ARC Review: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

red, white and royal blue

 

Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBTQIA+

Release Date: May 14th, 2019

Received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Summary:

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him. 

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

My Scattered Thoughts:

How much do I love this book? Oh, let me count the ways.

Alex is one snarky, snarky boy. I love it. He is full of humour, and yes angst and I do enjoy his character quite a lot. He is not flawless, in fact he is never even thought of as infallible and there were a few moments I was horridly embarrassed for him.

Henry. Oh loveable, secretly nerdy Henry ❤ He is so awkward. It is so amazing, and he’s funny, and a bit tragic.

This book is good. It’s liberal, angry, and seeking justice even as it weaves a romantic tale around our two lovely main characters.

It’s mushy at times, heart-wrenching at others, but through it all I just felt good whilst I was reading it. I was also reluctant to leave it behind, wanting to slow my pace almost as much as I was desperate to get to the end.

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Review: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

listen to your heart.jpgTitle: Listen to Your Heart

Author: Kasie West

Summary: 

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere. 

My Thoughts:

Do you like happiness? Do you like sunshine? Do you like lakes? Do you like romance? What about podcasts?

If you answered yes to most of those, no to romance then maybe this is not the book for you. But if you answered yes to any of those, and yes to romance then maybe you should pick up this lovely summer read and give it a go.

This book is not perfect. No book ever is. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t find this one perfectly enjoyable for a summer day that’s cool where it’s supposed to be warm.

The protagonist, Kate, or Kat if you hate her is unsure, yet confident in herself in a way I appreciate.

Her best friend is loyal in a way a lot of teenage girls are not portrayed.

Diego is lovely. He’s awkward and charming and my kind of lead. He’s sweet and yet sucks at being straight forward and should probably learn to be so but it makes for some great reading in this case so I won’t complain too much.

The podcast as a plot device was very entertaining and I found myself wanting more of those snippets as they were really enjoyable.

 

Review: Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding

accepting the fallAccepting the Fall by Meg Harding

Publisher: Oceanside Press

Length (Print & Ebook): 62k 

Subgenre: Contemporary Romance

Buy Now

Summary:

Confronting the past is never easy.

Cole Whitaker is happy. He has the job and boyfriend he always wanted. His heart’s in no danger of being broken, and he can’t ask for more from life. As a kindergarten teacher, he sees it all; however, one troublesome student has him reaching out to the parent, wanting to help. There’s something about Savanah that tugs at his heartstrings.

He never expected her father.

Zander Brooks hasn’t had an easy life, and he’s made some mistakes. Freshly retired from the military and working as a firefighter, Zander thought he’d left Cole in the rearview mirror. He’s not expecting him to appear in St. Petersburg, Florida, of all places, teaching his daughter’s kindergarten class. Suddenly, his biggest mistake is being shoved in his face.
This is Zander’s chance to close a door he’d never fully shut, but time with his former flame might change his mind.

Author Meg Harding’s take on Accepting the Fall: “Not everything is perfect, and it’s not always going to go right the first time around. It’s not any less special because it was flawed.”

Praise for Accepting the Fall: “A character driven, second-chance romance. Recommended for anyone craving a low-angst, tender, contemporary story stuffed to the brim with feels and sweetness.” – Piper Vaughn

Teaser:

“I’ll handle this,” he said. He fished around in the backpack he’d brought along and withdrew a small pill bottle. “Ibuprofen. Take one.” He held it out.

Zander glared. There was a drop of sweat beading at Cole’s temple and his hair—what could be seen of it poking from the hat—was curling. Zander simultaneously wanted to see Cole looking similarly hot and flushed while underneath him and to tell his upbeat ass to fuck right off with his ibuprofen and sunny attitude.

Cole shook it, his lips twitching. “On second thought, take two or three. Your eye’s started to twitch.” Whatever restraint Cole had been using must have escaped him, and he let a smug smirk takeover his stupidly handsome face.

