Review: Red, White & Royal Blue

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Publishing Date: 5/14/19
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Rating: 2/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue is Casey McQuiston’s debut novel. This romcom follows the First Son of the United States, Alex, falling in love with the Prince of Wales, Henry, in an enemies-turned-lovers whirlwind. I was initially super excited to read this book for various reasons:

  • The author is going to have a book event at a local bookstore near me in June.
  • Her book is turning into a movie.
  • There were great reviews on GoodReads.

After I finished the book, I had mixed feelings about it. First, let me start off with the positives:

  • The premise of the book intrigued me and I can totally tell why this was being picked up for a movie.
  • The diverse set of characters was definitely refreshing.
  • The strong overall message and representation in this book is wonderful to see and I’m glad to see that this is becoming more mainstreamed and discussed about.

Now with all the points I mentioned above, you would think that I would give this book a 4 or 5 star review, however, there were so many little things that made this book not so great which outweighed the pros and made it a 2 star review instead. There were a couple of times where I really wanted to DNF the book, but I decided to go through to finish it hoping it would get better and to also provide a fair and unbiased full review. Here is the list of issues I had with the book:

  • Political Ideas: Now I understand that because we are talking about the First Family that there will be some political ideas shared in here, but the author basically shoves all her political ideas into this book and calls it “romance.” I typically avoid books that are over political and thought this would only have light politics, but there are so many political digs thrown to the reader that it’s poorly executed no matter what political party you affiliate with.
  • Characters: All the characters, especially the main characters, are so unlikable and so rude. The characters are a bit immature – more to come on that later.
  • Dialogue: The things the characters say are either too much slang, profanity or just downright corny.
  • Plot:The plot is a bit all over the place and it seems like some of the things in here were just out of place.
  • Writing style: The story reads like “fan fiction” that you would find on the internet, but not in an actual novel. Also I was a bit surprised on how this read more of a YA than an adult romcom instead. I assumed since the characters were in their early 20s, it would be a bit more mature, but the writing ended up being a bit more cheesy instead.

Overall, the book just wasn’t for me. With that said, I wouldn’t say to disregard this book completely, but it wouldn’t the best book you’ve read in romance though.

Review: How Not To Die Alone

How Not To Die Alone by Richard Roper

Publication Date: 5/28/19

Publisher: Penguin Group Putnam / G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Penguin Group Putnam / G.P. Putnam’s Sons in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

Review: How Not To Die Alone is Richard Roper’s debut novel. This contemporary novel follows a middle aged man, Andrew, who works for a death registry and is offered a second chance at life and love when he develops an unlikely friendship. I started reading this book a couple of months ago and dismissed this book a bit too quickly. I initially didn’t finish it quite simply because I thought it wasn’t a right fit for me. The book was a bit depressing for my taste as the main character works for a death registry. After seeing this book as a May BOTM selection, I decided to pick it up again to see what I was missing out on. I’m glad I decided to read it again because even though the book is a bit depressing, there are moments where it’s funny, sweet, and touching. I liked the characters in the book as they were pretty lovable and realistic. The story was intriguing even though the death registry part was a bit morbid and I wasn’t a big fan of the British terms/jargon. I recommend you pick it up if you enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant.

Review: The Unhoneymooners

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Publication Date: 5/14/19
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC from Gallery Books in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

Review: I was so excited to hear that Christina & Lauren were coming out with a new romcom, The Unhoneymooners. This delightful contemporary romance follows Olive and Ethan. Olive, the maid of honor, and Ethan, the best man and Olive’s nemesis, end up going her sister and his brother’s honeymoon after the rest of the wedding party gets food poisoning. Now they’re stuck together for 10 nights in beautiful Hawaii. Will it be fun in paradise or hell on the island? I’m always a sucker for a great enemies-turned-lovers and this did not disappoint! I loved how refreshing both the main characters were. They both strong and mature for the most part. They may be a bit stubborn, but I loved their character development and how they were aware of other people around them. I also loved Olive and Ethan’s chemistry as well. The writing style kept me intrigued. While I was reading, I could imagine this romcom being played out as a movie. There were some parts of the story where I literally laughed out loud. As I was getting to the end of the story, I was getting a bit sentimental and didn’t want it to end. I highly recommend reading this novel whether it’s your first Christina Lauren novel or your sixth!

