Book Review: American Royals – Katharine McGee

“HRH Princess Samantha has always been a royal rebel. She’s the spare not the heir, so no one minds too much who she dates or how hard she parties.

It helps that her sister, Princess Beatrice, is literally perfect. She’s demure, sweet and beautiful, and she knows that the crown always comes first – no matter what her heart might really want.

But they’re not the only ones with their eye on the throne. Daphne Deighton might be ‘newly noble’ but she won Prince Jefferson’s heart once, and she’ll do anything to get back into the court’s favour – and his bed.

If only she knew that her competition was a common nobody – plain little Nina Gonzalez, the daughter of the king’s secretary.

Together these four young women must navigate the drama, gossip, scheming and sizzling romance of the most glorious court in the world. There’s everything to play for – but there can only be one queen.”

Wow, welcome to your next fun royal read. This year I’ve really found myself loving books about fictional royalty and this has been a great addition. Set in an alternative United States, the Washington family have been ruling for generations Princess Beatrice is next in line with worries about heart vs head, Princess Samantha, on the other hand, can’t live up to her older sister and future Queen. Royal life is pretty complicated when you’re young.

Each of the women that narrated the novel has their own quirks and viewpoints. Personally, I loved Nina and Sam the most and found them the easiest to relate to. That said, I had a real soft spot for Beatrice because her life was set out for her – she reminded me a lot of depictions of a young Queen Elizabeth II and what it must have been like for her. The only character I could not stand (and I’m pretty sure that’s intentional) was Daphne but I kind of loved to hate her too.

There were points that I feel we’re very similar to The Crown and tales of the royalty we have here in the UK. While I can’t go into too much detail without getting into spoiler territory I could kind of work out bits and pieces of the novel ahead of time. While I completely get it – there isn’t a royal family in the US to base this on, it was a sticking point for me.

I would love for Jefferson’s point of view to be included in a later book – as the only male heir I wanted to know his thoughts, his motivations. We only see him through the eyes of his sisters, ex-girlfriend and love interest and I definitely think it would add to the narrative of the story.

I gave this 4 stars, for a while I was set on 3.5 for a while but the last few chapters cemented a higher rating for me and we end on a cliff-hanger and I need to know what happens next. Who will clean up the mess of the American royal family? Who will end up with who? I need to know and I will definitely be pre-ordering a copy of the second book in the series…even though the first hasn’t come out yet. Definitely a recommended read!

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag 2019 Edition

Unpopular Opinions Book Tag 2019 Edition

A while ago I did the Unpopular Opinions Tag and you guys seem to have really enjoyed it so how about a round 2? Brace yourselves guys, this might just get ugly. I’m kidding but I might just hit you in the feels.

What is a popular book or series that you didn’t like?

My Sister the Serial Killer – I listened to the audiobook and was bored. I’d heard so many good things about it but I just couldn’t get on with the plot or narration. But it’s up for a load of awards so other people seem to like it.

What is a popular book or series that everyone else seems to hate but you love?

I’ve gone back a little bit here (I couldn’t find anything recent that would fit this) – there is so much hate online for Looking For Alaska by John Green. Now, it has been a long time since I read it but I really, really enjoyed the book.

I think it was the second book by John Green I ever read and I thought it was well written and can’t remember having any issues with it.

What is a love triangle in a book or series where the main character ended up with the person you did not want them to end up with?

I actually can’t think of any, I guess the closest I can think of is Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games. Peeta was so pure and kind and I just don’t see it working with the two of them. Sorry not sorry.

What is a popular book genre that you hardly reach for?

Horror isn’t something I choose to read, I think if it had a really interesting plot I might try it but I just can’t seem to get into it! That and I have a really vivid imagination for that kind of stuff and will probably have the worst nightmares.

What is a popular or beloved character that you do not like?

There is a lot of love for Draco Malfoy in the Potter fandom and personally I don’t get it. He was a brat and a bully throughout the series and ultimately he was a coward. Nope, no love for Draco although a LOT of love for Tom Felton because he’s amazing.

