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.

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.

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?

children of blood and bone by tomi adeyemi
My bookstagram

What I’m reading now

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, finally! I think the sequel this one is coming out in a few months so I better get a move on. I’m also still reading the e-arc of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young, it’s not as action packed as Sky in the Deep and it has taken me some time to really get into it. Last but not least, I’ve been listening to the King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo audio book on my work commute.

illuminae by jay kristoff and amie kaufman
My bookstagram

What I just read

Other than finishing Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff this week I haven’t done much reading. But this book was so worth it, it was amazing! You can read my full review here.

Picture taken by me

What I will be reading next

I am in the mood for some Contemporary fiction next, so I am in between Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia or Birthday by Meredith Russo. I’ve had quite enough of Fantasy and Sci-Fi lately, and if I don’t switch it up it’s a sure way to put myself into a reading slump.

What are you guys currently reading? Any opinions or recommendations?

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?

20 Questions Book Tag

I found this book tag in A Book Nation blog. It looked fun and I thought I would give it a try : )

Black Dagger Brotherhood the thief by j.r. ward
Picture from Goodreads

How many books are too many in a series?

As long as I love the author and the writing I will read as many books as they want to write in a series. Anyone heard of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward? I THINK its by 20 books now, though don’t quote me on that. I got all the way up to #18, and I do plan to read the rest eventually.

throne of glass series by sarah j maas
My bookstagram

How do you feel about cliffhangers?

If it works for the story I don’t really mind cliffhangers. My issue is waiting 1-2 years for the sequel to come out. I was so mad when Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5) ended and then she wrote that useless book about Chaol and I had to wait another year for Kingdom of Ash. Okay, rant over :)…p.s. I still love you Sarah J. Maas.

Hardcover or paperbacks?

Hardcovers are prettier, sturdier and better to photograph, but paperbacks are more portable and malleable, and can sometimes be just as pretty. I guess my answer is I don’t care either way.

Harry potter and the order of the phoeix by j.k. rowling
Picture taken by me

Favorite book?

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I could read that book over and over. It’s one of those I would take if stranded on an island. Hopefully an island where Margaritas are also involved though.

Least Favorite book?

This may or may not be an unpopular opinion, but Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth. The first two books were amazing, and then that last one…I don’t even have words.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare the infernal devices series
Picture taken by me

Love triangles, yes or no?

Sometimes I enjoy them when it works for the story and when the main character is genuinely split between the two other characters. I don’t like it when the main character uses one guy to make the other guy jealous, or vise versa. My favorite love triangle was in the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.

A book you are currently reading?

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This is not a book it’s work of art, I can tell and I’m only on page 154.

iluminae by jay kristoff and amie kaufman
My bookstagram

Last book you recommended to someone?

Same as above. Isn’t the cover beautiful? Since I carry it everywhere people have been asking me about it and I have recommended it to a lot of my work friends.

Oldest book you’ve read? (publication date)

I’m pretty sure I read way older books back in High School, but that was eleven years ago. I do vividly remember reading The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, for some reason. It was published 1996.

The girl the sea gave back by Adrienne young
Picture from Goodreads

Newest book you’ve read? (publication date)

I’m currently reading an e-ARC of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young, it will be published on September 3, 2019.

Favorite author?

This is a really hard question. I’m going to go with my top three: J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, and Sarah J. Maas.

Buying books or borrowing?

Unfortunately for me and for my bank account I love buying books. I’m always afraid I will damage a book if I borrow it, or my two kids will tear it apart or something. Whenever I do borrow a book I always make sure to warn the owner.

Red queen by Victoria averyard
Picture from Goodreads

A book you dislike that everyone seems to love?

I liked Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, but I hated the sequel and I have not read anything after that. I found Mare really whiny and annoying, and I like my female characters to be strong and fierce.

Bookmarks or dog ears?

What kind of monster dog ears their books?!

Shatter me by Tahereh Mafi
Picture taken by me

A book you can always re-read

The whole Harry Potter series, the Throne of Glass series, and the Shatter Me series…sorry I know it says “book” but I do what I want on my blog 🙂

Can you read while listening to music?

No, reading is a really immersive experience for me and I feel like music ruins the mood.

aurora rising by amie kaufman and jay kristoff
My bookstagram

One POV or multiple POV’s?

Whatever works for the story. I recently read Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff which had seven POV’s and I loved it. It really worked for the story and the characters were all unique. I also like the “his and hers” point of views of some stories, especially where romance is involved I like to know what they’re both thinking.

Do you read a book in one sitting or over multiple days?

Lately I haven’t had much time to read books in one sitting. The last book I remember doing that with was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when it first came out, but I was seventeen and had all the time in the world.

Who do you tag?

Anyone who wants to have some fun and try this book tag go ahead!

Monday Cleaning Day

Birthday by Meredith Russo
Picture from Goodreads

Birthday by Meredith Russo

I received a copy of this book inside my Illumini crate this month. It sounds like a very intriguing read, and it has great reviews on Goodreads. I have been getting more and more into Contemporary/ YA. I hope this won’t disappoint.

Keep 🙂

this time will be different by misa
Picture from Goodreads

This time will be different by Misa Sugiura

This is the second book I found inside my Illumini crate this month. There are mixed reviews on this one, but since I now own the book I will definitely be giving it a try.

Keep 🙂

the paper and hearts society by lucy powrie
Picture from Goodreads

The Paper and Hearts Society by Lucy Powrie

I got a sample of this inside my Illumini crate and I loved it, so I will definitely be reading the actual book.

Keep 🙂

False Step by Victoria Helen Stone
Picture from Goodreads

False Step by Victoria Helen Stone

This was one of the Kindle first reads picks for June. I thought the synopsis seemed interesting. It published on July 1st. If you read it let me know how it goes, I could not find a lot of reviews on it.

Keep 🙂

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Picture from Goodreads

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Once again I got fooled by a pretty cover and did not think much before I added it to my TBR. I’m not the least bit interested in Norse Mythology, but I will definitely recommend it to my husband. He’s the one that dragged me to all the Thor movies 🙂

Delete 😦

a man called ove by Fredrick backman
Picture from Goodreads

A Man called Ove by Fredrik Backman

I don’t know why I added this. I know everyone has been talking about it and it has great reviews, but I just don’t feel like reading about a grumpy old man.

Delete 😦

patron saints of nothing by randy ribay
Picture from Goodreads

Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay

I really want to learn more about the Philippines and their culture, and I ‘ve heard this is a good book for that. The cover is not the best, but it has great reviews on Goodreads and as I mentioned on this post, I’m trying not to judge books by their covers.

Keep 🙂

secondborn by amy a bartol
Picture from Goodreads

Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol

Amazon recently gave me a three dollar credit to pick a book from a list of their choosing. I was dumb and I didn’t check the reviews before picking this one, I picked it because the synopsis sounded good. Now that I own it I definitely have to give it a try. But if I don’t like it I can always put it back down, I wont be forcing myself to read books I don’t enjoy.

Keep 🙂

Can you guys believe I just got to the end of my TBR list?! *audible gasp* I have been so good not adding random books, I will go ahead and pat myself on the back now 🙂

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?

Audio Book Tag

I found this book tag in Rathertoofondofbooks blog. I’ve been meaning to do it for a while.

Have you always listened to audio books or when did you begin?

I only began listening to audio books a few months ago. I needed something productive to do on my work commute. I used to think I was not an audio book person, and believe me it takes me a while to find a book I will tolerate listening to, but whenever I do find one it’s great.

aurora rising audio book picture from my bookstagram
Picture from my bookstagram

What is your favorite audio book?

For now, it has been Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, narrated by a whole cast of eight people: Jonathan McClain (Tyler), Kim Mai Guest (Auri), Candice Moll (Cat), Steve West (Kal), Donabella Mortel (Zila), Lincoln Hoppe (Fin), Erin Spencer (Scarlett), and Jonathan Todd Ross (Magellan). A full cast makes for a great listening experience, almost like listening to a very descriptive movie. You can read my full review here.

Sticky notes and highlights of book
Picture taken by me

What is your least favorite thing about audio books?

I never write on my books, but I like sticking sticky notes on there with my favorite quotes and passages. When it’s an e-book, I highlight things and write notes on my Kindle app. That’s something I’m not able to do with an audio book. I try to leave a note open on my phone to add anything interesting I hear, but that leaves me scrambling to pause the audio and it kind of ruins the experience for me.

What do you think is the difference in experience between physically reading a book and listening to it?

Apart from not being able to put sticky notes in it and park my favorite passages and quotes, there’s just nothing like holding a physical book in my hands. I like seeing exactly how far I am in the story, and not a percentage. I love feeling and flipping the pages. Also, I love the smell of books, it’s one of the best smells in the world. I don’t think anything will be able to replace reading a real book for me.

How and when do you listen?

I usually listen on my work commute, I drive on average 45 minutes to and from work, so that gives me 90 minutes of listening time a day. Also, whenever I have shores to do around the house, and sometimes if it’s a really good book I will play it in the shower.

What style/genre do you prefer?

I find that simple straightforward plots with a lot of action work better for audio books. It doesn’t really matter which genre, but any books with a lot of world building and explanations usually lose me as audio books.

catwoman soulstealer by sarah j maas audio book
Picture from Goodreads

What are some audiobook/narrator recommendations?

I already mentioned Aurora Rising, I also really enjoyed Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas translated by Julia Whelan. Whelan does all the accents and everyone’s voices perfectly. You can read my review here.

What is your opinion on audio books?

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 find this a great way to touch base every week, and to get on the right reading track.

The girl the sea gave back by Adrienne young
Picture from Goodreads

What I’m reading now:

I couldn’t believe it when I got an e-ARC of The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young from Netgalley. I will forever read anything she writes. I’m also finally reading Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, which I’ve only been looking forward to forever.

My bookstagram

What I just read:

I just read Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, which wasn’t as action packed as Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom, but I do understand a lot of world building was necessary. I also listened to an audio of Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, which also reminded me a lot of Six of Crows, a band of misfits full of special and unique talents. You can read my mini reviews for those here. Finally, I read an e-ARC of Call it What you Want by Brigid Kemmerer, she has also quickly become one of my auto-read authors.

My Bookstagram

What I will be reading next:

I hope to finally get to Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, and hopefully start making a good dent on my physical TBR. The e-books and audio books I pick up next will depend on what’s available to be checked out on Libby, and if I get approved for any e-ARCs from Netgalley. I don’t usually buy e-books or audio books, unless I have free credits on the Audible app, or a good book is available for free on kindle first reads. If you have the kindle app and have not signed up for kindle first reads I highly recommend it -it’s free and they let you choose a free book every month from a list.

What are you guys’ WWW’s?

June Wrap-up

a curse so dark and lonely by brigid kemmerer
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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.