Book Review: The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad Of Mulan by Sherry Thomas

Book: The Magnolia Sword: A Ballad Of Mulan by Sherry Thomas

Published September 2019 by Tu Books|352 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

CHINA, 484 A.D.

A Warrior in Disguise

All her life, Mulan has trained for one purpose: to win the duel that every generation in her family must fight. If she prevails, she can reunite a pair of priceless heirloom swords separated decades earlier, and avenge her father, who was paralyzed in his own duel.

Then a messenger from the Emperor arrives, demanding that all families send one soldier to fight the Rouran invaders in the north. Mulan’s father cannot go. Her brother is just a child. So she ties up her hair, takes up her sword, and joins the army as a man.

A War for a Dynasty

Thanks to her martial arts skills, Mulan is chosen for an elite team under the command of the princeling–the royal duke’s son, who is also the handsomest man she’s ever seen. But the princeling has secrets of his own, which explode into Mulan’s life and shake up everything she knows. As they cross the Great Wall to face the enemy beyond, Mulan and the princeling must find a way to unwind their past, unmask a traitor, and uncover the plans for the Rouran invasion . . . before it’s too late.

Inspired by wuxia martial-arts dramas as well as the centuries-old ballad of Mulan, The Magnolia Sword is perfect for fans of Renee Ahdieh, Marie Lu, or Kristin Cashore–a thrilling, romantic, and sharp-edged novel that lives up to its beloved heroine. 

I was really excited about this one because it’s a re-telling of Mulan, but unfortunately, I didn’t like this one as much as I wanted to.  It ended up being an okay read for me.

There were some things I really liked about The Magnolia Sword.  I really liked that she was a twin, and that her family was at odds with the prince’s family.  I liked that each generation had to duel- it wasn’t what I expected, but I thought it worked really well.  Especially with how they came together during the book.

I also liked how detailed this book was.  You could tell that Thomas did her research while reading this book.  It really shone throughout the book, and while I know nothing about this time period or the original telling of Mulan, it felt like it was pretty true to the time period.  Please take that with a grain of salt, though, because I’m only familiar with the Disney movie.  And even then, it’s been ages and ages since I’ve watched it.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the book thrilling or romantic, the way it was described.  I was bored, which made me sad, because I didn’t want to be bored.  The Magnolia Sword is more about the characters, which is fine, but I don’t think it was what I wanted.  I wanted more action and battles, and considering the fact that there seemed to be a lot going on at the time, I wanted to be more interested in the book.  Instead, I was really close to not finishing it, and I’m not sure how I did.

Mulan…was not memorable.  I wish I could tell you more about her, but she didn’t stand out to me.  Considering the book was more character driven, and she’s the main character, that was a little disappointing.  And the prince is even less memorable, considering I can’t even remember his name.  And the fact that he and Mulan end up dueling, and they spend a good amount of time together…it’s definitely not a good sign.  You’d think I’d be able to remember but the name didn’t stick.

2 stars.  The Magnolia Sword was just okay, and while there were some things I liked, overall, I was pretty bored.

Book Review: The Candle And The Flame by Mafiza Azad

Book: The Candle And The Flame by Mafiza Azad

Published May 2019 by Scholastic Press|391 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Fantasy

Azad’s debut YA fantasy is set in a city along the Silk Road that is a refuge for those of all faiths, where a young woman is threatened by the war between two clans of powerful djinn.

Fatima lives in the city of Noor, a thriving stop along the Silk Road. There the music of myriad languages fills the air, and people of all faiths weave their lives together. However, the city bears scars of its recent past, when the chaotic tribe of Shayateen djinn slaughtered its entire population — except for Fatima and two other humans. Now ruled by a new maharajah, Noor is protected from the Shayateen by the Ifrit, djinn of order and reason, and by their commander, Zulfikar.

But when one of the most potent of the Ifrit dies, Fatima is changed in ways she cannot fathom, ways that scare even those who love her. Oud in hand, Fatima is drawn into the intrigues of the maharajah and his sister, the affairs of Zulfikar and the djinn, and the dangers of a magical battlefield.

Nafiza Azad weaves an immersive tale of magic and the importance of names; fiercely independent women; and, perhaps most importantly, the work for harmony within a city of a thousand cultures and cadences.

I liked The Candle And The Flame!  I definitely wanted more from it but I did enjoy it.

