ARC Book Review: American Royals by Katharine McGee

Book: American Royals by Katharine McGee

Expected Publication Is September 3, 2019 by Random House Books For Young Readers|Expected Number Of Pages: 448

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

Series: American Royals #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

What if America had a royal family? If you can’t get enough of Harry and Meghan or Kate and William, meet American princesses Beatrice and Samantha.

Two princesses vying for the ultimate crown. 
Two girls vying for the prince’s heart. 
This is the story of the American royals.

When America won the Revolutionary War, its people offered General George Washington a crown. Two and a half centuries later, the House of Washington still sits on the throne. Like most royal families, the Washingtons have an heir and a spare. A future monarch and a backup battery. Each child knows exactly what is expected of them. But these aren’t just any royals. They’re American.

As Princess Beatrice gets closer to becoming America’s first queen regnant, the duty she has embraced her entire life suddenly feels stifling. Nobody cares about the spare except when she’s breaking the rules, so Princess Samantha doesn’t care much about anything, either . . . except the one boy who is distinctly off-limits to her. And then there’s Samantha’s twin, Prince Jefferson. If he’d been born a generation earlier, he would have stood first in line for the throne, but the new laws of succession make him third. Most of America adores their devastatingly handsome prince . . . but two very different girls are vying to capture his heart.

The duty. The intrigue. The Crown. New York Times bestselling author Katharine McGee imagines an alternate version of the modern world, one where the glittering age of monarchies has not yet faded–and where love is still powerful enough to change the course of history.

At first, I wasn’t sure about American Royals, but I ended up really liking it!

It was a little hard to get into at first, and I think it’s because we’re getting to know 4 very different girls.  I’m always hesitant about multiple narrators, especially when it’s 3 or more, and this book had 4.  I was worried we wouldn’t get to know each girl and while we don’t know them really, really well, we still get a really good idea of who each girl is.

Beatrice and Samantha are very different girls, and I liked both of them.  I did have a pretty good understanding of who they were, and, in Samantha’s case, why she acted the way she did.  One thing that came to mind in some of their chapters was that the grass really is greener on the other side.

I don’t envy either girl but I really don’t envy Beatrice.  She’s under a lot of pressure, considering she’s going to be the first queen one day.  Samantha does have some more freedom than her sister, but it also means she doesn’t get the attention her sister does.

We also see Daphne, the prince’s ex, and Nina, who is Sam’s best friend.  I liked Nina and Daphne was ambitious but also horrible.  Daphne was definitely my least favorite character, but she really is willing to do anything to get Jefferson back.  She was interesting, I’ll give her that.  I don’t have as much to say about them but it will be interesting to see where their stories go in the next book.

The story is pretty predictable in a lot of ways, but I honestly didn’t care because the book is a pretty interesting What If.  It really makes you wonder how different America would be if we were a monarchy.  We get a little bit of history, and it seems to be a little bit different in the book.  Like, Russia still has a tsar.  That’s the biggest thing that’s different.  At least from what I can remember.  It seems like there’s a lot more monarchies in this world than there actually is in real life.

It makes me wonder how different history is, especially American history.  I had trouble keeping track of some of the kings and queens mentioned, and I hope there’s a family tree included in the final version.  There wasn’t in this book, and that’s just what I’m hoping for, so by no means is it actually going to be included.

Still, a little more background would be interesting to see.  I mean, how much would having a monarchy change America’s history.  Like, did we still have a Civil War?  Did slavery still exist, and at what point did it get abolished if it did?  I have so many questions, but I know it’s not going to get answered.  Still, we might get little bits of history, and I’m okay with that.

My Rating: 4 stars.  I didn’t love it, but I still really enjoyed it.  It was hard not to cry and I was definitely crying by the end of the book.

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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: 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: The Beholder by Anna Bright

Book: The Beholder by Anna Bright

Published June 2019 by HarperTeen|435 pages

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

Series: The Beholder #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

I wasn’t sure about The Beholder at first, but I ended up really liking it!  It’s a pretty cool book, and I’m glad I read it.

Selah has an interesting journey, and the book in general reminded me of a fairy tale combined with an alternate history of the world.  I wish I could more specific but the book really felt like it was an alternate world and yet, it was a lot like ours.  There’s New York, the Potomac, Russia, England, King Arthur, Baba Yaga…I could go on and on about the myths and stories we see in the book.

Everything was done pretty well, and it was fun trying to figure everything out, and how everything was connected to stories I was familiar with.  It makes me wonder if there references to stories I’m not familiar with, and what we’ll see in the next book.  I wonder if we’ll meet the other suitors, or if Selah will try to not go meet them.  And with what was really going on with everyone on her ship, I’m curious to see what will happen.

I’m not sure about the time period the book is supposed to be set in, because there are some very familiar places, but also some pretty unfamiliar ones as well.  I’m having a hard time with that, because it feels so old, but it also feels modern in a way.  Either way, it’s a pretty interesting read.

