Red, White and Royal Blue

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Author: Casey McQuiston 

Published: May 14, 2019

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

ISBN: 1250316774/9781250316776

Synopsis from Goodreads:

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramablefriendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

Maybe there’s more than one dream for you, or more than one way to get there.

June

My Review:

This book was absolutely hilarious. The puns, the analogies and the wit had me laughing out loud the whole time. I kept see this book everywhere on social media alongside raving reviews. I’m happy I finally decided to read it. I also liked the historical background of the story, as well as all the letters from previous gay men and women in history that were provided. I enjoyed the idea that this type of political change could ever be possible in the United States as well as England. Mostly, I would love to live to see the day when there is a sitting female President of the United States.

I kind of fell in love with Prince Henry. I believe this was inevitable because his character is so likeable, and Alex’s descriptions of Henry were so full of affection…eventually. At first, they’re mortal enemies, and this enemies to lovers trope is also one of my favorites. I liked Alex as well, although his personality was a bit too much at times, which I think he was also aware of which helped a bit. I could also have done with a bit less angst, pining, and introspective musings from both of them. I did love all of Alex’s Harry Potter references, he took “The Prisoner of Azkaban” with him on one of the flights and I was in love with him too then 🙂

Not only did I love Henry and Alex’s relationship, I also really enjoyed how they interacted with June, Nora, Pez, and Bea. My favorite minor character was June, I liked how down to earth and supportive she was. Another minor negative for me was I thought the ending was a bit dragged out and I could’ve done without a lot of that. This book had me wishing we actually lived in a world where political changes like this could be possible, it had me thinking maybe they are within our reach. Love is love. 

A bit of a warning, the sex scenes were not SUPER explicit but there were some details mentioned as well as a lot of language used. It’s not as much detail as I’ve encountered in other books, but it’s there, so be warned. I apologize for how many times I wrote the word “love” in this review I just really really enjoyed this book. If you’re looking for a feel-good Contemporary Romance, I highly recommend this one.

Geekerella Mini Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

geekerella book by Ashley poston
Picture from Goodreads

She wears life like Elvis wore sequins, with no apology laced into the seams.”

Elle

Geekerella (Once Upon a Con, #1) by Ashley Poston was a fun and entertaining take on Cinderella. I personally love fairy tale retellings, and this modern take on it was no exception. Darien and Elle are two lonely teenagers trying to figure out who they really are in a world set on sticking a label on them. This story was fast paced, and once I started reading it was hard for me to stop. Sage was one of my favorite characters, she was strong and confident and lived life with no apologies. (the quote above was about her) I liked the character growth for both Darien and Elle. I especially liked that they were both eventually able to speak up and stand up for themselves.

I’m strapped to the pilot chair of my life, and my hands are tied.”

Darien

I took off one star from my rating for two reasons. First, the relationship between Elle and Sage felt forced at first. Suddenly this girl (Sage) that has never crossed two words with Elle wants to talk to her? AND she happens to have amazing sewing skills? Second, I don’t like it when girls fall in love with guys they barely know. Elle and Darien just shared a few texts and all of a sudden they were in love, but I guess it wouldn’t be a fairy tale if they weren’t. Overall, I loved this whole geeky world and how the author shines a light on the fact that just because you “cosplay” or dress up as one of your favorite characters, doesn’t mean pieces of your true self can’t shine through. Sometimes pretending to be someone else can help you figure out who you truly are.

Starlight, star bright, you can be anyone you want to be tonight.”

Elle’s Dad

I love Poston’s writing, and I will definitely be reading the next book in this series. Did you read the book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Aristotle and Dante Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Aristotle and dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin alire saenz
My bookstagram

I didn’t understand how you could live in a mean world and not have any of that meanness rub off on you.”

Ari

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz was an amazing read. I started reading this book one afternoon and was surprised to find myself finishing it up at 1:30 AM that same night. I was unable to put it down, and when I absolutely had to in order to do things like cook, eat, and take care of my two children, I switched to the audio book and had it plugged into one ear all day. I became so invested in these kids’ lives, which is my main problem when I read Contemporary Fiction. I keep having to remind myself that these are fictional characters, something I never have to do when I read Fantasy or Sci-Fi. But mainly this was just exceptional writing which kept me engaged and almost hypnotized.

