Book Review: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Book: Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett

Published October 2019 by Knopf Books For Young Readers|290 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time. Powerful and uplifting, Full Disclosure will speak to fans of Angie Thomas and Nicola Yoon.

Simone Garcia-Hampton is starting over at a new school, and this time things will be different. She’s making real friends, making a name for herself as student director of Rent, and making a play for Miles, the guy who makes her melt every time he walks into a room. The last thing she wants is for word to get out that she’s HIV-positive, because last time . . . well, last time things got ugly.

Keeping her viral load under control is easy, but keeping her diagnosis under wraps is not so simple. As Simone and Miles start going out for real–shy kisses escalating into much more–she feels an uneasiness that goes beyond butterflies. She knows she has to tell him that she’s positive, especially if sex is a possibility, but she’s terrified of how he’ll react! And then she finds an anonymous note in her locker: I know you have HIV. You have until Thanksgiving to stop hanging out with Miles. Or everyone else will know too.

Simone’s first instinct is to protect her secret at all costs, but as she gains a deeper understanding of the prejudice and fear in her community, she begins to wonder if the only way to rise above is to face the haters head-on…

I liked Full Disclosure!  I really felt for Simone, who’s pretty amazing.

It can’t be an easy diagnosis, and you see how much it affects her.  Whether it’s telling friends, or a guy she likes, it’s not an easy thing for her to share.  When it does get out to the whole school, people are completely horrible to her.  People just don’t want to take the time to truly understand what it means.

Miles, Claudia and Lydia are pretty supportive, and even though Simone has her issues with them, they do care about her, and it’s clear they support her and still want to be around her.  It’s especially important with Miles, since they’re pretty into each other.  Being HIV positive is a pretty big deal in any romantic relationship, but he was great because it honestly didn’t seem to bother him or scare him away.  It seemed like he was willing to take things slow and wait.

Her dads are pretty awesome too, and I love the relationship she has with both of them.  It’s obvious they love her and would do anything for her.  It’s also nice to see a YA book where the parents are around and involved in her life.  A lot of times, it feels like the parents are absent or barely there, so it’s nice that they actually show up more than once or twice, if at all.

I also liked that we got the whole story with Sarah.  It’s interesting that there was no flashback, but I thought it’s inclusion was well-done.  And I get why it’s hard for Simone to trust people because of what happened with her.  I really felt for her when it happened again.  Because people can be horrible, especially with things they don’t understand.  But she has a great support system with her dads, her best friends, and Miles.  And even her support group was pretty cool too.  They definitely understood what she was going through when no one else did.

It’s definitely an important read, and I’m glad I read it.  I think Positive by Paige Rawls is a good read-alike for this one.  Positive is a memoir, but I was reminded of it the whole time I read this book.  Simone is more than her diagnosis, and she really came to life in this book.  I’m not a musical person by any means, but for some reason, I feel like I’d get along with her.  I thought it was interesting that Rent was the school musical, though I got really angry when one of the teachers involved with the musical was hoping that Simone, as a student director, would win the school a lot of theater awards.  I hated she would try to use a student like that, but thankfully, the other teacher involved wasn’t about to let her do that.

3 stars.  I liked Full Disclosure, though I didn’t love it.  I’m not sure why, but regardless, this is a must-read!

Book Review: The Princess And The Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Book: The Princess And The Fangirl by Ashley Poston

Published April 2019 by Quirk Books|320 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: Once Upon A Con #2

Genre: YA Contemporary

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

I loved The Princess And The Fangirl!  I wasn’t sure what to think about because I did like Geekerella, but I ended up loving this book.

Something I thought was interesting, and was one of my favorite things about the book, was seeing the girls step into each other’s shoes.  They learn so much about each other, and I loved seeing how much they change.  They see a side of fandom they never considered before.

This book is narrated by both Imogen and Jess, and it worked so incredibly well for this book.  With Imogen, we see how much Amara means to her, and why she wants to save her favorite character.  The campaign she put together was absolutely amazing.  But you also see her realize why Jess wouldn’t want to be Amara anymore.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be in a fandom like Starfield with everything Jess has to put up with.

Imogen, masquerading as Jess, sees the ugly side of things, and I think she realizes that things aren’t easy for Jess.  Yes, she wants to #saveAmara, but it comes at a price for the person playing her.