I feel like it’s definitely set up that she’ll have to pick someone to marry, and I’m honestly not sure who I would choose.  She could go with anyone, and I’m glad that, for once, it’s not obvious who’s she going to go with.  After what happened in England, I’m not sure if she’ll go with him, but it really seems like she’s genuinely into both guys.  We’ll see what happens, of course, and I’m intrigued.  The next book feels so far away, but I’ll definitely wait and see, because I really want to know what happens.

4 stars.  I really liked The Beholder, and liked the combination of places and myths that come to life in this book.

Book Review: You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

Book: You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

Published April 2019 by Wednesday Books|256 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Annie Mathers is America’s sweetheart and heir to a country music legacy full of all the things her Gran warned her about. Superstar Clay Coolidge is most definitely going to end up one of those things.

But unfortunately for Clay, if he can’t convince Annie to join his summer tour, his music label is going to drop him. That’s what happens when your bad boy image turns into bad boy reality. Annie has been avoiding the spotlight after her parents’ tragic death, except on her skyrocketing YouTube channel. Clay’s label wants to land Annie, and Clay has to make it happen.

Swayed by Clay’s undeniable charm and good looks, Annie and her band agree to join the tour. From the start fans want them to be more than just tour mates, and Annie and Clay can’t help but wonder if the fans are right. But if there’s one part of fame Annie wants nothing to do with, it’s a high-profile relationship. She had a front row seat to her parents’ volatile marriage and isn’t interested in repeating history. If only she could convince her heart that Clay, with his painful past and head over heels inducing tenor, isn’t worth the risk.

Erin Hahn’s thrilling debut, You’d Be Mine, asks: can the right song and the perfect summer on the road make two broken hearts whole?  

I absolutely LOVED You’d Be Mine.  It seemed like it was right up my alley, and I’m glad I read it.

I loved Annie, and her story was amazing.  I can’t imagine stumbling across what she did, and she must have been conflicted.  She loves singing and performing but she also lost her parents to it, and it must have been hard to reconcile that.  Annie is a pretty lovable character, and I rooted for her the whole time.  I just wanted her to be okay and help her through it.

It seems like people definitely had their expectations for her, and she tries so hard to not be like her parents.  There’s one scene where she’s really angry at her parent’s graves, and that really stuck with me.  I don’t blame her for that at all, and I feel like I would be angry at them too, especially her dad.

I actually really liked her and Clay together.  Their romance felt really natural, and she does have some reservations because of her parents, but things seem to work out between them.  I also completely get her reservations.

I really liked Clay as well, though not as much as Annie.  I wish we got a little bit more on Clay’s family and his backstory, because it didn’t seem like enough.  I still felt for him, and he really struggles with who he has to be, and who he wants to be.  Things do seem to be headed in the right direction for him at the end of the book, and hopefully, it’ll stay that way.

I loved that the book was set during the summer, and that it was about country music!  I love country, and even though I was a sobbing mess by the end of the book, I still had a lot of fun reading it.  It’s a great summer read, at least for me.  There’s something heartwarming about the book and it’s a pretty emotional read.  But it was worth it.

5 stars.  I LOVED this book so much, and I’m glad I read it.

Audio Book Review: Sadie By Courtney Summers, Narrated by Full Cast

Book: Sadie by Courtney Summers, Narrated by Rebecca Soler, Dan Bittner, Gabra Zackman and Fred Berman

Published September 2018 by Macmillan Audio|Length: 7 hours 57 minutes

Where I Got It: I own the audio book

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she’s left behind. And an ending you won’t be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page. 

I’ve heard a lot of buzz around Sadie, and I finally got around to listening to it!  I didn’t like it as much as I thought I would and it was just okay for me.

The story was pretty interesting, and I did like that you had a combination of podcast episodes and Sadie’s story.  You see West try to figure out what happened to Sadie as you actually see what happened to Sadie.  It’s two definitely two stories in one, and it made the book interesting but it also…I don’t know, something about it really bothered me.  It’s liked, I liked that the two stories ran alongside each other but they didn’t really come together the way I thought they would.

I did want a little bit more resolution at the end, which is pretty open-ended.  While I don’t mind stories with open-endings, I really wanted one for this book.  I think I assumed the podcast would bring some sort of closure to Sadie’s story, and that didn’t happen.  At least to my satisfaction.  I know it’s not always the case with stories like Sadie’s but it didn’t stop me from wanting it.

I did feel for Sadie, and she really did everything she could to take care of her sister.  She certainly went on her own path for revenge and I don’t blame her.  It’s a lot darker than I expected, and I’m not sure why.  I do like that she took care of her sister, and wanted to protect her and keep her safe.

It does inspire a Serial-like podcast, and that was more interesting to me than Sadie’s story…not that her story didn’t interest me, because it did.  I think I was just more interested in seeing West try to piece Sadie’s story together.  Still, it was nice to actually get Sadie’s story as well, because it certainly would have been easy to not write Sadie’s side.

I’m in the minority in my opinion of Sadie, in that everyone else seems to love it.  I wish I did, but I’ve read a few of her books, and I’m starting to think that her books aren’t for me.  The mystery didn’t grab me, and I can’t say I’m surprised by any of what’s revealed throughout the book.

