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!

Book Review: Birthday – Meredith Russo

Two kids, Morgan and Eric, are bonded for life after being born on the same day at the same time. We meet them once a year on their shared birthday as they grow and change: as Eric figures out who he is and how he fits into the world, and as Morgan makes the difficult choice to live as her true self. Over the years, they will drift apart, come together, fight, make up, and break up—and ultimately, realize how inextricably they are a part of each other. 

After reading Meredith Russo’s first novel and absolutely adoring it I knew I had to pick up this one as soon as I could get my hands on it. And, as I hoped, the book did not disappoint.

The fact this book is spread out across 5 years just adds to how impressed I was by it. It’s not easy to have characters show growth in such a short space of time and it was pulled off really well. Both Eric and Morgan evolve throughout the novel but also keep the essence of who they are when we meet them in the first chapter.

I think the book could have been double the length and I’d still have loved it. I can understand why it wasn’t but the issues within are so complex I wanted to know even more. In particular, I wanted to know more about the relationship between them both when they were small, more about Morgan’s mother and their relationship.

It’s undeniable that this is an incredibly tough read at times, I fought back tears while reading and wanted to reach through the book and hug both of the characters. That said, most of my love went to Morgan, I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in a body that isn’t mine and have to pretend around the people you love. It also made me consider the fact that we really don’t know what’s going on in a someones head and the need to be kind to people.

Meredith Russo herself is a trans women and I think this only adds to what we can learn as a reader. Russo is writing Morgan’s struggle with her body through the lense of someone who has been through it. We definitely need more own voices novels and Russo is one to watch.

I don’t think it’s going to be any surprise that I gave this 5 stars. This was incredibly well written and I felt very emotional reading. While I am not trans, I can appreciate that as Russo writes, she is writing from the heart. I’ve recommended this to so many friends already as soon as I finished it.

My YALC 2019 Haul Part 2

My YALC 2019 Haul Part 2

Yesterday I shared with you the first part of my YALC Haul and some of the 25 (!!) books that came back home with me. Are you ready for part 2? I definitely am!

The blurb of All The Invisible Things says that this is great for ‘fans of Laura Steven and Holly Bourne’ with strong feminist feels. Yes please!

Towards the end of the day I also picked up an exclusive copy of This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura. I’ve heard a lot about this on Booktube from those across the pond – it focuses on family and finding something to fight for.

I also found a poetry book at YALC! I hope there will be more to come in the future. I picked up There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé by Morgan Parker which I’ve seen around for a while. I’m interested to see what it’s about.

Another popular Booktube novel I’ve seen constantly in the past few months is Frankly in Love by David Yoon, I picked this up free when I bought another book on the Penguin stand. My copy also has a YALC exclusive cover, yay! It’s all about love, family and tradition. I can’t wait to read this one.

Who else read Sarah Dessen as a teen? I certainly did. So I picked up her latest novel with her new publisher. The Rest Of The Story is about Emma connecting and learning about her mother’s family, who she hasn’t spent much time with since she died. This is going to hit me in the feels isn’t it?

I hadn’t heard of A Good Hiding before YALC it features a teenage pregnancy, a friendship and I *think* it has some LGBT rep too, I’ll keep you posted.

So, Olivia Twist, a gender swap Oliver Twist – do I need to say any more? GENDER SWAP OLIVER TWIST. I hope we get a male Nancy equivalent.

Watch Us Rise by Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan has been on my radar for a while. There’s feminism, friendship and teenage activism. That’s all I know but that is all I need to know.

I was a big fan of Meredith Russo’s first novel and she’s back with another one that looks to be incredible. This follows two friends throughout their lives and had LGBTQ rep! Yessss! I’m excited.

Lily’s Just Fine is another book that I didn’t know about but I found it on a stall for the steal price of £4 and got it signed by the author. This is a contemporary romance with ‘Scotland’s most determined teenager’. Sounded like a bit of light fun to read so of course I picked it up.

And again, I hadn’t heard of Battle Ground BUT it’s set in a post Brexit dystopian world and I got chatting to the author who also signed it for me. I’m curious to see what literature comes out of Brexit and this is the first YA book about it I’ve come across.

