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.

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Book Review: Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Book: Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Published May 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|296 pages

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

Series: Royals #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. 

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

I liked this one!  Her books are always fun and light-hearted, and Royals was no exception.  It reminded me of The Princess Diaries, but in an alternate universe Scotland, and the main character is the sister of the future princess of Scotland (by way of marriage).  I was also reminded (at least a little) of Princess Kate and Prince William (and Harry and Megan) and if you need more royal family in your life, this is an entertaining read.

So, I kind of expected Daisy to have a slightly different interaction with the tabloids.  I don’t know, the summary made it seem like the attention she was getting was a lot more attention then she really did.  I was kind of let own by with what actually led her to going over to Scotland.

In general, I feel like what happened in the book didn’t match up with what I thought would happen.  I thought there would be more rewriting the royal rulebook and going along for the ride with the prince’s younger brother.  Or getting dragged along, as the case may be.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still enjoyable, and it’s very much a Rachel Hawkins book.  I think I just had a different idea of what would could happen, and it didn’t match up with what actually happened.

So, this is definitely an alternate-reality Scotland where Scotland has a king and queen.  Which I just went with, but keep that in mind if you pick this up.  Also, there are mentions that the Scottish royal family paid for the medical bills for Miles’ mother.  I don’t know much about the healthcare system in Scotland, but that seemed a little off.  I’m not sure how much research went into the book, as far as life in Scotland goes, but based on some reviews I’ve read, it seems like Hawkins got some things wrong.  While I can’t speak to the accuracy of things like healthcare and tuition in Scotland, keep in mind that some things may not be accurate, if those things are important to you.

I liked Daisy well-enough, and I really liked her dad.  Miles was sweet, and I do like him and Daisy.  I didn’t really care for Daisy’s sister, but I felt like I understood her better by the end of the book.  I also thought Daisy’s story was pretty resolved in this book, so while it’s the first book in the series, Royals functions as a stand-alone pretty well.  And based off of what I’ve seen for the second book in this series, I get the sense that it’s a series where each book focuses on a character who was introduced in one of the other books.  Maybe I’m wrong about that (we’ll have to wait and see, I suppose) but hopefully, we’ll get more of Daisy’s story.  I do want to see what she’s up to.

3 stars.  I liked Royals, and it’s fun and entertaining.

Book Review: Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins And Rapture By Lauren Kate, Narrated By Justine Eyre

Book: Lady Renegades by Rachel Hawkins

Published April 2016 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Book For Young Readers|264 pages

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

Series: Rebel Belle #3

Genre: YA Paranormal

Just as Harper Price starts coming to terms with her role as David Stark’s battle-ready Paladin, protector, and girlfriend—her world goes crazy all over again.

Overwhelmed by his Oracle powers, David flees Pine Grove and starts turning teenage girls into Paladins—and these young ladies seem to think that Harper is the enemy David needs protecting from.  Ordinarily, Harper would be able to fight off any Paladin who comes her way, but her powers have been dwindling since David left town…which means her life is on the line yet again.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins brings the fun once again in the finale of this pitch-perfect romantic paranormal comedy series.

I didn’t like Lady Renegades as much as I thought.  I did like it, but it’s been so long since I first started this series that I had some trouble remembering what had happened, and how we got here.  I did re-read the first book a few months ago, and never got around to re-reading the second one, so I was a little bit confused about what was going on.

Thankfully, we do get just enough that I was able to figure out, but it didn’t stop me from wishing that I had re-read the series before reading this one.

I did feel for Harper, who had a lot to figure out.  She had some tough decisions to make, and I can’t imagine being put into the position that she would need to make those decisions.  She did it, though, and yet…things still worked out, though not in a way I expected.  Part of me wishes that we had a little more at the end, to see how things really worked out, but at the same time, I think knowing would have taken away from it a little bit.  Harper did change a lot, and from what I remember from the first book…let’s just say that Book 1 Harper would not have done the things that Book 3 Harper did.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it, and I liked seeing the changes in Harper.  I don’t have much else to say about this book, but it wasn’t as action-packed as I thought, considering it’s both the final book in a trilogy and a book about Paladins.