With Jess, she starts to see why people love Amara.  For Jess, she starts to find joy in life again, and she starts to see the part of Starfield she never got to see because of horrible people who think she’s not their Amara.  Unfortunately, it was a little true to life, and I’d be surprised if what happened to Jess didn’t happen to other actresses.

I’m not going to lie, I was crying by the end of it.  The crying made it a not good choice for a laundry mat read, but at least there were only a couple of other people in there, and they were pretty busy, so I guess it worked out.  But it did get me more emotionally than Geekerella.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Geekerella, but there’s just something about this book.  I have not been to a con, so that part goes way over my head.  But there was something about seeing Jess and Imogen switch places and learn a lot about themselves and each other.  I loved seeing them pull off this insane plot to figure out who leaked the script of the next Starfield movie.  I especially loved seeing them work together to figure this out and to save Amara.

And even though this book is part of a series, you really don’t need to read the first book to read this one!  I read Geekerella a few months ago for book club, but didn’t re-read before reading this one.  Some of what happens in that book is mentioned in this one, and it’s nice to see what happens to some of those characters, but this is definitely a book that stands on its own pretty well.

5 stars.  I loved The Princess And The Fangirl so much, and Imogen and Jess are great characters.  I don’t think I’ve loved character names as much as I loved Imogen Lovelace and Jessica Stone.

Book Review: I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Book: I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn

Published May 2019 by Scholastic Press|320 pages

Where I Got It: I own the hardcover

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Kasie West, I Love You So Mochi is a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel from accomplished author Sarah Kuhn.

“As sweet and satisfying as actual mochi… a tender love story wrapped up in food, fashion, and family. I gobbled it up.” — Maurene Goo, author of The Way You Make Me Feel

Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement.

She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother disapproves, and when they get into an explosive fight, Kimi’s entire future seems on the verge of falling apart. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.

When she arrives in Japan, she’s met with a culture both familiar and completely foreign to her. She loses herself in the city’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival — and meets Akira, a cute aspiring med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And what begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.

In I Love You So Mochi, author Sarah Kuhn has penned a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel that will make you squee at the cute, cringe at the awkward, and show that sometimes you have to lose yourself in something you love to find your Ultimate self.

I loved I Love You So Mochi! It’s cute and sweet and heart-warming, and I’m kicking myself for not reading it earlier!

It’s such a great read, and I didn’t know I needed to read it until I started reading it. I loved seeing Kimi connect with her grandparents, and I loved seeing her relationship change with both of them. It made me miss my grandparents, and my grandma in particular. It’s this time of year my grandma died, and I can’t believe it’s been almost two years. I did have to put the book down and take a little bit of a break because reading this book made me miss her a lot more than I usually do.

Going to Japan and getting to know her grandparents (and her mom) was such a good thing for her. It was a place where she found a lot of inspiration, and I loved seeing her learn so much about her mom and her grandparents. She really saw her mom in a different way, and you could see that in the emails Kimi wrote to her. You could also see it in the relationship she had with her mom at the beginning and the end of the book, and it changed SO much. I loved seeing that change, and I finished the book feeling like things were in a better place between them.

I also loved seeing Kimi go for a fashion design program instead of the art program. She really grew into being able to speak up and go for what she’s interested in, instead of doing something that she’s interested in, but not as a career or a passion. I don’t know what the future holds for her career-wise, but her clothes sound amazing, and I would love to see this as a movie just for the clothes. Plus, seeing her explore Japan would also be really cool.

The romance was really cute, and I liked Akira. For me, I was more interested in Kimi exploring Japan and her family history than I was in their romance, but I still liked it. They’re cute together, and I felt like he was a great tour guide. It seemed to help Kimi a lot, and everything between them felt natural. It didn’t feel forced or insta-lovey or anything, and that was refreshing.

I was not prepared for the waterworks that happened, which is a weird thing to happen when you’re reading at work. Usually, I can tell when I’m going to start crying, in which case I would put the book down and read at home. But I wanted to keep reading to see how things would work out with Kimi and her mom, and if her mom would ever work things out with her parents. It seems like things are well on their way to getting at least a little bit better, but there was some crying along the way.

My Rating: 5 stars. I loved Kimi and her time in Japan. She learned a lot about herself and her family, and I was glad that she was able to go to Japan. I’m glad I got to go on this journey with her, and I Love You So Mochi is a really special book!

Book Review: A Match Made In Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

Book Review: A Match Made In Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

Published September 2019 by Little, Brown Books For Young Readers|320 pages

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

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

I liked A Match Made In Mehendi! It was really cute and really fun to read.