I really liked the world and the magic.  I liked learning about all of the djinn clans, and I actually really wanted to know more about them.  We get a lot about the Ifrit and the Shayateen, but other groups are mentioned, and I found I wanted to know more about them.  It’s too bad this book is a stand-alone, because I think there’s a lot in this world that can be explored.

Another thing I really liked about the world was naming, and how it gave the Ifrit a human form.  That was really interesting to see and it really made wish that we got more about the djinn clans and their world.

The characters are also great, and the characters felt fully formed- like living, breathing people.  I really liked Fatima, and it was great to follow her story and see how much she changed over the course of the book.  She had a lot to deal with, and surviving what she did really changed her.  Some of them, she had no idea about, and she was definitely pulled into a world she was not expecting.  She really stands out, more than any of the other characters.

She’s my favorite character, though I did like Zulkifar too.  He was intriguing, and it seemed like he wanted to keep his distance, yet he still seemed to care for her and wanted to help her.  I wasn’t sure of his intentions, especially at the beginning.  It never went away, but it did lessen over the course of the book.

The book moved pretty slow, and if you’re expecting action, just know this book doesn’t have it.  I was expecting more action, but if you like books that are more focused on characters, this is the book for you.  I did struggle with it, especially later on, because I just kept expecting action.

One thing I thought was strange was how narrators seemed to change.  It seemed like it randomly switched from Fatima to Zulkifar to the prince and it seemed really sudden and out of place.  I wish it had been a little more obvious, because it made it hard to follow what was going on.  I did have some trouble keeping track of who was who, and I did have to refer to the list of characters included at the beginning of the book.  It made me glad it was there, especially when I couldn’t remember who was who…even at the end of the book.

Going back to something I really liked…I really liked the descriptions.  I could picture everything really well, and Azad did a great job at describing the setting.  The prologue was especially great, and it made me so interested in what was going to happen.  It did a great job at drawing you in, and it made me wish I liked the book more than I did.

3 stars.  I liked The Candle And The Flame but I wish I liked it more.  I can see why so many people love it, and I wish I were one of them.

ARC Book Review: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite And Maritza Moulite

Book: Dear Haiti, Love Alaine by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Expected Publication Is September 3, 2019 by Inkyard Press|Expected Number Of Pages: 384

Where I Got It: I received an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

You know, typical drama. But it’s nothing I can’t handle. 

I wish I liked Dear Haiti, Love Alaine, but it was a hard book for me to get through, and I ended up not liking it.

It’s told in a mixed media format, so you see news articles, emails, texts, transcripts, and diary entries from both Alaine and her family.  That didn’t work at all in an e-book format.  It just didn’t look great, but keep in mind I was reading an advance copy, so I’m pretty sure it’ll look better once it’s actually published.

I did have a hard time getting through the book, and part of it is that the mixed media form of story-telling didn’t work in an e-book form.  A few parts of the text were out of order, and it’s hard to have a good flow when you start a new section or chapter in the middle of a sentence.  Again, I’m sure that will be fixed by the the time the book actually comes out, but it did affect my reading experience.

Part of why I struggled with the book was the random tangents.  We’d be reading things from Alaine’s point of view, and then suddenly, we’d be getting imagined emails between her mom and someone at GNN, where her mom used to work, or diary entries on a centuries old family curse.  Even though everything did tie together in the end, it didn’t make sense for most of the book.  I did finish the book wondering what it was supposed to be about.  There’s a lot going on, and while I did like the individual pieces, I don’t know that I liked all of them together.  I felt like it muddled the overall story to the point that I wasn’t sure what the story was supposed to be about.

I did like the family relationships, and that was something I did like about the book.  You don’t really see that in YA, and it was really refreshing to read.  It was nice to see how they developed and changed over time but I wish we saw more of it.

Alaine had a really strong voice, and I wish we saw more of it.  It did take a backseat to some of the other things we see in the book, and I’m a little sad about that because I felt like it took away from her story.

My Rating: 1 star.  I really wish I liked this book more, but it just didn’t work for me.  I think it would work great in physical form, but as a digital ARC, it was hard to get through.  There were parts of the book I liked, but it wasn’t enough for me to really get into the book.

Book Review: The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Book: The Things She’s Seen by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

Published May 2019 by Alfred A Knopf Books For Young Readers|224 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Mystery

Nothing’s been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died.

Her dad is drowning in grief. He’s also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she’s got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he is still alive, that there is a life after Beth that is still worth living.

Who is Isobel Catching, and why is she able to see Beth, too? What is her connection to the crime Beth’s father has been sent to investigate–a gruesome fire at a home for troubled youth that left an unidentifiable body behind? What happened to the people who haven’t been seen since the fire?