Book: Rapture by Lauren Kate, Narrated by Justine Eyre

Published June 2012 by Listening Library|Length: 11 hours, 40 minutes

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: Fallen #4

Genre: YA Paranormal

The sky is dark with wings…

Like sand through an hourglass, time is running out for Luce and Daniel. To stop Lucifer from erasing the past, they must find the place where the angels fell to earth.

Dark forces are after them, and Daniel doesn’t know if he can do this — live only to lose Luce again and again. Yet together they face an epic battle that will end with lifeless bodies…and angel dust. Great sacrifices are made. Hearts are destroyed.

And suddenly Luce knows what must happen. For she was meant to be with someone other than Daniel. The curse they’ve borne has always and only been about her — and the love she cast aside. The choice she makes now is the only one that truly matters.

In the fight for Luce, who will win?

Rapture is the astonishing conclusion to the Fallen series. Heaven can’t wait any longer.

Goodness, this book was a struggle to get through.  It took me weeks, because I’d listen to 15 or 20 minutes at a time, and then stop because I was bored out of my mind.  This was not a good book to do on audio.

For one thing, there was no action.  Everything moved at a snail’s pace, which is not what I want in a series finale.  It was boring, and absolutely nothing happened.  I feel like a lot of the series finales I’ve read recently have been really boring.

Everything’s coming to a conclusion, and even though the book took place over the course about 9 days, it felt like so much longer.  Everything was in excruciating detail, a lot of which was unnecessary.  Unfortunately, I had no option to speed it up or skim, because I went with the audio and had no option to adjust the speed.  I suppose that is what I get for going with a physical copy of the audio book.

While this wasn’t the choice content wise, the narrator was actually great.  I’ve listened to a few books narrated by Eyre before, and she’s a pretty good narrator.  I think that was one of the few things about this book that I actually liked.

I did like Dee, who I thought was a really cool and interesting character.  It’s too bad we also had her around for a little bit.

Other than Eyre’s narration and Dee, there’s not much I actually liked about Rapture.  I already talked about how slow the book is, but Luce is an idiot, and Daniel is a terrible angel.  I’d say person, normally, but that doesn’t really fit.  He seems like such an ass, and I don’t get Luce’s interest in him.  He’s too moody and angsty, and it was just annoying.  I had no interest in their relationship…and to be honest Cam (or maybe even Lucifer, if you want to take in some of what happens at the end) would be a better choice for Luce.  Or least, a choice that’s not annoying.

Luce, more often than not, does seem like she’s too stupid to live.  That’s not a phrase I use often (if at all), but it somehow seems appropriate.  There was a point with Dee that I thought was going to turn out very differently, and I was yelling at Luce to not go outside without an explanation.  It didn’t go the way I thought, but there were so many secrets that were being kept from her that I was really irritated.  With a lot of characters.

Not really Cam, because he did try to warn Luce, but no, that girl was blind in her determination to do whatever Daniel and everyone else wanted.  She didn’t question anything at all, and I really wanted her to be less passive.  She was a little proactive, I suppose, but not really.

You’d think, this being the 4th book and all, she would have changed at least a little.  But she’s still the same clueless Luce we saw in Fallen.  After everything she’s seen and remembered, I would have expected at least some sort of change from Luce.  But alas, nothing.

One interesting thing is that, in comparison to a lot of other books out there that are about angels, this one is somehow more…religious.  It’s not preachy or anything like that, but the mythology or theology (or whatever you want to call it) is very different than what I usually associate with angels.  It’s more biblical, I suppose, though it’s been ages and ages since I’ve gone to church.  So I could be wrong, but that’s what I was reminded of for most of this series.  I liked it enough, I suppose, though not enough to have wanted to see more of it.

My Rating: 2 stars.  It was hard to listen to because it was moved very slow, and it was pretty boring.  I definitely lost interest by the end, and the last couple of hours of it ended up being background noise.