Hot cocoa + s’more books in February

February, I barely knew ya. Another birthday gone (it was a nice one!), so many great movies (Hidden Figures and Moonlight!), lots of hot chocolate, and a few warm days where I shed the big jacket and the hat and was reminded just how much I love spring. I’M READY! (But also kind of not because I like how winter is all about snuggling and reading books on the couch, or in bed… I suppose that won’t change too much with a change in season but still! A blanket and a book make for a lovely pair.)

Speaking of books, here are three books I read this month that I hope you’ll add to your shopping or library list:

If I Fix You by Abigail Johnson / Goodreads | B&N | Amazon / This book unexpectedly popped up in an issue of Clover Letter that was left unread in my email box for an embarrassingly long time. For the record, I will champion Clover Letter — a newsletter full of news and strong females — until a pig flies over the moon but I usually collect a bunch and read them in bulk. Jill, the main character of this book, is a mechanic in her dad’s shop and finds herself in the middle of a rock and a hard place. Her relationship with her old friend/former crush is tense because of an unfortunate incident but she can’t seem to stop feeling something for him as much as she tries. But her friendship with the mysterious guy next door, a guy who is in a pickle himself, finds herself trusting a guy with secrets she hasn’t told anyone. So we kind of have ourselves stuck in a triangle, and I didn’t mind it. Jill’s chemistry with both of them is pretty great, and you don’t lose this character’s challenges in dealing with an absent mom and a dad who is unwilling to deal with the reality of their family. Promising debut by a new writer. Con: only white characters. | Young adult book from Harlequin Teen; October 25th, 2016.

100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagan / Goodreads | B&N | Amazon / I was a big fan of Shari Goldhagan’s IN SOME OTHER WORLD, MAYBE and I totally forgot that she came out with a YA book until Miss Print reminded me. Molly has a part-time job at pet shop, a possible thing with the guy who works with her, and a mom who plans to bake a different cake for 100 days in a row to encourage time together and possibly cure Molly’s sads. Only Molly’s sads is actually depression. I’m a natural fixer and while the gimmick of 100 cakes (each chapter is named after one) wasn’t executed especially well, I did think this was an important and well-done look into depression. I have a few friends who very much want to progress forward but are stunted because of their depression, and I thought Goldhagan did a great job of explaining that type of feeling in the book — especially as we see what Molly has given up in extracurriculars and in her relationships because of everything she’s going through. I loved that she cared about her PT job so much; it reminded me of how much I enjoyed my after-school jobs in high school. 100 Days of Cake is definitely full of surprises and despite a few shortcomings, I really really liked the main character and read this whole book pretty quickly. | Young adult book from Atheneum Books for Young Readers; May 17, 2016.

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne / Goodreads | B&N | Amazon / Why even go into detail?! Magan and I read this book at the same time and were so inspired, we recorded our conversation about it. (There are minimal spoilers, and I suggest you listen to the recording and not watch it because I touch my bangs a lot and it’s annoying. I’m working on that!) Lucy and Joshua are executive assistants to the CEOs at their merged publishing company, and from Lucy’s very first day, she’s felt at odds with Josh. They play little games with each other; they are most definitely not friends. Told from Lucy’s POV, readers finds she’s a bit of a workaholic with an undecorated apartment and dreams of doing MORE in her company. Her world is turned completely on its head when she orchestrates a date for herself with another guy at her company and then finds herself in the company of Josh. IT GETS SO GOOD. THAT IS ALL I WILL SAY. Just read it. This book is so much fun, an attention grabber, with two great backstories. I wish all romances functioned this way. | Contemporary fiction from William Morrow; August 9, 2016.

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Here’s to a new month of new books, warmer weather, and better time management? (A story for another day.)

Magan and I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment here or say hi on Twitter @readinggals or Instagram @readinggals too!