Who is a popular author that you can’t seem to get into?

Rainbow Rowell. I tried to read Fangirl and I just really struggled to care and none of the other books interest me.

What is a popular book trope that you are tired of seeing?

Quiet girl who has been a nobody catches the eye of the most popular guy in school, romance ensues *swoon*. Nope, nope, nope. It gets so boring.

What is a popular book or series that you have no interest in reading?

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, I tried Fangirl and found it really boring and when I tried to read it it just seemed like a Harry Potter rip off – oops!

What is a movie or TV show adaption of a book or series that you like more than the book/s?

Only because of the length but Game of Thrones. The first book took me so long to get through and there were so many names and so much going on. I might change my mind when I pick them up again.

Did you agree with any of my unpopular opinions? Or do you have any of your own? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: White Rose – Kip Wilson

Disillusioned by the propaganda of Nazi Germany, Sophie Scholl, her brother, and his fellow soldiers formed the White Rose, a group that wrote and distributed anonymous letters criticizing the Nazi regime and calling for action from their fellow German citizens. The following year, Sophie and her brother were arrested for treason and interrogated for information about their collaborators.

I heard about Sophie and the White Rose a while ago after watching a short documentary so when I heard that this would coming out I was intrigued – particularly as it is written in verse. The book spans a few years of Sophie’s life as she tries to make sense of the world around her, be a young woman and fight for justice.

This is very much Sophie’s story. While, of course, the others members are mentioned if you’d like to know more about them there is definitely more research that can be done and that’s something I will undertake myself. We see events unfolding through her perspective, which her feelings towards those she loves and what her motivations would have been.

The book is a fairly quick read as it is written in verse, which isn’t something I pick up often. While I do appreciate the way it was written and think it was impactful I felt there was a certain level of information lacking so if you’re looking for something with a lot of detail this might not be the right book for you. That said, Sophie and her story does really come alive in this, so I would still recommend picking it up as a starting point to her story and that of the White Rose.

Overall I gave this book 4 stars. It’s a really clever way to tell Sophie’s story and I think it will definitely show a whole new audience her courage and bravery in the face of the Nazis. As mentioned I would have liked to have known more about the others who were executed alongside Sophie but this her story and what lead to the end of her life.

Q&A With Melanie Blake, Author Of The Thunder Girls

Melanie Blake is a pretty big deal – when you hear the term self-made woman she embodies it. As if being one of the UK’s leading music and entertainment managers wasn’t enough, Melanie has now turned author with the much anticipated novel. The Thunder Girls is here and it’s set to be the perfect summer read.

When I was asked to partner with Midas PR I jumped at the chance and a brilliant launch party I was able to get Melanie to answer a few questions.

Q: What was the main motivation for writing this novel? 

A: The characters had been in my consciousness for as long as I can remember and in a way their voices were so powerful, I had no choice but to tell their story. I do feel like The Thunder Girls are real and I guess I’m sort of like a medium they’ve shared their story through. Often when I would write, their voices were so strong I would find myself typing away almost in a trance and even when I read it back to edit, I was so engrossed- I knew I was onto a winner.

Q: Female friendship is at the centre of the novel, why do you think this isn’t something widely seen in novels? 

A: Publishers – lots of men are in power in publishing which is why you see so many male crime writers and not so many women writing about crime. What they fail to understand is that friendships are what make or break our lives so everyone who’s ever lived can identify with my book because we’ve all had those relationships, good and bad.

Q: Who were your writing inspirations? 

The women that influenced me to write in my early career where Jackie Collins, Lynda La Plante, Martina Cole, Judith Krantz, Jilly Cooper and Helen Fielding.

Q: Your characters are working class – what’s your advice for the modern working-class women? 