Romanov is a reimagining of Anastasia with magic, that’s all I know but I loved the film Anastasia as a kid so why not pick this one up?

And last but not least I picked up Misfit by Charli Howard, I picked this up so that I could get my free copy of Frankly in Love and it was the first YALC purchase I read! It was an ok read for me, it’s Charli’s memoir of her life as a model and dealing with eating disorders. It was a 3 star read for me.

Now, how about a BONUS! I know this was meant to be about the books but I did pick up these from Fable and Black and look how cute these are! Look!

Are you looking to pick up any of these books? Were you at YALC? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: Prince Charming (Royals) – Rachel Hawkins

It isn’t every day that your older sister is set to marry a member of the royal family, but that’s the position that Daisy and her family find themselves in – and she wants no part of it. She’s happy with her florida life, her mermaid red hair and staying out of the paparazzi’s way. But, when a whiff of scandal comes for Daisy she’s shipped off the Scotland…and it’s just the beginning of a royal rollercoaster.

I picked this up at YALC last year, but didn’t get around to it until earlier this year and I’m kicking myself for waiting that long! This is a light story but one that is a lot of fun and has a healthy dose of romance. When I bought my copy the novel was called Royals, this has been update this year to Prince Charming, with a new cover to die for.

First things first, our protagonist, Daisy, is an absolute delight. She’s hilarious but also glaringly normal – which is why you relate to her so much. There’s no rule book on what to do if you become in laws to the royal family or how to get on with the aristocracy when it’s a whole different world – I know I would struggle!

When Daisy meets the younger royals and their friends, Prince Seb, Monty and the rest of the ‘Royal Wreckers’ is when the fun really begins. As Monty is instructed to teach Daisy the royal ropes, he finds his work cut out for him. Daisy doesn’t fit the role of the traditional lady, but it’s because of that she can teach them a thing or two.

I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Daisy and her older sister Ellie evolve throughout the book. It’s clear at the start they are very different people with different priorities but they need each other – even if they don’t always see it. I wish we saw more of the sister relationship in YA, this is part of the reason the novel really stood out for me.

I gave this 5 stars, this was an absolute joy to read. It had the perfect amount of romance, comedy and royalty for me to enjoy. I’ve recommended this to a lot of people and I will continue to. Keep an eye out for my review of the next book in the series (!!) following the roommate of Princess Flora.

Book Review: The Paper and Hearts Society – Lucy Powrie

Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn’t want to go to parties – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book. It’s like she hasn’t found her people …

Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING – especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.

If you’re a big fan of YA in the UK you might join in on UKYA chat hosted by none other than Lucy Powrie so when we found out she was publishing a book of course I preordered it. THEN I got super lucky and was granted an advance reader copy through Netgalley (thank you to Lucy, the publisher and Netgalley) and I’m so glad I did. Welcome to the Paper and Hearts Society.

Since Tabby moved in with her Grandma making friends hasn’t been at the top of her priority list. Who needs friends when you have books, right? It’s only after going to the library she finds a leaflet for a new book club and decides to take the plunge. While fighting with her anxiety and past experiences. Lucy writes about anxiety so well, there are few books that have such good representation.

This is truly a book about friendship and finding your way. Overall it is a sweet read and has a very diverse group of characters, although I have to say it doesn’t seem forced. It simply represents young people today and the lives they may have.

I will say that at first I wasn’t sure if I was the ideal reader at the old age of 24. I could take a guess at some of what was going to happen and I felt a little too old but the more I read the more I fell in love with the book and characters. It didn’t matter I’d work some things out ahead of time I just wanted more.

Also a huge shout out, which I sent Lucy a DM about, to the love for Sylvia Plath throughout the book. I am a HUGE Plath fan, The Bell Jar is one of my top books of all time, her poetry was incredible and it is so rare to see Plath mentioned in YA. So, on a personal note I really enjoyed seeing that and I feel it gave great insight into Tabby and her character.

I gave this 4 out of 5 stars a solid first novel and I’m really looking forward to reading the next books in the series. A huge congratulations to Lucy! Thanks again to Lucy, the publisher and Netgalley for this opportunity.