Review: The Last Time I Saw You

The Last Time I Saw You by Liv Constantine

Publication Date: 5/7/19
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: 3/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced copy of this book from Harper Collins in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

Review: The Last Time I Saw You is the latest thriller from sisters, Lynne and Valerie Constantine, who go under the pen name of Liv Constantine. I loved their first book, The Last Mrs. Parrish, and was thrilled to hear about this one! Kate English is coping with the death of her mother who was recently murdered. During this time, Kate reconnects with her estranged longtime friend, Blair, a successful mystery writer, who decides to put her skills to the test to figure out who murdered Kate’s mother. Overall, I thought the book was a decent read. The characters were well developed and well written. The beginning felt a bit too slow for me and I was getting impatient reading about the backstory. The last 100 pages is where all the action took place. It didn’t keep me at the edge of my seat like The Last Mrs. Parrish and a couple of the twist were a bit predictable. However, there some things I didn’t see coming and I really liked the way the ending was. All in all, I have to say that I do prefer The Last Mrs. Parrish over this one, but The Last Time I Saw You is definitely worth checking out.

Review: The Night Before

The Night Before by Wendy Walker

Publication Date: 5/14/19

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Rating: 2/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

Review: The Night Before is the second book from Wendy Walker I’ve read. This thriller follows two sisters who uncover long held secrets when an internet date spirals out of control. I may be in the minority here, but I wasn’t a fan of this thriller at all which is unfortunate because I really loved Wendy Walker’s other book, Emma In The Night. I found this book to be underwhelming and too predictable. The book starts off a bit slow and doesn’t pick up until about a third of the way into it. Though I enjoyed the various perspectives, the writing felt flat and a bit repetitive. The characters lack depth. The main character, Laura, seems to overthink too much and most of the characters just make bad choices which you can’t even feel sorry for them. I’d recommend skipping this one as there are better thrillers out there.

Review: Before She Was Found

Before She Was Found by Heather Gudenkauf

Publication Date: 4/16/19

Publisher: Park Row Books (Harper Collins)

Rating: 5/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced reader copy of this book from TLC Book Tours & Harper Collins in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review or rating.

Review: Before She Was Found is the first book I’ve read from Heather Gudenkauf. This thriller follows three preteen girls involved in attempted murder investigation in a small quiet town in Iowa. One girl is severely injured, another is in a shock state, and the last one refuses to help the authorities. Wow what a twisted and mind f*** of a book! This deserves all the stars and it’s the third book this year that I gave a 5 star review. I loved the format and the various perspectives in this novel. The story kept me engaged and on my toes from page one. I really loved Heather’s writing style and how she was able to create such depth with multiple characters. Her way of being able to write adult and child perspectives is captivating. Also just when I thought I was figuring out the ending, another twist I didn’t expect comes in. Overall, I highly recommend anyone who loves thrillers to pick up this book. You don’t want to miss out!

Review: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal

Publishing Date: 4/30/19

Publisher: Harper Collins

Rating: 4/5

Disclaimer: I received a free advanced digital copy of this book from Harper Collins in exchange for my honest opinion. This has no effect on my opinion, review, or rating.

Review: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters is the second book I’ve read from Balli Kaur Jaswal. This contemporary novel is a heartwarming story of three estranged sisters who go on a pilgrimage to India to fulfill their mother’s dying wish. Overall, this was a great read. The book started off slow, but started picking up momentum towards the middle. I love that the author was able to combine serious issues along with implementing the culture of India and adding some humor in some areas. I also really liked how all the sisters were complex characters and how the reader learns about the strained relationships and secrets. If you loved Erotic Stories of Punjabi Widows, then you’ll definitely want to read this one!