Before common sense was able to get a word in, Zander stepped forward. The animal instinct part of him had one goal in mind: kiss the smirk till it went away. Their past didn’t matter in the present. Cole was here and everything about him tugged on parts of Zander he didn’t know what to do with. Only Cole had ever made Zander’s brain go blank with need. Cole turned Zander into the kind of person Zander didn’t know how to be, and much like in the past, it was irresistible.

And terrifying.

Unlike his seventeen-year-old self, the adult Zander did now—deep down—possess the tiniest inkling of self-control. It was this iron will that enabled his common sense to kick in right as the tips of his shoes brushed the tips of Cole’s. Cole’s hand, bottle covered by his curled fingers, pressed against Zander’s diaphragm. Zander could feel the jut of Cole’s knuckles through the thin fabric of his shirt. Cole’s eyes were wide saucers, the blue almost entirely swallowed by the expanding black of his pupils.

It was the same look he’d given Zander on the bus.

Zander sucked in a shaky breath and on legs that felt wooden, took several steps back. He held his palm out and Cole let the bottle fall, landing dead center. “Thanks,” said Zander, far too huskily.

About Meg Harding:  Meg Harding is a sucker for things on four legs and works as a pet meg hardingsitter when she’s not writing. She’s an editor and a lover of fanfiction. She enjoys the theatre, concerts, and lazing about in front of the TV. Meg Harding is a graduate of UCF and Anglia Ruskin, with a bachelors in Psych and a masters in publishing. For as long as she can remember, writing has always been her passion, but she had an inability to ever actually finish anything. She’s immensely happy that her inability has fled and looks forward to where her mind will take her next. She’s a sucker for happy endings, the beach, and superheroes. In her dream life she owns a wildlife conservation and is surrounded by puppies. She’s a film buff, voracious reader, and a massive geek.

Connect with Meg Harding: Author Site | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Our Thoughts:

Continue reading “Review: Accepting the Fall by Meg Harding”

Review: Wheels and Heels by Jaime Samms

wheels and heelsTitle: Wheels and Heels

Author: Jaime Sams

Genre: LGBTQIA+, Romance

Summary:

As a teenager, Ira Bedford fled a troubled home life and people who didn’t understand his penchant for feminine things. In the city, he fell in with Cedric, who found him work as an underage stripper. It took him years to escape Cedric’s influence and try to build a life of his own.

Now, he just wants to be left alone to create his art. But Cedric’s on-going harassment means Ira had to drop out of art school, is squatting in a friend’s apartment, and is still relying on his allure as a sexy, skirt-wearing exotic dancer to pay his bills.

Then he meets Jed. Part-time bartender and the apartment building’s superintendent, Jed is just the right mix of strong, kind, and protective to pull Ira out of hiding. He also welcomes Ira into his chosen family at the Hen and Hog Pub. But Ira yearns for more. Still, he doesn’t dare to hope that Jed will want him and his questionable past, his skirts and high heels, his hang-ups, and the profession he seems unable to escape. But Jed will do anything to prove him wrong.

Review:

The strength in this book lies within the warmth of it’s characters, even the minor ones. Ira is unabashedly, unapologetically himself, which is something I can admire in fiction and real life. It just so happens that being yourself, no matter what, can sometimes result in people being dickheads, as seen within the pages of this book. Luckily, sometimes you can find people who will stand with you no matter what.

Jed is one of those people and he is an absolute delight. Burly, and a biker with an ooey gooey warm center that I just LOVE. He doesn’t judge people based on appearance. Hell, he doesn’t even judge people based on circumstance.

Basically he’s my kind of guy.

These two together just make it, and although the time line was a little confusing, as in how much time does pass in this book? And the fact that its the opposite of a slow burn, I still enjoyed it.

One of the delights of this book for me was also that it takes place in a city I know, love, have lived in and was born in ❤ I will always read about Canada.

The only part I couldn’t get through was the sex scenes but that’s a very it’s not you it’s me situation.

I do look forward to reading more of the Hen and Hog series.

