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.

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 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?

Mini Reviews

shadow and bone by leigh bardugo
Picture taken by me

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Mini Review

The problem with wanting…is that it makes us weak”

The Darkling

Since this book is part of a trilogy there was a lot of world building that I really appreciated. This was the difference between this book and the Six of Crows books. There was a lot more explaining in this one about the different Grisha and what their powers entailed. We as the readers got to learn it all right along with Alina. By the way, I loved Alina. She was a very strong likeable female character who said whatever was on her mind most of the time which was great. She reminds me of a prickly easily riled cat.

I also had a thing for the Darkling, he reminds me a lot of Kaz Brekker from the Six of Crows books. One of my favorite side characters was Botkin, the combat trainer, he was hilarious: “Should not hit girl in the face when she is going to party…Botkin will be fairer tomorrow.”

This was one of those books where I did not understand what the cover meant until I read it, I don’t come across those very often. Sometimes I had trouble believing this world wasn’t real, especially during the scary parts in the Fold. I’m pretty sure Bardugo travels to alternate universes and then comes back to write about them.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff -Audio Mini Review

The whole place seems like it’s being held together by spit and good luck.”

aurora rising

This was such a great audio book. The full cast really made the difference for me, and I always wonder why more audio books don’t do this. This book had seven different points of views, and each one is voiced by a different person. There are sound effects in the audio book which really makes the whole story come alive, and it becomes almost like listening to a really good descriptive movie.

I loved the humor throughout this book and the play on words. I did roll my eyes sometimes at some of the dialogue and internal dialogue, which is why I took off one star. A few of the characters were full of themselves, but I thought that it made them very entertaining if maybe a bit annoying at times. Tyler reminded me of Captain Thorne from Cinder, except with killer dimples.

The plot is action packed as the characters are thrown from one predicament into another. I really loved this unique group of characters, they reminded me of the gang from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, a bunch of misfits who have really special talents.

Have you read these? What did you think?

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.

Five Star Reads

We’re half-way through the year already, so I thought I would summarize all the five star reads I’ve had up to now. I’ve either been very generous this year with my ratings, or I’ve just been reading a lot of fantastic books. I’ve read a total of eleven five star books this year. For me these are books that I’ve absolutely loved and I would re-read them again. Also, these tend to become my auto-buy authors, and I will buy anything they write forever and ever.

Fairest Lunar Chronicles by Merissa Meyer
Picture from Goodreads

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer

I loved the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, and this was Queen Levana’s story. I haven’t read many stories from the villain’s point of view, and this was a very interesting read. In reality I just really missed this world and even a small mention of the main characters made me happy. I enjoyed finding out exactly what happened to Cinder and Snow when they were children at the hands of Queen Levana. I liked reading about the events that made her into the evil Queen. After reading this novella I had to go and reread the whole series of course. I’m planning to write a full review on the whole Lunar Chronicles soon.

The Space between time by Charlie laidlaw
Picture from Goodreads

The Space Between Time by Charlie Laidlaw

This story was profoundly real. It delves into hard topics such as depression, anxiety and suicide, while also throwing some humor into the mix. I would recommend it to anyone wishing to learn more about the human condition and what it means to be alive. Read my full review here.

A very large expanse of the sea by tahereh mafi
Picture from Goodreads

A Very Large Expanse of the Sea by Tahereh Mafi

I love Mafi’s Shatter Me series, and this stand alone totally unrelated book was amazing as well. The characters felt so real. It had a diary kind of feel to it that kept me glued to the pages wanting to find out what was next. You can read my full review here.

The red scrolls of magic by Cassandra clare, shadowhunters, the eldest curses
Picture from Goodreads

The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1) by Cassandra Clare

I had been looking forward to The Red Scrolls of Magic for almost a year. One of my favorite characters from her other Shadowhunter books is Magnus Bane, and when I saw the book was mostly about him I was super excited. On the other hand, one of my least favorite characters is Alexander Lightwood, but this book was exactly what I needed in order to understand his personality more. You can read my full review here.

A curse so dark and lonely by brigid kemmerer
Picture from Goodreads

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

I found the plot to be fast paced and gripping, but without feeling too rushed. I’ve read a lot of fairy tale retellings, and this one was different enough to be entertaining yet it still kept many of the familiar concepts I associate with Beauty and the Beast. It included the beast (of course), a girl taken against her will, and an enchanted castle. I also thought the romance aspect of the story was very realistic, especially the fact that at a young age it’s hard to identify what love feels like. You can read the rest of my review here.