I am glad I did Sadie as an audio book because I don’t think I would have finished it otherwise.  With several narrators, I did expect to hear from all of them pretty equally, but I mostly felt like we heard from two of them for most of the book.  That was slightly disappointing to me, since I think they all did a great job.

2 stars.  I didn’t love Sadie as much as I wanted to.  I was disappointed by the ending, and I wanted more closure to Sadie’s story.

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.

Book Review: Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Book: Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Published August 2013 by HarperTeen|272 pages

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

Series: Confessions Of Georgia Nicolson #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Angus: My mixed-breed cat, half domestic tabby, half Scottish wildcat. The size of a small Labrador, only mad.

Thongs: Stupid underwear. What’s the point of them, anyway? They just go up your bum, as far as I can tell.

Full-Frontal Snogging: Kissing with all the trimmings, lip to lip, open mouth, tongues … everything.

Her dad’s got the mentality of a Teletubby (only not so developed). Her cat, Angus, is trying to eat the poodle next door. And her best friend thinks she looks like an alien — just because she accidentally shaved off her eyebrows. Ergghhhlack. Still, add a little boy-stalking, teacher-baiting, and full-frontal snogging with a Sex God, and Georgia’s year just might turn out to be the most fabbitty fab fab ever!

I didn’t like it as much as I wanted to!  Angus ended up being an okay read for me, and I wish I liked it more than I actually did.

I was feeling pretty nostalgic when I started reading this book, and I’m pretty sure I read it back in high school and really liked it.  As an adult, I didn’t like it nearly as much.

It reminded me a lot of the Princess Diaries, in that it’s in a diary type format.  It’s pretty much a minute-by-minute account of what’s going on in Georgia’s life.  It was fine at first, but by the end of the book, I was really annoyed with it, because you’d have an entry, followed by another one five minutes later.  And sometimes, they were just a sentence or two.

I was pretty disinterested in Georgia’s life, and I think I was expecting something really funny, but instead, I was trying to get through the book.  It felt really long, and it was hard to get through.  I’d read a few pages and then have to put it down because I didn’t want to keep reading it.

This is sort of book I would have loved in high school.  Georgia was easy to relate to, and she’s a great character.  It really brought me back to navigating high school and everything that goes with it.  As an adult, this book wasn’t my thing but I can see the appeal of it.  I know I liked it when I was high school but now?  Not so much.

2 stars.  I wish I had more to say about Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging.  The writing style/format didn’t work for me, but Georgia was a great character.

Book Review: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Book Review: The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman

Published April 2019 by Disney Hyperion|360 pages

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

Series: The Devouring Gray #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Branches and stones, daggers and bones,
They locked the Beast away.

After the death of her sister, seventeen-year-old Violet Saunders finds herself dragged to Four Paths, New York. Violet may be a newcomer, but she soon learns her mother isn’t: They belong to one of the revered founding families of the town, where stone bells hang above every doorway and danger lurks in the depths of the woods.

Justin Hawthorne’s bloodline has protected Four Paths for generations from the Gray—a lifeless dimension that imprisons a brutal monster. After Justin fails to inherit his family’s powers, his mother is determined to keep this humiliation a secret. But Justin can’t let go of the future he was promised and the town he swore to protect.

Ever since Harper Carlisle lost her hand to an accident that left her stranded in the Gray for days, she has vowed revenge on the person who abandoned her: Justin Hawthorne. There are ripples of dissent in Four Paths, and Harper seizes an opportunity to take down the Hawthornes and change her destiny-to what extent, even she doesn’t yet know.

The Gray is growing stronger every day, and its victims are piling up. When Violet accidentally unleashes the monster, all three must band together with the other Founders to unearth the dark truths behind their families’ abilities—before the Gray devours them all.

I was pretty excited about The Devouring Gray but it ended up being okay for me.

I was pretty bored throughout the story, which is a shame, because the idea is pretty cool.  I really liked the world and what each family could do.  I really liked the vibe and feel, and it reminded me a lot of the Beautiful Creatures series.

I didn’t particularly care for the characters and I still feel like I don’t know who they are.  I could not begin to tell you anything about them or what they’re interested in.  They just weren’t memorable, at least for me.  I felt like we didn’t get enough details of the characters, especially Violet.  Everything was really vague, and very surface-level.  The entire book, though narrated by 3 different people, honestly felt like it was narrated by one person.  That’s how similar each voice sounded.

It was a little bit confusing at first because you don’t really know what’s going on.  You’re thrown into things, which is fine, but it took a while for things to make sense.  I eventually got it, and I’m glad it made sense eventually because the world is really cool and interesting.

For some reason, I was expecting it to be a Beauty And The Beast re-telling.  To be clear, it’s not, but considering the bad guy is called the Beast, and Violet was new in town…I was expecting a slightly different story, that’s all.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the story as it is, because there isn’t.  I think I made some assumptions about what the story was going to be, and I ended up being way off.  That’s what I get for assuming things.

2 stars.  The Devouring Gray was an okay read for me.  I liked the world and the feel of the book but the characters didn’t really stand out.