One of the secrets of the universe was that our instincts were sometimes stronger than our minds.”

Ari

The first thing I realized while reading this book, was that Ari was just like me. I really wanted to know what would happen to this dark and heavily guarded boy. On the other hand, Dante was a lot like my husband, right down to his aversion to wearing shoes. Needless to say these characters were well developed and relatable. I could also relate to Ari’s family in many ways, one of the few differences being mine are Cuban and his were Mexican.

But I had learned to hide what I felt. No, that’s not true. There was no learning involved. I had been born knowing how to hide what I felt.”

Ari

The story follows these two boys through their last two years of High School, and two unforgettable Summers. The depiction of High School was so real, it really took me back to the days with no smart phones and limited phone access. Summer is also my favorite season, and I enjoyed their mundane way of spending it. Just two boys going swimming at the local community center, reading, and playing made up games. Those were the simple days, but also the complicated ones because it is the age when we attempt to figure out who we are. I recommend this book to anyone wishing to figure out the secrets of the universe along with these two amazing characters.

Illuminae Review

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5

Illuminae book by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
My Bookstagram

Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Publication Date: October 20, 2015

I would rather be numb than stand here in the light of a sun that can never chase the chill away.”

aidan

I have so many thoughts on this book that I’m struggling to put them all into coherent sentences. First, let’s start with the formatting. I struggled with it at first, but once I got used to it it read like any other book. I actually thought this book was an amazing work of art. It is comprised of emails, messages, descriptions of camera footage, audio recordings, pictures, and many other types of files.

You’re a speck of animated carbon and water with about seven centimeters of ballistics-grade ceramic between you and absolutely nothing. Ninety three billion light years of *ing nothing. No up. No down. No sky. No ground. Just endless dark shot through with tiny spears of sunlight older than you and your entire species stacked end to end. You want to feel small? Spend sixty seconds in a Cyclone’s cockpit…look out at nothing and feel it looking back. Then you know exactly how much you add up to.”

Ezra

The story is mostly set in space, which was described really well in my opinion (see quote above). Other than describing the inside and outside of the ships in perfect poetic detail, there was not much more world building to be done. We also get some maps of the ships as a reference. The main characters were adequately described, but I could have done with a bit more detail. The dialogue was where this book excelled, which is a very good thing since it was mostly dialogue. Conversations were full of humor and sarcasm in the midst of chaos, and they read like an action packed movie. I could almost hear the characters catching their breath as they talked, whispering, and shouting or screaming. It was very well done.

Miracles are statistical improbabilities. And fate is an illusion humanity uses to comfort itself in the dark. There are no absolutes in life, save death.”

aiden

The romance aspect of the book was great, and it did not take over the whole plot. I loved Kady and Ezra and I was rooting for them the whole time. They fought like a real couple, they compromised over their differences, and overall their relationship was very realistic. Emotions were described in such great detail that everything they could feel I also could. Their fear gave me chills, and their grief was so real it almost made me cry at times, but I don’t cry easily.

Part of being alive is having life change us. The people around us, the events we live through, all of them shape us.”

kady

I went into this book not really knowing what to expect and having no idea about what the plot really entailed, and I think that was the way to go. Many of the events caught me by surprise, and it was very refreshing to read something so different from the other stories I usually read. This book has definitely made me want more SCI-FI in my life, and I will be reading the second and third installments as soon as I can. I would recommend this series to everyone. Read it! I really don’t know why I waited so long.

The universe owes you nothing…it has already given you everything. After all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is if you do something worthy of remembrance.”

aidan

WWW Wednesday

This is a meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where you answer three questions: What are you reading now? What did you just read? What will you be reading next? I love these posts, they help me organize myself for the rest of the week.