Sky in the deep by Adrienne young
Picture from Goodreads

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

The women in this book are strong, and many of them are leaders. The men worship their women, and fight to protect their people. I liked that both sexes are seen as warriors and providers. I heard her next book The Girl the Sea Gave Back is in part about him. I recently got approved to read it on Netgalley and I cannot wait to get started. I loved everything about this book, and I will definitely be reading anything else she writes. Come read the rest of my review here.

shadow of the fox by Julie kagawa
Picture from Goodreads

Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox, #1) by Julie Kagawa

This was my first audio book. I never thought I would get into audio books but I really needed something productive to do while on the way to and from work, and I thought listening to an audio book was a great idea. I liked the fact that Yumeko and Tatsumi were voiced by a female and a male respectively. They each changed their voices when another character was involved, and I thought it was well done. I did have the e-book as well, and that was nice to have for any down time, and to check the correct spelling of names and places. It also had a handy glossary at the end. The story, the characters, and the scenery were described in great detail, and at the time I could not wait for the second book. You can read the rest of my review here.

soul of the sword by Julie kagawa
Picture from Goodreads

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox, #2) by Julie Kagawa

**Some spoilers for Shadow of the Fox, the first book in the series**

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa transported me to a warm campfire under a starry night, while a bearded old man told this mythical tale in between puffs of smoke from his old wooden pipe. Suddenly, I was in a world in which emotions like grief and despair had smells, and everything from the scenery to the food was described in poetic detail. I particularly found the Forest of a Thousand Eyes terrifying, even when described from Hakaimono’s demon perspective, who tried to make everything sound amusing. Read the rest of my review here.

catwoman soulstealer by sarah j maas
Picture from Goodreads

Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons, #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Catwoman: Soulstealer was written by Sarah J. Maas, and the audio book was narrated by Julia Whelan. I read it in my down time, and listened to it on my work commute, as well as in the shower and while doing house-work. Honestly, I found myself looking for any possible excuse to listen to this book. This narrator was the best I’ve heard yet, she did all the male and female voices perfectly and even did their accents. Read my full review here.

the wicked king by holly black
Picture from Goodreads

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

In this sequel to “The Cruel Prince” by Holly Black. We continue the story of Jude Duarte, a human in the realm of Elfhame, who is struggling to hold on to her newly acquired power over its high King Cardan and his subjects. The graphics on this cover were amazing, and I loved the little drawings of dragonflies throughout the book along with the drawings at the beginning of each chapter. The dialogue between Jude and Cardan was so entertaining to read. I could just read about those two talking forever. Read my full review here.

crooked kingdom by leigh bardugo
Picture from Goodreads

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo

I loved this band of misfits. This was a super fast paced book packed with action, even more so than the first book in the series. If you love stories with a good heist in them, then this is the book for you. It is told from six different points of views, but Leigh Bardugo does it seamlessly so that it never becomes an issue. Each character is unique and fleshed out, even if their names weren’t at the top of each chapter, you could still probably tell who was narrating every time. Come read my full review here.

What were some of your five star reads this year?

Soul of the Sword

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Picture from Goodreads

Synopsis:

Yumeko is a kitsune shapeshifter who has been entrusted with a sacred scroll. Her mission is to take this scroll to the Steel Feather temple in order to prevent the great Kami Dragon from being summoned. The dragon is the Harbinger of change, and it will grant one wish to whomever summons it. Hakaimono is a demon that has just been released from a sword called Kamigoroshi after being trapped in it for hundreds of years. He is still wearing the human body of Tatsumi, the Kage demon slayer who had been escorting Yumeko to the temple before the demon broke free. Hakaimono wants to destroy the sword so he can never be put back in it. He has teamed up with he Master of Demons and has promised to get him the scrolls in exchange for destroying the sword. The story ensues as the paths of Yumeko and Hakaimono cross once again, and the fate of the empire hangs in the balance.

True beauty is rare, hidden and often overlooked by others. And it can appear at the strangest times.”

Daisuke

Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa transported me to a warm campfire under a starry night, while a bearded old man told this mythical tale in between puffs of smoke from his old wooden pipe. Suddenly, I was in a world in which emotions like grief and despair had smells, and everything from the scenery to the food was described in poetic detail. I particularly found the Forest of a Thousand Eyes terrifying, even when described from Hakaimono’s demon perspective, who tried to make everything sound amusing.

Around them, the shadowy forest stood frozen, tall shaggy pines drooping under the weight of snow and ice. It was an oppressive weight…cold and domineering, as if the snow was a cruel master, demanding silence and respect from everything it touched.”

