West, a lot of people recommended The Fill-In Boyfriend, claiming it was West’s best book. I went into this book expecting a fun, light, fuzzy read that would leave me feeling good.

In reality, there was a lot about this book that really annoyed me. I ended up really not enjoying it at all.

What I Liked

The synopsis. It was really interesting, and I have never read or heard about a book that is very similar.

The plot. Again, it was very original, and if I ignore all of the stuff that really annoyed me, this book was actually pretty great. I loved the plot and how the book ended.

The romance. It was cute. What can I say, I’m a sucker for cute romance.

What I Didn’t Like

JULES. AND THE REST OF GIA’S FRIENDS. I cannot tell you how middle-school-drama their whole relationship felt. It was quite frankly just ridiculous. It was so forced, and it was literally “my friends brought in a new girl to the friend group who thinks I’m the leader and now hates me for some unknown reason and wants to turn my friends against me.” GAHHHHHHH. And going off of that…

How immature all of the characters were. I have this problem with a lot of YA contemporaries, but it was particularly bad in this one. The characters literally acted like they were 12 half of the time, and they were supposed to be seniors in high school.

How the parents were portrayed. Gia’s parents were very one-dimensional and frustrating. I understand what West was going for with their characters, but they didn’t come off as human at all. They were more like forced stereotypes. Also “fill-in Bradley’s” (not gonna spoil his name!) mom was the “artsy-mom” stereotype and that annoyed me to no end as well. Also fill-in Bradley’s dad? Did I miss something? Because I don’t think he is mentioned at all.

All of the side characters. All of the characters. They were so one-dimensional it actually hurt. And don’t even get me started on Gia. She made me want to scream half of the time.

Overall

I can’t say I hated this book, but it was pretty bad. But bad more in the “stop being so moronic and act your age” way rather than “this book is literal trash” way.

I’m going to give The Fill-In Boyfriend 2 out of 5 hearts.

♥♥♥♥♥

Talk to me

Have you read The Fill-In Boyfriend? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments!