Monday, July 15, 2019

Book Review: "Red, White & Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston

Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Page Length: 423 pages
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Date Started: July 7, 2019
Date Finished: July 13, 2019
Rating: 4.5 // 5 stars

Since before this book even came out people have been raving over it. Everyone talked about how it was phenomenal, funny, and one of the best debut books of the year. After reading it, I'm inclined to agree.

Do I think this book was perfect? No. There were a few times while reading it where I felt like it was dragging. I thought it could have been a bit shorter than 400+ pages. However, that was pretty much my only issue with this book. My overall thoughts of this book consist of: "Oh my gosh" and "AHHH" and "I love it."

I think one of the reasons I liked this book so much was that I could see myself in it. Now, obviously I'm not a princess or a the daughter of the president but when I saw I could see myself in this book I mean it in a different way. I could see myself in the struggles of the characters when they discuss their childhoods, their relationships, their sexualities. That representation is something I don't typically get in a fantasy book so I really enjoyed seeing it here. Additionally, I could see my political views represented in this book and that's something usually not shown in books.

I thought the story itself was compelling and interesting, though it felt a bit insta-love to me. I know the characters have big backstories with each other, but we didn't get to read those and were only told about their previous encounters. While I liked where we started, it felt a bit sudden to me when we'd moved so quickly past the just-friends stage. Still, I loved their relationship and the plot outside of just theirs.

Another thing that was absolutely amazing was the relationships the characters had outside of each other. Seeing strong sibling relationships, parental ones, etc was wonderful since so many books I read have negative relationships in them. Also, seeing a character with divorced parents like I have was great since usually parents are either in a (happy or unhappy) marriage still or one of them is dead. I have to say, I'd read an entire book about Henry, Alex, and all their friends hanging out at the lake house.

The political journey was interesting. I'm not one who enjoys politics but am more someone who is being forced to pay attention because it affects almost every aspect of my life. Seeing different political processes that I'd never much thought about was interesting to say the least and I'll definitely be looking more into it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It's definitely going to be one of my favorite contemporary books for a long time and I know for sure that I'll reread it at some point. I also highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't know much about American politics but wants to learn the basics without having to go to school for 10924 years.



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Saturday, July 13, 2019

Book Review: "Hypnotizing Beat" by Katherine McIntyre

Title: Hypnotizing Beat
Author: Katherine McIntyre
Series: "Discord's Desire" #2
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Page Length: 208 pages
Publication Date: May 27, 2019
Date Started: June 8, 2019
Date Finished: June 8, 2019
Rating: 4 // 5 stars

*I was sent a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

I was pretty excited when Katherine reached out about a review for this book. I'd really enjoyed the first book in this series and I'd also enjoyed Katherine's other books that I've read so far. Additionally, something about the synopsis of this book just pulled me in.

I have to say, I think this is my favorite of Katherine's books. It involves some of my absolute favorite things to see in books such as friends to enemies to lovers, heists, steamy smut, and paranormal tensions. While the first book in this series was good, this one took it to a whole new level.

One thing that I find is my favorite part of books is the connection I make to the characters. These characters were so well-written and fleshed out that it was easy to connect to them and see their growth. I swear, a solid character arc is one of the best and hardest things an author can write. Seeing both Danica and Trevor grow throughout this book was just great. They both have their issues in the beginning and this book isn't one where they're just suddenly fixed---no, it takes time for these characters to work through their pasts. They're not perfect, it's not easy, and it's not instantaneous. But that makes it realistic and I really enjoyed the characters.

Like I said, plot wise this included some of my favorite things: heists, friends to enemies to lovers, paranormal tensions, smut, being on the run, etc. It was like a checklist of one thing I loved after the other. There were even more bits that I loved but don't want to talk about because of spoilers.


There were two reasons that I dropped a star. The first was that I felt like we didn't get to see as much of the band as we did in book 1. The two band members that haven't had a book felt like they didn't get much page time to me or bonding with the main characters. The other reason was that I felt for how high the stakes seemed to be, the ending was pretty fast and seemed a bit too easy to me. BUT that's not to say I didn't like how it ended because I did.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It's probably my favorite Katherine book and I already want to reread it. I really hope that Katherine writes more in this series and that I can see more of the characters we haven't yet heart from! I highly recommend this series for anyone who likes paranormal romance!



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag


Hey all! Today I'm finally doing a tag that I've been excited to do for months: the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag. I've seen so many people doing these and I've loved watching/reading all of it so I'm especially excited for this post. This tag was created years ago and this is my first time actually doing it! 