Book Review: The Year I Didn’t Eat – Samuel Pollen

14-year-old Max has a fight on his hands. Living with Anorexia is tough enough without having to be at school and trying to keep it secret from your closest friends. As Max writes to ‘Ana’ and tries to navigate his illness he has to deal with the new girl at school who won’t stop staring, family drama and seeing his therapist. Can he beat this?

I was asked if I would like to receive a copy of this novel and I was immediately intrigued. There are very few stories of teenage boys going through an eating disorder, so of course, I wanted to read, I’m incredibly glad I did.

Starting and ending on Christmas day, the novel chronicles a year in Max’s life, alongside writing a diary to his disorder – aptly named Ana. This was a particular highlight for me, the writing was emotional but not sad – I actually laughed a fair bit reading this. Pollen isn’t trying to make Max a sympathy figure. The combination of the diary entries and showing some of the obsessive thoughts was incredibly well done –  I could see similarities between Max’s and my own thoughts from our respective mental illnesses.

It is mentioned a few times within the novel the disconnect that Max feels from what is stereotypically viewed as what a with Anorexia looks like – a teenage girl. By confronting this head-on, Pollen shows insight into something incredibly important – anyone can get a mental illness. The fact that Max is a teenage boy, known for being quite geeky with a loving family and great friends and still has these problems reinforces that.

This shows a new level of representation that is rarely seen, in fact, I don’t believe I have ever read a novel featuring a guy with an eating disorder – which is absurd! I’m hopeful that this will start more conversations. The fact that Pollen has drawn on his own experiences makes this even more realistic.

The novel shows not only the impact that eating disorders have on the person with the illness but also the pressure it can put on families. We meet Max’s family and often feel for them as much as him. That said, despite the hardships faced, Max’s relationship with his older brother Robin was probably my favourite part. They truly seem to care for each other and Robin’s encouragement of Geocaching really seems to be a turning point.

Of course, this is a tough read and it does give descriptions of disordered eating and calories – if these are tough for you to read it might be worth picking this up at a later point.

Is it any surprise that I gave this 5 stars?  This is a novel that needed to be written. Showing that eating disorders can affect anyone and that, by talking about it, we have more of a chance of helping those going through it. I absolutely adored this novel – it will truly make its mark. I truly feel that this will make people feel less alone.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Conker communications for the chance to read this in exchange for an open and honest review.

2019 Book Releases

5 2019 Book Releases I Can’t Wait To Read

A New Year means a whole load of new releases to come. Yep, that is something I get super excited about it so I thought why not share it with all of you? Without further ado here are the 5 2019  Book Releases I Can’t Wait To Read. 

The Curses - Laure Eve

The Curses – Laure Eve 

I absolutely loved The Graces and couldn’t WAIT to read the second in the series. This was meant to come out last year but got pushed to this year. I can’t wait to find out what happens next after the first books ending. 

Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus 

In 2017 I read McManus’s One Of Us Is Lying and devoured it in one day. So, when I heard about another novel from her, of course, I wanted it! Secrets, lies and death, what more could you want? 

Internment – Samira Ahmed 

My first read of 2018 was Samira Ahmed’s debut novel Love, Hate and Other Filters and I absolutely LOVED it. Internment considers an America where Muslims are put into internment camps. Not only am I excited to read this, I can’t wait for it to do some good in the world. 

The Hormone Diaries – Hannah Witton 

I think Hannah Witton is a brilliant Youtuber. I’ve been watching her for a few years now and was really interested in her Hormone Diary videos. These were Hannah’s experiences on coming off the pill and her experiences of contraception, all the videos are here.

Her first book was absolutely fantastic and I’ve already pre-ordered this one. I cannot wait! 

A Court Of Thorns and Roses #4 – Sarah J Maas

While I’m writing this there is no title, no cover, no synopsis, just the fact that this is the next book in one of my favourite series. Really, there isn’t much I can say but I’m still super excited. If you haven’t read A Court of Thorns and Roses you can check out my first review

I’m fully aware that all of these are YA, but, they are what I’m most looking forward to. I’d love to hear some recommendations below from all of you. What are you looking forward to?