SUKI

I liked the different points of views in each Chapter, and the fact we had a glimpse into the mind of the demon Hakaimono. We got to see what the human condition is like from a demon’s perspective, and how living inside humans for hundreds of years has changed him. The demon catches himself missing his “home” in Jigoku (a version of the underworld or hell), and wondering if his fellow demons have missed him as well.

I had spent too much time in the heads of these weak-willed humans.”

Hakaimono

I really enjoyed Yumeko’s humor and wit, but I especially loved her determination to complete her quest and to offer a helping hand to all who needed it along the way. As always, Yumeko’s point of view was full of mischief, true to her fox or “kitsune” nature. The dialogue between Yumeko and the band of misfits she has acquired in her journey was very entertaining. One of my favorite side characters continues to be Okame, who despite being a ronin, or disgraced samurai, has shown to be a very honest and loyal companion to Yumeko on her journey.

A small group who stand against insurmountable odds, who give their lives for the glory of the empire? It is what Bushido is built on.”

Daisuke

The story had a nice feeling of adventure, as our group of unlikely heroes, each with their own special skills, are taken from one predicament into the next. The plot was action packed, and the characters were all spurred into action by a single unifying quest to save the empire from certain doom. I adored the first book in this series, Shadow of the Fox, and this second installment was no exception. I recommend this story to all YA/Fantasy fans, and to all those who enjoy adventure and quest driven tales.

‪Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for the opportunity to review this title in exchange for my honest opinion‬

Have you guys read Soul of the Sword? What did you think?

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?

Picture from Goodreads

What I’m reading now:

I’m currently reading an e-ARC of Soul of the Sword by Julie Kagawa which is the second book to Shadow of the Fox. I couldn’t believe it when I first got approved for this on Netgalley, and I’m loving it just like I thought I would. I had to put Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo on hold, so that I could finish Soul of the Sword and post my review before release day on June 27th.

I’ve also been listening to Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman, and so far I really like the humor they use. The audio book has a full cast of characters and it’s almost like listening to a movie, it’s amazing.

Picture from Goodreads

What I just read:

My only accomplishment this past week was finishing This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab. It was a four star read for me. You can see my review here.

Picture taken by me

What I will read next:

My plan is to finish Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo, which I actually own a physical copy of. I also received an e-book called Radioactive Evolution by Richard Hummel which I also plan to read.

What are is your current read?

Monday Cleaning Day

I’m so proud I’ve kept my TBR this week at a steady 64 books when it used to be more than 100. I’ve been adding only the first book of a series, because really if I haven’t read the first book in the series yet how do I know I will like the rest? Also, mostly all the books that have less than a four star rating are gone, unless something or someone convinces me to put them back on there. In case this is your first time reading my Monday post, I usually order my Goodreads TBR list in reverse chronological order, I skip the books I kept on other Mondays, and then I pick the first five books. I then decide whether to keep them on the list, or delete them.

Picture from Goodreads

A Curse So Dark and Lonely (A Curse So Dark and Lonely, #1) by Brigid Kemmerer

I actually read a sample of this book and loved it, so I bought a hard copy of it. You may have seen it on my Mother’s Day book haul post on my bookstagram. I can’t wait to read it since it seems to be a Beauty and the Beast re-telling and this is my favorite fairy tale of all time, except instead of the prince I always yearned for the giant Library.

Keep 🙂

Picture from Goodreads

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

I’ve heard a lot of great thing about this one, and I hope it’s not one of those over-hyped books that end up being disappointing. I’ve never read a book by these authors, although the Illuminae Files have also been highly recommended and I recently bought the first one. I will keep this one until I read the Illuminae Files and then make a more educated decision.

Keep 🙂

Picture from Goodreads

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

I have a paperback copy of this book I really need to read. Everyone has recommended this to me. The reviews on Goodreads are a bit mixed when it comes to my friends, but the overall rating is a 4.26/5 stars which is great. I liked the sample I read, and I am interested in this unique story about a girl who lives her life mostly online and must choose to face the real world.

Keep 🙂

Picture from Goodreads

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) by Amie Kaufman

I don’t know why I added this book after Aurora Rising and not the other way around, but I will definitely read this one before I read Aurora. This book comes highly recommended by all YA/Fantasy fans I’ve met, and I should really get to reading it soon.

Keep 🙂

Picture from Goodreads

Skyward (Skyward, #1) by Brandon Sanderson

A ship with a soul, a teenager who wants to be a pilot, and alien starfighters, all set in a post-apocalyptic world. Sign me up! This book has great reviews on Goodreads, an impressive 4.55/5 stars, and I can’t wait to read it.

Keep 🙂

I’m so happy I didn’t have to delete anything this time, and I am excited to dive into all of these books soon. Have you read any of these? What are your opinions on them?