As Beth and her father unravel the mystery, they find a shocking and heartbreaking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town, and a friendship that lasts beyond one life and into another…

I’m not sure how I feel about The Things She’s Seen.  It’s interesting but I was as interested in it as I thought I would be.

The Things She’s Seen are narrated by Catching and Beth, and their stories are pretty distinct.  Catching’s story is told through poetry, while Beth’s is not.  Catching’s story felt more like she was telling a story, and it felt very rooted in folklore or oral storytelling, while Beth’s story is more rooted in the present day solving a mystery.  It made the narrators very distinct, and it was easy to tell who was narrating.  They alternate sections, and even without looking at who was supposed to be narrating, I knew who had taken over the story.

I will say that Catching’s part of the story slowed things down for me.  I wanted to get back to the mystery Beth was trying to solve with her dad from beyond the grave, and Catching’s story felt like it veered away from that.  Even though we know what happens in the end, and that it’s clearly spelled out in Beth’s sections, I just wasn’t into this story.  It’s not for me, but I can see why so many people love it.  I really wish I was one of them.

This book is definitely for people who like very creepy mysteries, and I most certainly am not the type of reader that will love this book.  I like creepy stories, I like mysteries, but this one just didn’t work for me.  The setting is really creepy, but the characters and writing didn’t grab me the way I thought it would.

2 stars.  The Things She’s Seen just wasn’t for me.  I liked that the two narrators were very distinct and there is a creepy feel to the book but overall, it was just okay.

Book Review: This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Book: This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura

Published June 2019 by HarperTeen|400 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.

She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.

Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.

I didn’t like This Time Is Different as much I thought I would, but I still liked it.

CJ was interesting, and I love that she’s into flower arranging.  I feel like that’s not something a lot of people are into, and that definitely stood out.  She really was happy helping out at the family flower shop, and it was really important to both CJ and Hannah.  I didn’t love her, but I can’t really figure out why.  She was really hard on people, and not willing to give them second chances.  Which is understandable but she let it get in the way of other things.

Fighting for the flower shop, and changing the name of the school was really important to her, and it was interesting to see her fight for that.  There are issues along the way, including working with someone she doesn’t like.  Which I completely understand, after hearing what had happened.  But it was middle school, and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt..maybe she has changed.

I felt like I learned a little bit more about Japanese internment and the effects it had.  It’s not something I really remember from history class in school, but it had this huge affect on CJ’s town, even decades later.  It very much affected her family, and it became really important to her to fight for her community.

The characters in This Time Will Be Different are very human and very flawed.  I liked that because they felt so very real.  They have a lot of really difficult conversations, and there aren’t easy answers but I think a lot of the characters learn a lot about themselves along the way.

I know for me, I really wanted the flower shop to be saved, and was disappointed it wasn’t, but things don’t always work out how we want them to.  Hopefully, CJ will find something she loves as much as she loved the flower shop and she’ll find something she’s really passionate.  Maybe she’ll stick with the flower arranging but maybe not.  She has a lot of options, I think.

3 stars.  I liked This Time Will Be Different but I didn’t love it.

Book Review: We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Book: We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

Published May 2019 by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux|472 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Sands Of Arawiya #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

I really liked We Hunt The Flame!  It was a great read, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Arawiya is a very vivid place, and it felt so real.  Like it was a living, breathing place, and it really had a life of its own.  Arawiya was the perfect backdrop for the story, and it really felt like it was a character as well.  I could picture everything that was happening so perfectly, and Faizal did such an amazing job at describing everything.

Zafira and Nasir were both interesting, though I liked Zafira a little bit more than Nasir.  I’m not sure why, but I felt like we got to know Zafira a lot more than Nasir.  I was definitely a lot more interested in her story, and I really felt for her.  She had a lot going on, and she really wanted to do right by her people.  Still, both Nasir and Zafira have their own really unique stories and I could definitely tell that Faizal put a lot of thought into their backgrounds and how it informed them as people.

The names and places did get a little confusing at times, and I did have some trouble keeping up with who was who.  I don’t know if it’s because it took me quite a while to read it, or if I wasn’t paying enough attention when I was reading it, but sometimes I had a little trouble with names and places.

The world is pretty distinct, and while some elements of the story is pretty familiar- you read enough YA fantasy, and eventually, everything starts to blend together- the world stands out.  I don’t think there are many worlds like this one, and I don’t know if it’s because of how it’s described or just the world in general, but it’s pretty distinct, at least for me.

