Majesty by Katharine McGee

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 9/7/20

How I Found It: Continuation in Series

This is a review for the second novel in a series. If you haven’t read the first novel, this post will contain spoilers. If you would like to read my thoughts on the first book, you can see my post here, otherwise please read this review at your own discretion.

So here’s the thing, I just reread the review for American Royals since this is its sequel, and I am kinda disappointed with how I handled it. I definitely could have been more verbose about the book, so I’m going to be giving a much more detailed account of my reading experience.

So this story (and American Royals, since I described it so badly) is told from 4 women:

1) Daphne Deighton: The high-profile socialite ex-girlfriend of Prince Jefferson who is trying to rekindle her relationship with the prince in order to become a princess. She is willing to fight dirty, including using her romantic counterpoint, Ethan, to ruin Jefferson’s relationship with Nina, pushing him into Nina’s arms. When Daphne’s childhood friend, Himari, recovers from her coma (which Daphne caused, mind you), Daphne thinks that she got away with everything she did in order to get the crown. But karma finds a way of catching up to you.

2) Nina Gonzalez: Following her split with Jefferson followed by the death of the King, Nina is trying to be respectful for her grieving best friend. But soon Nina is back into the public appearances as Samantha’s best friend, but that still is a complicated part of her life. When Nina and Ethan connect for a school project, they start to develop a relationship. Since Ethan is Jefferson’s best friend, and Nina is Jefferson’s ex-girlfriend, things get complicated FAST. But juxtaposed with the reader’s knowledge that Ethan was talking to her for the sake of Daphne, it becomes a trainwreck of a situation that we know will be really bad, but we can’t look away.

3) Samantha Washington: Following Beatrice’s engagement to Teddy, Sam is looking for any way to not be the perfect heir. She ends up meeting Marshall, the heir to the Duke of Orange, who she forges a fake relationship with in order to make Teddy jealous. But soon, their relationship becomes more and more real, causing heart confusion. As Sam struggles with the new responsibilities as the heir, she is trying to find her place within the family, especially as a sister to Beatrice.

4) Beatrice Washington: Now that she is the queen of America, Beatrice is expected to marry her fianceé, Theodore “Teddy” Eaton. Following her breakup with her Revere Guard (the Secret Service of the monarchy), Connor, Bee finds herself falling for Teddy. But Bee is reminded at every turn that she is a woman as a monarch and that she will be a better monarch if she was married. Struggling to find her place as the monarch, Bee reveals more of herself to Teddy, causing them to fall more and more everyday.

Since it’s been a solid 7 months, which also included a pandemic, killer wasps, and protests, I reread American Royals to try and refresh myself with what happens. It took me a solid 3 days to get through the book (keep in mind that rereading books means that normally I can speed-read through books), with times where i felt like I read 50 pages in 2 minutes, and other times where I only picked up the book again because I wanted to finish. Now that I have the power of hindsight, I can tell you that I think that American Royals is a book that I really enjoy, but it isn’t a book that I could imagine picking up and rereading often (though I will definitely reread it if there ends up being a 3rd book, which I don’t think will happen, but I’m here for).

I read Majesty in one day. I didn’t feel the need to put down this book as often today, and that’s crazy because I had many things I also needed to get done around the house today. I think that the first book is great when you are just falling in love with the characters, but is hard to reread because once you know kinda the arc of the characters (assuming you remember them, which according to my friends, they normally don’t remember the books they read? Are they okay?), the characters are hard to re-fall in love with, if that makes sense. Since this was the first time reading Majesty, I think it was incredibly easy to find myself drawn in to all of these characters. I cannot guarantee that it would be this easy to delve into this story now that I know what happens in this story. And I’m not sure if anything I just said in the last two paragraphs made sense, but essentially, I’m not sure that these books are totally rereadable.

I was slightly disappointed that this book was not as stylistically marked as the first book. While I first book was red, white, and blue, this book was just blue. There also was not a crown embossed into the hardcover, which I’m embarrassed by how badly I wanted these markers. But I also realize I sound like a petulant child that didn’t get my way.

Quick spoiler warning: I truly would love for there to be a third book. I think now that Daphne is now completely alone, I would love for her storyline to progress. I also think we could know more about Nina’s break from Ethan and how that will change the dynamic in their relationship. Plus, I really like Marshall and Teddy, so sign me up for more Washington sisters love.