Illuminae book by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Picture taken by me

What I’m reading now:

I’m currently still reading a hardback of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. It’s an awesome read for now, and I can’t believe I had never read it. I’m also reading the e-ARC of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young. i I was super excited for this one, because I really loved Sky in the Deep, also by her. Lastly, I recently started the King of Scars audio book written by Leigh Bardugo and narrated by Lauren Fortgang. I haven’t gotten too far into that one, but I love the Grishaverse and I hope this won’t disappoint.

daughter of the siren queen by tricia levenseller
My bookstagram

What I just read:

I just read Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller. It was a nice fast paced romantic adventure. You can read my mini review here.

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Picture taken by me

What I plan to read next:

Once I’m done with the Illuminae hardback, I’m planning to pick up Children of Blood and Bone next…yes finally!!

What are you guys currently reading?

Good Books with Bad Covers

the space between time by Charlie laidlaw
Picture from Goodreads

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was amazing. I was contacted by the author with the opportunity to read an e-ARC of his book, and I accepted expecting a light quick read. This was not a light read at all, it was full of depth and it dealt with really hard but relevant topics. You can read my full review here.

I thought this cover should’ve had a starry night in the background with some planets on there and maybe a few mathematical equations floating in between. This cover definitely would not have attracted me to the book in the first place.

This savage song by v.e schwab
Picture from Goodreads

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book I experienced as an audio book. It was voiced by a male and female voice for the two main characters, and I thought they did a great job. This was a very unique world that I’m very interested to read more of. You can read my full review here.

I like the violin on the cover, but for a very long time I could not even tell it WAS a violin. I get what they were trying to do, but the violin definitely needs to be brighter so we can see what they’re trying to depict inside of it.

A very large expanse of the sea by tahereh mafi

A Very Large Expanse of the Sea by Tahereh Mafi

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I mentioned in my review that I thought the whole point of this cover was “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” which is one of the main messages I feel like this story tries to get across. But more could’ve been done to get this point across and to attract more people to buy the book. For me it was enough that Mafi wrote it, because I will forever read anything she writes, but for other people that might not be the case.

the eternity cure by Julie kagawa book
Picture from Goodreads

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I’ve mentioned before that Julie Kagawa is one of my favorite authors, and this is one of my favorite series by her. I already love Dystopian novels, but her descriptions, dialogue, and overall way of making this world seem so real is what sold me on this story. This cover definitely does not do it justice.

the time traveler's wife by Audrey niggenegger
Picture from Goodreads

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This might be an unpopular opinion, but I absolutely loved this book and I thought it was so unique in the way it portrayed time travel; not as something cool but as a burden to be bared. But it definitely needed to have something better on the cover, the child is kind of creepy. I will definitely be doing a re-read of this soon.

Which books do you think could have gone unnoticed because of the cover? Any recommendations?

Monday Cleaning Day

It’s Monday again, and the only good thing about my Mondays is that I get to clean up my TBR. As always I ordered by TBR on Goodreads in reverse chronological order, and I skipped the books I have already decided to keep in my past posts. I then took a look at the next ten books and decided to keep them or delete them.

the lightning thief by rick riordan
Picture from Goodreads

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

I feel like this is a right of passage book, and I’m totally ashamed I have not read it. I believe I’ve seen a few of the movies. I definitely need to read this series.

Keep 🙂

The Great alone by Kristin Hannah
Picture from Goodreads

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

I’ve never read a book set in Alaska before, and like I said on my previous post I’m trying to expand my horizons. This book has pretty good ratings on Goodreads and has been talked about a lot on Bookstagram. I will give it a try.

Keep 🙂

The woman in the window by aj finn
Picture from Goodreads

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Many people on my Goodreads are saying this book should get more than five stars so I’m really intrigued. It reminds me of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which I also loved.

Keep 🙂

Grit the power of passion and perseverance by angela duckworth
Picture from Goodreads

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

I must’ve been in one of those peppy/ inspirational moods when I added this to my TBR, but honestly now I’m rolling my eyes at it so…

Delete 😦

World war z an oral history of the zombie war by max brooks
Picture from Goodreads

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

I really liked the movie, and in my experience the book is always better. So I’m keeping this one, and I’ll just imagine Brad Pitt the whole time.

Keep 🙂

The belles by Dhonielle clayton
Picture from Goodreads

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

What an interesting and unique concept. People are born “gray and damned” and only with the help of a “belle” can they become beautiful.