The story does move pretty slow, but there’s enough going on that I stayed pretty interested in what was going on.  And with how the book ended, I can’t wait to see what happens next.

4 stars.  I really liked We Hunt The Flame, and I thought the world was very vivid and unique.  I did have some trouble keeping some of the characters and places straight but We Hunt The Flame is a great read!

Book Review: Aru Shah And The Song Of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Book: Aru Shah And The Song Of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Published April 2019 by Rick Riordan Presents|381 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Pandava Quartet #2

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy/Re-Telling

Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.

But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone.

Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.

I really liked Aru Shah And The Song Of Death!  I really liked the first one, and I was pretty excited about this one.  It didn’t disappoint!

Aru’s story continues in this book, and she’s definitely in for more adventures with Mini.  We also see another Pandava sister in this book, and it makes me wonder if we’ll see the other ones.  There’s two more books planned in this series, so it’s possible we’ll see the other sisters.

Back to this book, though.  Mini and Aru team up with Brynne, who was a pretty cool character.  She’s rough around the edges, but I really liked that about her.  Aru and Mini could use someone with her strength and sense of direction, and I like how all three girls balance each other out.  They all have their strengths, and I think they work pretty well together.  I can’t wait to see what other adventures they have.

On their quest to prove their innocence, they go deeper into this world.  While we were introduced to the world in the first book, we are definitely past learning how this world works, and we’re thrown right into things.  I liked that we were able to explore Aru’s world a little more, and I’m hoping it stays that way for the rest of the series.

I liked the humor and pop culture references and they felt pretty natural.  I’m always nervous when I see pop culture references because I always worry the book is going to feel dated in a few years but I don’t feel like that’s the case with this book.

I also really liked that we don’t always know the whole story, and that heroes aren’t always who they’re cracked up to be.  I did like it because it’s really easy to elevate heroes, but there’s also the message that even heroes make mistakes.

We don’t see Mini or Boo for a good chunk of the book which was a little disappointing, because I really like Mini and Boo.  But Aru did have to learn to work with Brynne and while I love the relationship Aru has with Mini, I also think it’s good for her to learn how to work with other people too.  Aru is more confident with her abilities, and I’m sure she’ll get more confident as the series goes on.

4 stars.  I really liked this one, and it’s a great addition to the series.  I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Book Review: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Book: There’s Something About Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Published May 2019 by Simon Pulse|384 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Dimple And Rishi #2

Genre: YA Contemporary

The irresistible companion novel to the New York Timesbestseller When Dimple Met Rishi, which follows Rishi’s brother, Ashish, and a confident fat athlete named Sweetie as they both discover what love means to them.

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After being dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?

I really liked There’s Something About Sweetie!  It’s really cute and I really liked Sweetie.

Sweetie’s a great character, and she was really easy to relate to.  I think, at some point in our lives, we all feel like we’re not good enough for some reason or another, and that made her really easy to relate to.  She really wanted to prove people wrong.  In particular, I think she wanted to prove her mom wrong, and show her that she can do anything she sets her mind to.

I finished the book with the sense that her mom meant well, and just wanted to protect Sweetie.  Sweetie is this amazing athlete, and a great student, and that never seemed to be good enough for her mom.  Overall, she’s a pretty good kid, and she really could have used a lot more support from her mom.  Her dad’s pretty awesome, though.  I was glad to see that her mom came around, and did stand up for Sweetie in the end.  It was long overdue, in my opinion.

Seeing Sweetie and Ashish together was really cool, and I liked them together!  They balance each other out pretty well, and they have more in common than you would expect.  He’s definitely a different Ashish than the Ashish we see in When Dimple Met Rishi.  Speaking of…both books are set in the same world, but they stand on their own, so you don’t need to read When Dimple Met Rishi to know what’s going on in this book.  I still think you should read it because it’s a great book and you’ll understand Ashish a little bit better but overall, you’ll know what’s going on in this book without reading the other one.

I liked Ashish in this one and he’s definitely different after everything that happened with Celia.  I was angry at him for texting her back when he was so into Sweetie.  And the fact that he didn’t mention anything about it, and she just happened to see the messages…that didn’t help at all, but I’m glad they were able to work it out.

Their dates (planned and approved by Ashish’s parents) were definitely different but the cover made a lot more sense after one of their dates.  I couldn’t figure the paint out on the cover and I’m sad to say that I cannot remember the festival if my life depended on it but it did sound really interesting.  It also reminded me of that one run where they throw paint at you throughout the race, though I’m positive this festival came first.