A: Never accept “no” for an answer. Never expect anyone to validate you. There’s an inherent stigma against working class, which is why you see so many successful working class and regional people often change their accents once they become successful. I never wanted to be part of ‘that club’. Being different is what makes us unique, despite what anyone tells you, never change. I spent my whole life being told “no” and when I stopped asking for approval, I started getting what I wanted. No-one is in charge of your own destiny but yourself. It doesn’t matter where you’re, from if you have a dream you must follow it.

Q: Do you consider this a feminist book? 

A: 100% – although on initial reading you don’t realise it is until you get halfway through. I’m not going to spoil the story but to say that it’s clear by the way it ends that these women know their own minds and bow to no man.

Q: And finally, what is one thing you want people to take away from reading this book? 

A: I want them to feel like they’ve been on an adventure, a white-knuckle rollercoaster ride that has moved them, made them laugh, made them cry, shocked them and warmed their hearts all at the same time, there’s a lot going on in this book.

A huge thank you to Melanie, Pan Macmillan, EDPR and Midas PR for this opportunity and my copy in exchange for this interview.

The Thunder Girls by Melanie Blake is out now, published by Pan Macmillan, priced £7.99 in paperback original. 

Blogging Struggles

Hellooooooo blogging friends!

Let’s be real here, trying to write a blog regularly can be damn hard work. This isn’t a post to complain with a ‘woe is me’ attitude. But, it is one that’s going to be pretty damn honest.

I’ve honestly felt so unmotivated. While there are pages of ideas for posts I’m kind of deflated. While everyone gets like this and, real talk, it can feel incredibly frustrating to be blogging for years and then see newbie bloggers getting great sponsorships and collabs. There’s no shade in that but it can really make you question yourself and your blog.

So, I thought, why not write a blog about not being able to write a blog. There we go. What an idea! I guess, part of this is me forcing myself to write and publish something no matter how I feel about it and, quite frankly, getting over myself and this writing thing. The only way I’m going to get out of this damned slump is by writing myself out of it.

I’m fully aware this has become a storytime/pep talk for myself/ word vomit situation and you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m okay proving that I’m not a perfect blogger, I’m just doing the best I can with what I’ve got.

How I’ve Evolved As A Blogger

Ah blogging, something we all love – well I’d assume so, seeing as you’re reading one! As I write this I’m struggling with blogger block, I’ve got over 100 ideas in drafts but can I finish one I’m happy with? If you’re reading this then clearly I can.

I’ve been blogging on this site for almost 6 years, originally starting it just before I went to uni because I wanted to write about what it was really like to be a student, rather than just a generic guide. Comparing my blog then to what it is now is odd. I’ve grown as a person, but so has my blog.

I don’t post every day

When I went to uni I wanted to write on my blog every single day. It had a kind of diary element too I guess. The longer I’ve been writing the more emphasis I put on quality, not quantity. Each week I try to post 1 book review and 1 other post. I don’t put any more pressure on myself than that.

Of course, if there is something in the news or something that’s caught my eye that’s time sensitive I write about it. Personally, I think my blog is better for it.

I learnt about images – and where to get free ones!

When I first started I knew I wanted to write, that was it. I had a shiny camera and I’d try and add pictures when I could or I’d just find some on Google. I didn’t know about sites like Canva where I could create my own. I had no idea about image copyright – now it’s something I do and make sure that I only use images I have permission to use.

Everything about blogging has been a learning curve and I’ve gained so many skills from working on my little corner of the internet.

My writing is better

Every year I write the equivalent of a book on here (let’s hope I can sit down and write an actual book at some point too!) over 6 years that is a lot of writing. I can see such a positive change in my writing and hopefully in another 6 years it will have improved even more.

My opinion is valid (to some people at least!)

It’s crazy that I get asked to read and review books. I’ve been sent some absolutely incredible reads, my NetGalley is fit to burst – I couldn’t have imagined that people would care about my opinion on anything, let alone books.

I definitely feel like I’ve evolved for the better and while I might have a few slumps a year, and I do, it’s a part of me now. So, I’m curious how have your blogs evolved?