Keep 🙂

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
Picture from Goodreads

Scythe by Neal Shusterman (Arc of a Scythe, #1)

This one is really famous amongst the bookstagrammer community and I see it everywhere. It has great reviews on Goodreads as well. I will definitely give it a try.

Keep 🙂

Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Picture from Goodreads

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Such a pretty cover. Great reviews as well. This one is a keeper.

Keep 🙂

The winners curse by marie rutkoski
Picture from Goodreads

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

I recently found this book while reading Call it What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer. In her book one of the main characters talks about enjoying books like Harry Potter, An Ember in the Ashes and he also mentioned this one. It looks like there are several of these books out and I’m very behind the times.

Keep 🙂

The girl who could move sh*t with her mind by Jackson ford
Picture from Goodreads

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford

I may or may not have added this book to my TBR solely because of the cover. It has mixed reviews and it doesn’t have a lot of them, so I might just wait until there is a more solid opinion on this one. I’m being very selective of what I keep on my TBR lately, and this one is not covering it.

Delete 😦

This time I only deleted two out of ten books, which can only mean I’m getting really good at only adding books I will actually read to my TBR. Would you have done anything different?

June Wrap-up

a curse so dark and lonely by brigid kemmerer
My bookstagram

Books I read this month

📖A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (hardback) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖The Raven Boys (audio) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖Call it What you want by Brigid Kemmerer (e-Arc) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖Shadow and Bone (paperback) -mini review coming soon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff (audio) -mini review coming soon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa (e-Arc) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

📖This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (audio) review here

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

the book of dust by phillip pullman
My Bookstagram

June Bookhaul

For my shelves

📖Cinder by Marissa Meyer

📖An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

📖Rest of Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi (excluding last book released)

📖Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

From book subscription boxes (TBR)

📖 Birthday by Meredith Russo

📖This time will be different by Misa Sugiura

Bought

📖The book of dust by Phillip Pullman

E-books (from kindle first reads)

📖False step by Victoria Helen Stone

Wrap-up

I don’t feel like I made good progress on my TBR this month, maybe because I barely read any physical books; they were mostly audio and e-books. But I do feel like a read good quality books, so maybe quality over quantity is a good thing. I definitely want to get to more of my real books in July. Especially Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. After having read Aurora Rising by them I’m really excited to read the Illuminae series.

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I saw this tag on the For Book s’ Sake page and it looked like so much fun. So without anything further here are the questions and my answers.

E-book or physical Book?

Here is the thing, there’s nothing like holding a physical book in my hands, being able to turn the pages and seeing how far I’ve come, and the smell of a book is one of my favorite scents. BUT, I do have two kids under four and it’s much easier for me to read an e-book while I watch them than to read a real book.

Paperback or hardback?

This is a hard one. Paperbacks are so much easier for me to hold and carry around everywhere. Hardbacks are so pretty and look much better on my shelves. I always have to remove the dust cover so that I don’t damage it while I take it everywhere, and then when I’m done with the book I put the dust cover back on and put it on my shelf. If I really had to choose, I think I would choose paperbacks.

Mother’s Day bookhaul

Online or in-store book shopping?

Books are so much cheaper online, but there’s nothing like walking through a bookstore for me. It’s actually one of my favorite things to do in the world. This year for mother’s day that was actually my only wish, going to the bookstore. My husband was such a trooper, he handled the kids while I spent some uninterrupted time browsing for books. As you can see on this picture, I really spoiled myself.

Trilogies or series?

As long as the book is good, I don’t really care if it’s a trilogy or a series. As long as I like the author and the story still holds my interest I will read all the books they write, even if it’s an 18 book long one (Black Dagger Brotherhood anyone?).

Heroes or villains?

Heroes all the way. Give me heroes I can root for the whole time. Once I start liking the villains and wishing they would kill the hero already, that’s when I know I’m hating the book.

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone book, jk rowling
My bookstagram

A book you want everyone to read?

Hands down the Harry Potter series. I could read those books over and over. I’m in love with that whole world, and I always hope I can pass my love on to others. You can read all about how I grew up with this series here.

Recommend an underrated author?

Is Julie Kagawa considered underrated? I’m not sure, but her Immortal Rules series was one of the best I’ve read and I never see it talked about anywhere. You all already know I loved her Shadow of the Fox and Soul of the Sword books.

The last book you finished?

Call it What you Want by Brigid Kemmerer. It was a four star out of five for me, and you can read my review here.

Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

*Cringes* …a banana? Okay, hear me out. I was really busy at work multi-tasking, I was reading and eating, and then I got a phone call…so what do I do? I stick my banana in my book to hold my page. Don’t judge me.

Used books: Yes or no?

I love all books, definitely yes. I like imagining where the book has been and how many people have read it. I don’t sniff them like I do new books, but still used books are great.

Top 3 favorite genres?

Fantasy, YA, and does New Adult count? I occasionally delve into Contemporary, but I really try to avoid it because it makes me cry.

Borrow or buy?

I try not to borrow books, when I do I warn the owners that it might not come back in the same condition. Like I said, I have two kids. I love buying books. My bank account not so much though.

Character or plot?

Plot. If the plot goes downhill, then it doesn’t matter how good your characters are. For example, I really loved the Divergent series, an I loved the characters, but once the plot started slipping I hated the whole thing. Also, I hate bad endings.

Long or short books?

Size doesn’t matter! Okay, but for real if you can tell me everything you need to tell me, if the characters are well developed, and so is the plot, then I don’t really care what the size of the book is.

Kingdom of Ash, Throne of Glass, Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass (#7)

Name the first three books you think of?

Throne of Glass

Lunar Chronicles

Shatter Me

Three of my favorites 🙂

Books that make you laugh or books that make you cry?

I hate crying, I love books that make me laugh. I’m currently listening to an audio of Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff, and I love the humor they use.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Picture taken by Me

Our world or fictional worlds?

Depends on the world. I would love to live in the Harry Potter world, but would not like to live in the post Apocalyptic Shatter Me world.

Audiobooks: Yes or no?

A month ago this would’ve been a no, but recently I have developed a liking for audio books. I only listen to them on my work commute, in the shower, and while I’m doing chores around the house. It has been a good way for me to stay productive. I always listen to a sample first before I get the book though, because if I don’t like the narrator’s voice then the whole thing is ruined.

Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Too many times to count, although I have learned from my mistakes. I now read the reviews and usually a sample before I commit to buying a book now. I’m a sucker for pretty covers, and thanks to Bookstagram my TBR is full them.

Game of thrones series, books, George rr martin
Picture form Goodreads

Book to movie or book to TV adaptation?

It depends on the book? I recently was so disappointed by the Game of Thrones TV show 😦 But I did love most of the Harry Potter movies, they really made the whole world come alive with only a few minor flaws and omissions.

A movie or TV adaptation you preferred instead of the book?

None, I always like the book better.

Series or stand alone?

I like series. Stand alone books always leave me feeling empty and with no purpose after. At least with a series I can delay that feeling until the last book 🙂

This Savage Song

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Picture from Goodreads

Author: V.E. Schwab

Published: July 5, 2016

Series: Monsters of Verity, #1

Synopsis:

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

That’s life…it doesn’t matter if you’re monster or human, living hurts.”

August

This was a very unique world in which music played a big part. Monsters called Sunai could steal a person’s soul by singing or playing music. Music was also used as an escape by both the main characters; though I found myself identifying more with August’s taste in classical music, rather than Kate’s loud rock music.

The characters were very well fleshed out. I thought Kate was a strong female character who was willing to do anything to seek her father’s approval. August was sweet and likeable, but also did not let Kate push him around. I also liked the fact that there was no “instalove” in this story, and that their relationship did not take over the whole plot.

The plot was very action packed from the beginning. The characters were plunged from one predicament to the other with barely any breathing room in between. The only reason I took one star was because the ending was too perfect for me, and there was very little explanation as to what happened. But you will just have to read for yourself.

Overall, I would recommend this book to all fans of YA/Fantasy, and to anyone interested in dystopian novels and how people react at the end of the world.