Overall, There’s Something About Sweetie is a super-cute romance and worth reading!

4 stars.  I really liked There’s Something About Sweetie, and Sweetie is pretty awesome, though her mom frustrated me at times.  Her mom did come around in the end, which was nice.

Book Review: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Book: Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Published May 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|304 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Series: Royals #2

Genre: YA Contemporary

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale . . . or is it?

I liked Her Royal Highness!  I don’t know that I liked it as much as the first book in the series, but it was still fun and entertaining.

I wasn’t sure about Millie and Flora at the beginning, and by the end of the book, I still wasn’t sure how I felt about them as characters. They’re thrown together since they have to share a room for part of the school year.  They did have some pretty interesting interactions and I was curious to see what Flora would do next to get out of boarding school.  It didn’t work but it was fun to see what she would actually do, and I was glad that she actually found a reason to stay.

The nice thing about Her Royal Highness is that you don’t need to read the first book to know what’s going on in this one.  Some of the characters from Royals make an appearance in this book, and while it’s a good idea to read the first book for some background, you’ll know what’s going on in this one if you don’t.

One thing I didn’t like about the book was the timeline.  It seemed liked things were going really fast with not a lot of explanation of what was going on.  I felt like there were a lot of gaps in time with no indication time had passed and yet it also felt like it took forever to get to Millie and Flora getting together.  Don’t get me wrong, the book was entertaining and fun but at the same time, it did drag in the beginning.

As a couple, I didn’t really feel any connection between them.  Maybe because it felt like there were these weird gaps in time?  Honestly, I couldn’t tell you much about Millie and Flora, and maybe that’s why I’m not sure about them.  I wish there had been a little more time developing them as characters.

Speaking of characters, I couldn’t even begin to tell you about the other characters.  I can’t remember much of anything about Millie and Flora, so there’s no hope for any of the other characters that we meet in the book.  It’s also been a while since I’ve read the book, so that might be part of it, but you’d think something would stick.  Millie does make friends, which is great, and hopefully they’ll stick around for awhile.

3 stars.  Her Royal Highness was fun and entertaining, but things seemed to jump around and the characters didn’t stand out.

What I’ve Been Reading: The Book Club Edition #2

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, but I never seem to get around to it!  For some reason, I don’t tend to review the books I read for my club but I did want to share what we’ve been reading lately!

January’s pick was The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke.  I liked it but I wanted more of the world…which is all I can remember about the book.  I really wish I had more to say about it, but I don’t.  Obviously, not a lot stood out months later.  You can find out more about The Boneless Mercies here.

February: We read The Disasters by M.K. England, which is a really fun sci-fi.  This group reminded of the group of teens we see in Six Of Crows…but in space.  I’m not comparing the two at all but for some reason, I did think of Six Of Crows.  It actually reminded me a lot of The Breakfast Club.  I wouldn’t say Breakfast Club in space, but if there’s a movie or book with a random group of kids, you’ll probably think of that.  You can find The Disasters on goodreads.

March: Geekerella by Ashley Poston!  I think I was one of the few who hadn’t read it, so I was excited.  It definitely falls into the realm of YA contemporary about fandom.  Is it just me, or is that something that’s kinda sorta been a thing for a while?  It was fun and cute, and I loved the nods to Cinderella.  I’m not at all a Comic Con person, but I definitely appreciated the fandom references.  It was also cool because she had a signing in San Diego, and I got both Geekerella and The Princess And The Fangirl signed.  You can find out more about Geekerella here.

April: Sherwood by Megan Spooner.  I was really excited about Sherwood because I really liked Hunted when I read it a couple of years ago.  I really liked this one too, though I could have done without the romance.  I can’t wait to see what other stories she ends up re-telling, assuming she does more.  I’ve enjoyed her stand-alones but I’ve have a hard time getting through her books that she’s co-written.  You can find Sherwood on Goodreads here.

And the last one for today is May’s book, which is The Last Voyage Of Poe Blythe by Ally Condie.  I finished this book pretty recently, so I could go into a lot more detail for it.  I just don’t have the energy for a longer review.  I liked it, but I couldn’t picture the world really well.  I felt like I had to do a lot of the imagining myself because there was so little detail for the world building.  It went pretty fast, which was nice, and it felt dystopic but also in the past.  It also felt a little steampunk to me as well.  The ending was a little random and I wish we had more of that story.

That’s all for today, but I’ll definitely be back with more book talk!