And we are back. Okay, so I rated the first book at 3.75 out of 5, and I think that the second book is better, so I am going to go with a 4-4.25 out of 5 for this book. I think this book has more of an ending, it flows better, and it’s connections between characters is much stronger.

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!

American Royals by Katharine McGee

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 1/31/20-2/2/20

How I Found It: Amazon

This book marks off the “A Romance” badge on the 40 Book Reading Challenge from Once Upon a Book Club

Have you ever wondered what America would look like if it was a monarchy instead of a democracy? This book takes us on a trip through the romantic lives of the 3 Washington children as they their love lives are blown up in their faces.

The oldest child is Beatrice. She is the future Queen of America, especially because her father is not doing well. She is forced to find a suitable match, leading her to Theodore “Teddy” Eaton. The only problem? She is in love with her guard.

The oldest of the twins, Samantha (“Sam”), met Teddy before her sister, and had a proper makeout. Now she is trying to deal with watching her older sister maintain a relationship with the man she loves.

The youngest and only male, Jefferson (“Jeff”), had a relationship with socialite Daphne, but ended the relationship after realizing his feelings for Sam’s best friend, Nina. But Nina never asked to be a royal, and the attention she begins to receive creates a wedge between the two lovebirds.

Because this book is the first in a series, it ends very abruptly. I believe that there is a way to finish an early book in a series without leaving on a complete cliffhanger (see Ninth House for a better example or the Caraval series), but I also recognize that this book ended on a really important moment. There are tradeoffs between what I want and what actually happened, but it did leave me wanting more, which was the purpose, right?

One of the greatest things personally as an avid book collector is the stylistic markings of the hardcover. The page break symbol is on the cover of the book, the hardcover is red, white, and blue, and the overall aesthetic of the book is so beautiful and thoughtful.

I did enjoy the writing style, but it did take me a hot minute to get into it. I feel like some of the story is missing, but I can’t figure out if I feel like there are parts lacking of the story because it ended so abruptly or if I wish a specific storyline was fleshed out more. All I can tell you is that I feel like something is missing. I feel like overall I would give this book 3.75 stars, with the possibility of being more if and when the story (aka the series) is completed.

The next book comes out in Fall of 2020, and I will make sure to update you guys on the sequel when I can get my grubby little hands on it.

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 Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy by Jenny Han

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 8/22/19-8/24/19

If you are wondering where you have heard that author from, you probably have heard of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, the wildly popular Netflix movie franchise and/or the wildly popular trilogy. I read the TATBILB (okay, that was a lot harder to make than necessary) trilogy around the time that I saw the movie, and it was okay. I loved the first book, but it quickly fizzled out for me. I bought this box set around the time I finished the first book for (please don’t make me type that all out again), so I figure it’s time to get a crack at it. Plus, the summer (for all my friends still in school), just ended, so let’s relive that feeling a little bit!

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

The Summer I Turned Pretty

On Cousins Beach, there is a summer home filled with 3 boys, 1 girl, and 2 moms. Isabel (Belly) has been in love with her mom’s best friend’s son, Conrad, since she was 10 years old, much to the chagrin of her brother and his. This summer, Conrad has been acting very strange (partying, drinking, smoking, etc.) and Isobel realizes that she can’t wait around forever. She goes to a party where she meets Cam, a super sweet guy from her past. As their relationship blossoms, Belly finds herself stuck between Cam and Conrad, but she can’t have her cake and eat it, too.

It’s Not Summer Without You

After Susannah’s death, Conrad and Belly’s breakup, and all the drama of the past year, Conrad goes missing. Jeremiah calls Belly to help him find Con, which leads them back to the beach house at Cousins. Turns out, Conrad found out that the beach house was being sold, and he went there to try and stop the sell. But, there is always more to the picture. Both Conrad and Jeremiah have feelings for Belly, and she finds herself in the middle over and over. She isn’t over Conrad (how can you be “over” the boy you loved for 6 years?), but he isn’t the boy she fell in love with anymore. Trying to make sense of everything that is going on is a lot for a 15-year-old, but she is trying her best. The hardest part? Not letting her heart completely shatter while she is still picking up the pieces.

We’ll Always Have Summer

After 2 years, Belly and Jeremiah get into a huge fight because he slept with someone while they were on a break. In an effort to prove his devotion to Belly, he proposes, and she accepts. Belly’s mom doesn’t support what is happening, so Belly goes to the summer house, where Conrad happens to be staying. As they are living together, Con and Belly are trying to understand all the feelings they still have. But with the wedding at the end of the summer, Belly has to finally choose, Conrad or Jeremiah.

