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!