So far in 2019 I've read 87 (!!) books. I'm still not quite sure how I've managed to do that but I can only hope that the second half of the year is going to be as good. I have read so many great books and I have so many books that I'm excited to get to so let's just dive in! (P.S. just so that things don't get too crowded, all of these questions pertain only to this year and exclude rereads. P.P.S. some of these I could have listed 10+ but I've limited all but the last question to 5 or less). 



1. Best Book You've Read 

This was so hard to narrow down BUT I have a few. I'm not going to go super in depth on any of these since there are more of them than some other questions, but in no particular order we have:
  • The City of Brass and The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
  • Hunting Prince Dracula and Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
  • Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
I have so many other books I loved this year so far but these are the ones that are tied for top book of the year (so far). 



2. Best Sequel You've Read 

For this one I only have two, so I will be discussing them a bit but, again, not super in-depth. Also, I only picked books that were the second in a series even though I did read some books that were third, fourth, etc in a series. 

First up is Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. I was so highly anticipating this sequel that I was worried it wasn't going to live up to my expectations. It did. Everything got so much more intense in this book and the stakes were a lot higher. Additionally, that ending had me absolutely shook (and still does).

I also have The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty. I loved the first book so much and this book takes things to a whole new level. You care even more about the characters, the political intrigue and tensions are that much higher, and you're on the edge of your seat the whole time. 



3. New Release You Haven't Read but Want To

I have so many of these, so I've again narrowed it down to five. These are also only books I currently own and not all of the books I haven't yet bought but want to!
  • Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • Finale by Stephanie Garber
  • We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
  • The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

I'm actually currently reading one of these right now, but I'm not very far in yet so I still decided to count it for this question. 



4. Biggest Disappointment

I have three of these so I figured I would actually talk about them in this section. For two of these, I still enjoyed the book but it wasn't what I was expecting. For the last one, I just flat out did not like it.

First we have Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Now, I didn't hate this book but I also was expecting something so much better. After the amazingness that Lady Midnight was, this book just let me down so much. I can't even get into it too much without making this super long so...just...here's my review.

Second is Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. Again, I still enjoyed this book but I also didn't think it lived up to my expectations, the hype, or the greatness that was the Illuminae Files. I also think that it might not have been the right time for me to read it as I was super stressed and basically forcing myself to get through it. You can find my full review here.

Lastly is Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan which I just genuinely did not like. I can see from a rational standpoint where the hype is coming from but I also don't understand how so many critical readers think that this book is so amazing and has nothing wrong (insert shame-faced emoji here). When I first finished it I thought it was pretty good but looking back over the past few months...I did not have a fun time reading it. I could go on a whole tangent as to why this book disappointed me.



5. Biggest Surprise

First I have Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard which surprised me in the sense that it took this series to another level that the first two books hadn't reached yet. Also, all the twists in the end were just BAM BAM BAM.

Second, I have Kingsbane by Claire Legrand due to that killer plot twist at the end of the book that I still cry over. I honestly didn't see it coming and that in and of itself was a big surprise this year. 



6. Favorite New Author

S.A. Chakraborty, hands down. I'm so excited that she's going to be releasing another series after the conclusion of the Daevabad Trilogy



7. Newest Fictional Crush

I don't really have one? I just don't crush very hard anymore and a lot of the characters I love are ones that I loved before this year. I think I crush hard in the moment but for crushes I constantly think about, I've noticed that it usually takes a few books for me to die-hard love them. 



8. Newest Favorite Character

Nahri from The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty. She's just so strong and amazing even though she's in such a terrible situation. I love her so much and we STAN. 



9. Book that Made You Cry

The short list?
  • Only A Breath Apart by Katie McGarry
  • Kingsbane by Claire Legrand
  • Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard
  • The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Some of these were happy tears, some were sad tears, and a lot had a mix of both. There were others, but here are the books where I cried the most. 



10. Book that Made You Happy

Pretty much everything above but add Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey and so many other books. I read a lot of books that made me happy so far this year and I'm so glad about that fact.



11. Favorite Book to Movie Adaptation

I didn't see any. 



12. Favorite Review You've Written
I think the main reason I liked these were because I could just gush or put a lot of discussion into them. Also, I loved most of these books. 



13. Most Beautiful Book you Bought

To go with one that I haven't yet talked about: Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout.



14. What do you need to read by the end of the year? 

Pretty much my entire TBR but especially:
  • Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard
  • Godsgrave and Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff
  • Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
  • The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh
  • Red Rising saga by Pierce Brown
  • Finale by Stephanie Garber
  • Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
  • The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
  • Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout



Thanks for reading!
xoxo
Lauren



You can follow my bookstagram here. A brand new giveaway will be posted soon!

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