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 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!

Christina Lauren Novels

This past year I discovered Christina Lauren and they have now become one of my favorite authors. They are a best friend duo who write contemporary romance novels. I’ve finally caught up with all of their stand alone novels and made a quick infographic if you’re trying to decide which one of their books would fit your romantic tastes 🙂

I can’t wait for their new novel to come out in October 2019!

Review: When Polly Met Olly

When Polly Met Olly by Zoe May

Publication Date: 1/7/19
Publisher: HQ Digital
Rating: 3/5

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

Review: When Polly Met Olly is the second book I’ve read from Zoe May. This lighthearted romance read follows how New York matchmakers, Polly and Olly, working for competing firms meet and fall for each other. Overall, it was a decent read. I loved the concept of the story. However, I found myself a bit surprised with the amount of British terms used for someone who was supposedly living in New York for several years and the dialogue from other characters used British term as well. Aside from that, I do like Zoe’s writing style as it kept it me interested throughout the story. I wasn’t a big fan of the chemistry between the two main characters. It seemed a bit too far fetched, but the story came together and had a cute ending. Overall, I’d recommend reading Zoe’s other book, Perfect Match, over this one, but I am looking forward to more of her future work.

Review: A Woman Is No Man

A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum

Publication Date: 3/5/19
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: 4/5

Review: I decided to choose A Woman Is No Man by Etaf Rum as my February BOTM pick. This contemporary novel follows three generations of Palestinian women living in Brooklyn: Fareeda who moves to America from the refugee camps in Palestine, Isra who has an arranged marriage with one of the sons and faces motherhood, and Deya who is the daughter of Isra and faces whether to enter into an arranged marriage of her own or take control of her future. Overall, this debut is extremely empowering and tragic. It shows the resilience and strength of women, the oppression of culture, and the choices that affect others. I took my time with this one because the content was so heavy and emotional. The beginning started a bit slow for me, but I didn’t mind due to the intriguing plot line. Etaf’s writing style can be described as raw and beautifully tragic This book gave me into a bit more insight about the culture of Palestine. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read a book that sheds light on a culture that isn’t discussed much in fiction and that will resonate with you.