Received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Review: Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell

almost midnightTitle: Almost Midnight

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

Summary: Midnights is the story of Noel and Mags, who meet at the same New Year’s Eve party every year and fall a little more in love each time . . .

Kindred Spirits is about Elena, who decides to queue to see the new Star Wars movie and meets Gabe, a fellow fan.

Midnights was previously published as part of the My True Love Gave to Me anthology, edited by Stephanie Perkins and Kindred Spirits was previously published as a World Book Day title.

Review: 

Midnights is a beautifully written story, spanning many years, and all the same characters as they change throughout time. But some things, such as love, definitely stay the same, even flourish.

It is heart-warming, and wonderfully written by one of my favourite authors. Rainbow Rowell is a master when it comes to language, and making her readers feel something. This is sweet, cute, and to the point with a hint of nostalgia.

Kindred Spirits is a tribute to fandom, to the people that follow it, and love it, sometimes to their own sleepy detriment.

It is also a tribute to Star Wars, and what that franchise, and its characters has come to mean for the fans. It was sweet, and well written with just the slightest bit of conflict.

To me it was very Breakfast Clubesque, but with some awesome fandom references.

 

Review: Eliza and her Monsters


64Title: 
Eliza and Her Monsters

Author: Francesca Zappia

Genre: Romance, contemporary, YA

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea.

Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community, and has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fan fiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

With illustrations from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums and snippets of Wallace’s fan fiction, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

Review: 

This book. This freaking book. This wonderful book. These characters. Please just take a chance on this if you have ever considered yourself a nerd, or a geek, or for a time or even now find the online world a more comfortable place to be than the real world. You need to go to your local book retailer, or your library, or online and get a copy of this book.

I will start out by saying that I bought this book two days ago and started and finished it in one sitting. I devoured the words on the page, and the illustrations and I adored the meta within.

The setting is standard, a girl’s bedroom, her computer, her art, her whole life encompassed in one room and school the interloper in that life.

It’s possible I felt an affinity for this character because she reminds me so much of myself when I was younger. I often felt more comfortable online, behind a computer screen, only instead of drawing I would write feverishly, words flowing out about my favourite characters in TV, movies and books. My friends, encouraging me from around the world.

I was never a big name though, but did seek comfort from my anxiety in that world. Sometimes I still do.

This book is reminiscent of Fangirl, which is one of the things that appealed to me about it. It is a familiar world in this genre now and I am not complaining as it does remain set apart, without seeming to copy Rowell’s work. Eliza’s journey is individual, and wonderful on its own without the comparison.

The story unfolds with each anticipatory word, skillfully written, and each artwork, beautifully rendered. There is immense growth within the characters, and a bleak, hopeless moment or two that had me clutching my eReader, half panicked.

It is not without flaws, sometimes the characters seem a touch pretentious, but then don’t we all when we’re teenagers, thinking we know everything? Their self-absorption is as real as the words on the page, but so is their character development and their gaining strength.

It is a real, and sometimes upsetting portrayal of anxiety that really impressed me in this, the symptoms and the feelings of that vivid, and possibly triggering.

Favourite Quotes:

“That computer is my rabbit hole; the internet is my wonderland. I am only allowed to fall into it when it doesn’t matter if I get lost.”

“Monstrous Sea is mine.
I made it, not the other way around.
It’s not a parasite, or an obligation, or a destiny.
It’s a monster.
It’s mine.
And I have a battle-axe waiting for it.”

“I do have friends. Maybe they live hundreds of miles away from me, and maybe I can only talk to them through a screen, but they’re still my friends. They don’t just hold Monstrous Sea together. They hold me together.
Max and Emmy are the reason any of this exists.”

What I plan to read next by this author:
The Children of Hypnos
Made You Up

Review: Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

jane of austin

Title: Jane of Austin

Author: Hillary Manton Lodge

Genre: Romance

Rating: Image result for heart emojiImage result for heart emojiImage result for heart emoji

“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience – or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”―Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

Just a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn’t so far away.


Continue reading “Review: Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge”