Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Ebook

Dates Read: 12/5/19-12/6/19

How I Found It: Amazon/ Book of the Month

In a moment of feeling cooler than I really am, I am happy to report that I had bought this book back in May, almost 6 months BEFORE BOTM decided to make this book one of its suggestions. At that point, I was just picking random books on Amazon whose cover I was attracted to (and if you have never done that then you are lying to yourself), and all those books ended up getting lost in all the other books on my Kindle app. But as soon as BOTM announced it, I hopped right on that bandwagon. Thankfully, the universe was on my side, and this book got chosen right away by the lucky wheel app. As fate would have it, I put the other book I was reading on the back burner so I could continue to cry and laugh throughout this one.

Alright, so we follow Alex, the First Son of the United States (FSOTUS) and future politician, as he attends the Royal Wedding. Upon seeing his arch enemy, Henry, aka the Prince of Wales, they get into a heated debate that leads to the two of them falling into the wedding cake. In an effort to get a more positive image, they are forced to become best friends to the media.

As the become fake friends, their real friendship begins to take off as well. Soon, they begin talking to each other all the time, often with insults, but at least it is talking. And then one faithful New Years Eve party (and a chasten kiss) changed everything. Soon they are actively taking each other’s pants off at any moment they can get. But being the FSOTUS (dumbest acronym) and the Prince of Wales does not a public relationship make, so they have to figure out how much they mean to each other before announcing to the world their feelings.

But also, people suck. That’s the story. People suck, but only cruddy people. The rest are pretty cool. And also, love your friends and family regardless of gender, sexuality, race, or any other bs label that people develop phobias of.

Okay, ignoring the negative comments about society, I really enjoyed this book! And I mean, there is a lot more that happens, but that’s the basic backbone. While at one point I was concerned that this was some surprise smut, it is just a normal book with a lot of sex but many of those details left out. And while I wouldn’t necessary recommend it to my grandmother (because in my mind she is celibate), I would totally recommend it to any of my friends (well, not “any”. Yay for racism and homophobia in America, amirite?) because it is genuinely just fun to read. I would ultimately give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, and a little magic well wish that this become a limited series on Netflix (but not movie, because if we are getting Henry, I want all the Henry).

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 11/5/19-11/7/19

How I Found It: Book of the Month

Quick warning to my father and grandmother who may or may not end up reading this post: Please wait until the next one for my big comeback.

Why hello surprise smut. Look, I am on the #stopsmutshaming bandwagon (P.S. make that a shirt please 🙂 ), but man, this book took a turn. It seems that I always go into books lately without any expectations and zero research, and if this book isn’t the prime example, then I don’t know what is. You can tell by the cover that this is a romance, and I immediately figured it was designed for the young adult age group (heads up, don’t give this to anyone who can’t attend a R rated movie by themselves, and maybe even older. It gets REAL graphic REAL quick), but… uh… I was wrong. Nothing like listening to a very intense sex scene while at work, am I right? (sadly that’s true, but I am committed to getting posts out, so worth it?)

Right… the story. Totally need to talk about the story. So there’s this girl named, you guessed it, Chloe Brown. Okay, so Chloe has fibromyalgia which causes her to be in a constant state of pain. She has flare ups that cause her to be extremely exhausted, have rough headaches, and bouts of insomnia. When she almost gets hit by a drunk driver, Chloe realized that she hasn’t experienced much of life, which leads to the “Get a Life” list. Included on that list includes doing something bad, camping, traveling the world with only a carry-on, and meaningless sex. (You see where this is going, right?)

Okay, so the leading man is Redford (Red) Morgan, who is trying to rebuild love for painting after an abusive relationship (Trigger Warning: this book does not focus on his abuse, but it is present. There is only 1 particular scene that I can remember where they focused on the actual abuse, and even then, I did not find it too deep. But the story does address the trauma of being abused, specifically with trust. If these things are/can be triggering for you, I recommend you sit this one out). He works as the superintendent of an apartment complex, the same one that Chloe just moved into. He had been attracted to Chloe from the moment he met her, but was turned off by her aggressive and snooty behavior.

Chloe caught Red painting (without a shirt on, might I add) and subsequently tried to ignore him. But when Chloe sees an innocent cat stuck in a tree, she figures she has to save it. But then she freezes. Red finds her in the tree and helps her down. Which leads to a more graphic than needed wet dream. Buckle in folks, because it gets intense from here. They end up reaching an agreement where she would work on a website to display his new artwork and he would help her with her list. But quickly Chloe realizes that she likes the ideas on her list but not the actual activity, at least until Red sexes her up the whole time.

Okay, so for the sake of having a chance of getting a job whenever I may need it, I will not be discussing the smut aspect of this book (but do know that I wrote about 3 paragraphs of smut opinions before realizing that I sound like a crazy lady), I will share some opinions about “romance”. I am pretty sure that I wrote a let’s talk about the romance genre (and I’m just lazy enough to not look it up within the next 2 months), but why is it that EVERY romance is about two people who seemingly don’t belong together, they get together, they have a fight that causes them to walk away from each other, and then wouldn’t you know, they loved each other all along and they live happily ever after? I had higher expectations for this book, but spoiler, it’s the same storyline we have all read. So why is that? Based on my very limited English education, my guess is that we expect a book to have a climax/conflict. Without it, we feel cheated (which I get). I just wish that wasn’t such a cliché. It is no fun reading a book when you already have a grasp of how things are going to work out.

As for the book itself, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing style was extremely easy to read and the characters were unique. I did think that the amount of sex scenes were a little too much (especially with the amount of detail within them), but I can understand why a lot of people would like this book. I would ultimately give this book 3.75 out of 5 stars (there were a lot of smut related points that I had to take off for opinions that got deleted off this post).

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 10/9/19-10/17/19

Set in the time of the Underground Railroad in the US, Hiram Walker was born out of rape to a slave mother. His father was his master. He grew up on the property, and was gifted with an eidetic memory. As he grew, he began to develop feelings for his brother’s slave woman, Sophia. He was the person forced to drive her to his estate and back, but he also kept up a relationship with her outside of that. One night, they decided to run for freedom and they were caught.

Hiram was sent to a prison where he was starved and tasked. He was put in a death pit where he was allowed to get out and try to run, giving the white trappers a chance to catch and torture him every time he did so. One of those runs, he was able to escape to the Underground.

While in the Underground, Hiram worked often with Harriet Tubman as a forger to provide passes for the slaves they set to free. He creates passes to get his fellow conductor’s family out of Alabama. His mentor goes to get the family and he dies after capture. Hiram takes this personally, so he works on getting Sophia and the woman who raised him, Thena. He is forced to go back and work for his father, where he plots his plan for conduction.

While this book has Oprah’s seal of approval, I struggled to get through this one. I am unsure if it is because I don’t feel connected to the culture, or if it is because I am easily bored by historical fiction, but I had to go back and recheck sections because I had gaps in my memory. The hardest part for me is that I don’t know how I would change anything about the book. It is very good for what it is, I just did not keep interest as well as other books. I would ultimately give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 9/11/19-9/16/19

Trigger Warning: this book discusses war, suicide, and molestation. If either of these are triggers, read at your own discretion.

Quick fun fact: When I was in college, I had a roommate who was from Vietnam. She told me the story of her first American history class that discussed the Vietnam War and how she thought they were lying. Turns out, while America was extremely concerned about communism, the soldiers of Vietnam were only concerned about keeping their farmland. Everytime I read or watch something about the Vietnam War, I always remember that the 2 sides were fighting for completely different things, and that we should think about that in our own lives.

Set in the summer of 1969 (I know, it’s a shocker), this book follows the Nichols/Foley/ Levin family as they try to cope and understand the new realities they are faced with in their summer house in Nantucket. The head of the family, Exalta, is the mother of Kate, the mother of 4. Kate has an alcohol problem, especially with the notification of her son, Tiger, being selected for the draft. Her oldest daughter, Blair, is pregnant with twins, and Blair suspects that her husband, Angus, is cheating on her. Her second youngest daughter, Kirby, is a feminist who chose to spend her summer working in a hotel on Martha’s Vineyard. Finally, the youngest daughter, Jessie, is stuck on Nantucket with her family, forced to take tennis lessons, and harboring a secret sticky finger habit.

Over the course of the summer, the family is trying to process every new turn in their lives, mixed in with the moon landing, the war, and Teddy Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick incident.

I am not someone who especially appreciates historical fiction. Almost all the historical fiction I have read has either been through BOTM, OUABC, or school. It has never been something that I go for in a bookstore, and I am always hesitant when I pick one up. This was the best happy medium because I have already read a book by Elin Hilderbrand (Winter in Paradise), and I liked her writing style. This book kept that writing style so I didn’t feel like I was reading “historical fiction”.

There is a lot of jumping around, and sometimes she repeats herself over and over again (pet peeve of mine), but at the end of the day, it was an enjoyable experience. For that reason, I will give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

How I Read It: Audiobook

Dates Read: 6/30/19-9/10/19

Ji Lin is trying to make money to recover her mother’s debts. She works at a dance hall, where she meets a salesman. After an incident, she ends up accidentally stealing a glass jar containing a blacken finger. This finger be;onged to a Doctor MacFarland, whom Ren used to work for. Ren was tasked with the recovery of the finger after the doctor died. Ji Lin, using her literary-gained detective skills, begins the long journey of where the finger originated. Using the help of her stepbrother, Shin, she uncovers dark secrets of the people in the hospital. With a look-in at interconnecting stories, the power of connection, and the insane things people do for money, this story is both beautiful and intricate.