The Series

Here’s the thing. This series is meant for someone half my age (12 and up), and I have to treat it like such. But dude, this series is completely messed up. Firstly, this girl is choosing between 2 brothers. Like that’s messed up in itself. But then on top of that, this girl is pining for her boyfriend’s brother. That is completely messed up, and this series romanticizes that feeling. I can’t support this series purely by the unhealthiness of the relationship.

HOWEVER, this series was incredibly easy to read. I literally read the last 2 books in 1 day. It is obvious that it is written for a younger audience, so the comments are naïve and innocent. The last book does touch on some topics that may be inappropriate for the younger members of the age range, but otherwise, I think that the books are good for kids, especially romantics. I would give the overall series a 3 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!

Caraval Trilogy by Stephanie Garber

How I Read It: Audiobook/ Ebook

Dates Read: 7/15/19-7/20/19

Caraval was a book that had been sitting on my TBR pile for a while. I had seen it on Goodreads and was interested mainly for the cover (I know, I know, the cliché is real) because I couldn’t tell you any part of the synopsis. In a moment of weakness, I purchased the books on Audible, and then in a more pressing moment of weakness, bought the books on Kindle. Figuring that I had busy days at work that required me to be by myself A LOT (aka more reading time) and a day off, I figured this is the week to GET IT DONE! And here we are!

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Book 1: Caraval

The story begins in Trisda as Scarlett Dragda (plus guest) and Donatella (Tella) Dragda get invited to Caraval. A sailor, named Julien, took Scarlett and Tella to the Caraval island, dropping Tella off first before he came back for Scarlett. Scarlett, with the help of Julien, gets into the Caraval game. Given only 5 nights (during the day, the doors to the hotel are locked and everything is turned off), she must find her sister who seems to have been kidnapped. But every chance at help comes at a price, and everything is not always what it seems. Every time Scarlett thinks she has figured it out, another twist in the road comes into play, making finding Tella more and more difficult. Will she find her? And more importantly, will she find herself in the process?

Book 2: Legendary

Tella is reeling from her experience at Caraval. Soon after the after celebration, news spreads that there will be another Caraval in a few weeks in Valenda, the capital of the Meridian Empire. Unlike the first Caraval, everything reminds the players that everything that happens in this game are completely real and have real-life consequences. So I didn’t mention him in the synopsis of the first book because he didn’t play THAT big of a part in it, but there is this performer, Dante. He ends up convincing the people at the hotel that Tella is the empress’ heir’s fianceé, so she gets a special room. Turns out, that heir is the Prince of Hearts, a Fate who is has the power of killing someone with a kiss. He strikes a deal with Tella that he will give her her mother in exchange for the Caraval prize, Legend. But as the game progresses, Tella begins to fall for Dante, causing her to be put between a rock and a hard place between her fianceé and her love.

Book 3: Finale

This one is hard to explain, so bear with me. Okay, so this story is told from both Donatella’s and Scarlett’s POV. Now that the Fates are released into the world, Tella and Scar must find a way to remove their powers in order to save humanity (and Legend). Both Tella and Scarlett are caught up in their individual love stories, which continues to get more and more complicated as their individual plots deepen. For Scarlett, that means discovering the Fallen Star (aka the maker of all the Fates) is her father, and then having to try and find a way to follow his plans to then kill him. For Tella, it means getting caught between the obsession from Legend and the obsession from the Prince of Hearts, when really all she wants is love, WHILE also trying to protect her sister. Yea, if you haven’t figured it out, it is kinda a mess and a lot of the time I felt like:

Image result for always sunny solving meme

The Series

As for my personal feelings, I enjoyed Caraval, the book. I thought it was a cool idea and while I saw a lot of people on Goodreads say it was similar to other books (I specifically saw Hunger Games, the Lunar Chronicles (which I haven’t read yet, but own, so I’m not sure how true that is), and The Night Circus (which I purchased because I wanted to see the connection that people listed)), which is up for interpretation. Whatever the first book may be like, the second book is basically a carbon copy of the first book except it was now in Tella’s POV. The third book was so incredibly convoluted and un-directional that I found myself thinking we were going one way for ANOTHER twist to magically be added. I am glad I read the first book, but I could have lived without the rest of the trilogy. As a whole, I would list the Caraval trilogy as 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!