I had moments as I was listening to this book when I was super into it. I would try to find time to listen to this book so I could learn my next clue in the story. On the other hand, there were days where I wouldn’t even bother because my interest had completely waned. I thought the relationship that Ji Lin landed herself in was extremely gimmicky and not important for the story. Also, there is this night tiger, right? But then NOBODY talks about it by the end of the story. Like what the heck? What happened to this tiger? I feel slightly cheated on that front. I ultimately would give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Recursion by Blake Crouch

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Ebook

Dates Read: 8/28/19-8/29/19

I have no idea how I can explain this book to anyone. It is extremely convoluted, but I am going to try my best:

This woman named Helena wanted to come up with a way to give her mother with Alzheimer’s her memories back. She comes up with a “memory chair” which is a way to record memories and then you can give the memories back. A man named Marcus Slade offers a lab on an oil rig to explore this research farther. He figures out that if you die when you are given the memory, then your conscious will go back to the moment of that memory. If you are confused, welcome to this book.

There’s this dude, Barry, right? He is a NYPD cop who tries to talk a woman off a ledge. She claims to have FMS, or false memory syndrome, where she has a bunch of memories of a past life. Barry goes to see the man she claims is her husband, and he finds himself at a hotel in New York. He gets captured and forced into a chair where he has to talk about the day his daughter died. He then goes back in time to that memory and relives his life.

When that conscious thread comes to an end, tragedy strikes, and he finds himself in the company of Helena. When their paths cross, love and ideas flow readily. But when they are forced to figure out how to close the loops made by the chair, they have to continue to research and find ways to solve how they can save all of humanity before time gets them.

Okay, so that is the best I got, but this book is A LOT better than my explanation. About an hour into this book, I was sure that I wouldn’t like it, but the farther into it I got, the harder it was for me to stop listening to it. I had zero intentions of reading the ending of this book tonight, but I did anyway partly because I have no self-control and partly because I really wanted to know what happens.

It is extremely convoluted and there are A LOT of lines to connect, but it is super creative. I have read books with a similar basis, but this one is completely original in writing style, intensity, and flight path. I wasn’t a huge fan of how he split up the book, and I don’t think that we needed the different “books”, but I did like that it didn’t split up things in chapters the way most books do. It kept the story going better than most novels. That being said, Helena is a queen and we must all bow down to her. I would give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, and would recommend it for anyone interested in sci-fi thriller books.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Chestnut Man by Søren Sveistrup

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Ebook

Dates Read: 9/21/19-10/3/19

Sorry I’m late guys, but this one is a doozy. So buckle up, it’s a bumpy ride.

Okay, so there’s this girl called Kristine Hartung. A year prior, she disappeared, but her body was never found. She was presumed dead, but her family still held out hope. Her mother is Rosa, the prime minister of Social Affairs, and her father is a lawyer? something like that.

The two investigators we are focused on is Thulin and Hess. Thulin is a single mother who is hoping for promotion, and Hess is trying to prove to Europol that he is still capable as a detective. They get put on the case of a single mother who was slain at a playground. They discover a chestnut man at the scene of the crime. Their investigation leads them to another man, whose wife gets murdered as soon as they meet him. At the scene of that murder, there was another chestnut man. They discover that the connection between them is abuse allegations, and they are subsequently able to handle business to get the children back into safe environments.

So they try to be smart and they figure out who the next victim is going to be. They go through a witness protection protocol to save her, even though she is a crappy mom, but karma ended up catching up to her in the process. Also forgot to mention, the chestnut man is also cutting off their hands and feet, because that’s what you do I guess. So anyway, now Thulin and Hess are trying to figure out what the f is going on and how they can get ahead of this guy.

Now here’s the thing, I am trying to think about what to tell you guys and what not to, but I will say, this book has more twists and turns than… I don’t even know, something with lots of twists and turns. Almost every single detail matters in this book, and I probably came up with 5 different suspects throughout the story. It is long, but once you get into the story, you will get hooked.

Now, I have 1 major concern with this book. Unless I have completely forgotten this part, we got 0 closure with Thulin’s man friend. He was there one second, and completely forgotten about. That completely bothered me and I figured there was a reason why we weren’t focusing on them, but nope, just forgot. But other than that, I think that this book is really good, and I would probably rank it at a 4 out of 5 stars.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!