I think what I liked most was how Simi updated her family’s matchmaking business. They were pretty traditional, and not interested in using apps to match people. But after seeing how successful the app was at her school, they ended up modernizing how they did things. I’m curious to see how it works years from now, but hopefully, they’ll be able to match more people with it.

I wish I could remember names, but Simi definitely made an enemy out of the popular girl at school. I’m not surprised by how she acted at all, but I wasn’t surprised that she didn’t have any strong matches. She made Simi’s life hell because she didn’t get what she wanted. It seemed like there was a reason behind it, but that didn’t make it okay.

She seemed pretty interested in art, especially mehendi, but it seemed like the matchmaking app took over her life for a while. It definitely changes things for a while, and she learns that people aren’t what they seem. But for someone who’s really into art…I just wanted to see more of her art. Her project for art class seemed really cool, and I felt like it dropped off as she got more wrapped up in matchmaking and boys.

I know the app is a huge part of the book and boosting her social status. And it was cute to see how people were matched up- even the people you wouldn’t think would go together. The family history of matchmaking was really cool, though, and I get her hesitation to be involved in the family business. It’s not something you see in books, and I like how unique it is.  It makes the book stand out even more.

3 stars. I liked A Match Made In Mehendi. It’s cute and light-hearted and perfect if you like books like When Dimple Met Rishi.

Book Review: When She Reigns by Jodi Meadows

Book: When She Reigns by Jodi Meadows

Published September 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books|496 pages

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

Series: Fallen Isles #3

Genre: YA Fantasy

The First Dragon

The Great Abandonment has begun. Panic has seized the Fallen Isles, where no one knows which god will rise next. Mira Minkoba believes her dreams hold the secret to bringing an end to the destruction, but in order to save her people, she’ll have to find a legendary treasure: the bones of the first dragon.

The Last Hope

Mira’s desperate search leads the Hopebearer and her friends on a dangerous journey into the heart of enemy territory: the Algotti Empire itself. The empress is more than willing to help—for an impossible price. And as tensions escalate beneath the shadows of the risen gods, Mira grapples with a terrifying question: What will she have to sacrifice to preserve what she loves?

The explosive finale to Jodi Meadows’s Fallen Isles trilogy is ablaze with sizzling romance and fiery magic as Mira’s fight to save dragons from extinction evolves into a mission to save her world from annihilation. 

I liked When She Reigns. Unfortunately, this is another one where I’m having trouble remembering the details, so this is going to be a short one.

It’s been a while since I finished it, so I’m having trouble remembering a lot of the details. Mira’s connection with the dragons was amazing, and that was actually my favorite thing about this book. I loved seeing that connection, and everything that came along with it. It definitely changed over the course of the book, and one particular moment at the end made me really sad, but it also made sense for the story.

Even though I re-read the series before reading this one, I actually want to go back and re-read them after reading this one. Mira’s love of dragons makes so much sense now, and knowing what I know, part of me wants to go back and see if there was anything I missed.

Seeing all of the gods was interesting, but I think seeing them through Mira was even more interesting. You see how horrifying it is each time, especially because of how much it affected the dragons. In the end, everything worked out but it was interesting to see how everything happened. I am curious to see how everything worked for everyone.

We did get to visit the empire, though their name is escaping me at the moment. I wish we saw more of it, considering it was mentioned quite a bit. At least we got to go for a little bit, but part of me just wanted to know more about them. I know it’s not really about them, but I feel like there’s a lot of history there, and that’s a story I’d love to see if there was ever a spin-off series.

3 stars. When She Reigns was a good conclusion but not a lot stuck with me after finishing it.

ARC Book Review: All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Book: All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney

Expected Publication Is November 12, 2019 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux|Expected Number Of Pages Is 256

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

Allie Abraham has it all going for her—she’s a straight-A student, with good friends and a close-knit family, and she’s dating cute, popular, and sweet Wells Henderson. One problem: Wells’s father is Jack Henderson, America’s most famous conservative shock jock…and Allie hasn’t told Wells that her family is Muslim. It’s not like Allie’s religion is a secret, exactly. It’s just that her parents don’t practice and raised her to keep her Islamic heritage to herself. But as Allie witnesses ever-growing Islamophobia in her small town and across the nation, she begins to embrace her faith—studying it, practicing it, and facing hatred and misunderstanding for it. Who is Allie, if she sheds the façade of the “perfect” all-American girl? What does it mean to be a “Good Muslim?” And can a Muslim girl in America ever truly fit in?

ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL is a relevant, relatable story of being caught between two worlds, and the struggles and hard-won joys of finding your place.

I really liked All-American Muslim Girl!  I loved Allie and she’s a great character.

Allie struggles a lot with faith and I love that we get to see her explore her faith.  Having to hide my faith and heritage because of how other people see it is something I will never have to experience.  Unfortunately, we live in a world where people are treated differently because of what they look like or what they believe, and Allie has to deal with that as well.  She recognizes she has a lot of privilege, and it was interesting to see her as she started to stand up to the Islamophobia she sees around her.

I loved Allie’s integrity and determination.  She was open to exploring while wanting to do the right thing.  I felt like we saw her change over the course of the book, and she went from hiding who she was to standing up for herself and others.  We see her figure out what she wants, even when things get a little bit different with both her dad and the people around her.

I loved the friendships Allie forms, and her family was great too.  I wish we saw more of her extended family because they seemed pretty awesome when we did see them.  I especially liked her parents, and I get why her dad is concerned.  Things were rough between them for a while, but hopefully, they’ll be able to work it out.  I really think they will, because they have a pretty good relationship.

Accepting who you are and finding your own path were really strong and great messages in the book.  And even within different groups, you see a wide range of beliefs, which was nice.  I liked that her study group had different takes and relationships with Islam, and the author does a great job at showing how different a group of people can be.  I know it may be simple and maybe even a little bit obvious.  But she really does do a wonderful job at showing how different the girls are.

This book is a great read and I definitely recommend it!

My Rating: 4 stars.  I really liked All-American Muslim Girl and it’s worth reading!  It has great characters and a great story.

Book Review: Love Me Never by Sara Wolf

Book: Love Me Never by Sara Wolf

Published April 2016 by Entangled Teen|304 pages

Where I Got It: I own the paperback

Series: Lovely Vicious #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Don’t love your enemy. Declare war on him.

Seventeen-year-old Isis Blake hasn’t fallen in love in three years, nine weeks, and five days, and after what happened last time, she intends to keep it that way. Since then she’s lost eighty-five pounds, gotten four streaks of purple in her hair, and moved to Buttcrack-of-Nowhere, Ohio, to help her mom escape a bad relationship.

All the girls in her new school want one thing—Jack Hunter, the Ice Prince of East Summit High. Hot as an Armani ad, smart enough to get into Yale, and colder than the Arctic, Jack Hunter’s never gone out with anyone. Sure, people have seen him downtown with beautiful women, but he’s never given high school girls the time of day. Until Isis punches him in the face.

Jack’s met his match. Suddenly everything is a game.

The goal: Make the other beg for mercy.
The game board: East Summit High.
The reward: Something neither of them expected.

I’m not sure how I feel about Love Me Never.  I mean, I liked it and I want to know what happens next but at the same time, I’m not completely sure how I feel about it.

I thought Isis and Jack were really interesting.  They both have a past that they’re still dealing with, and while I was glad to actually what really happened, I also didn’t love it.  I did feel for Jack, and everything that happened with Sophia.

You knew something had happened with her years earlier but for the entire book, I just wanted to know what happened.  It was the same with Isis and the boy she fell in love it.  I did feel a little let down with happened with him.  I was expecting something a lot worse than him dumping her and not wanting to be seen in public with her because of her weight.

It definitely had an effect on her, and I get that Jack may have reminded her of him.  But I really did expect something different.

As for Jack and Sophia, what happened to her was really sad and horrifying.  I can’t remember the name of the girl who was behind it but it’s hard to believe that she was in middle school and engineered something so horrible.  And with what we see her do a few years later to someone else…she really is vindictive and horrible.  I actually kind of want to know her life story just to see how she became the person she did.  He did fall into something I wouldn’t have expected just to help out Sophia and get her the medical treatment she needed.

Isis and Jack have a lot of back and forth, and for as much as they seem to dislike each other, they also seem to be really drawn together.  He does seem protective of her, at least to a certain extent.  I’m actually wondering if there’s something about Isis that makes him thinks of Sophia.  He certainly can’t get her out of his head.

It’s weird, because there are a lot of things I liked on their own but all together?  Not so much.  I’m not sure if that makes sense to anyone except me but as a whole, something just seemed off.  Maybe I just wasn’t super into the book.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked Love Me Never, and I liked all of the pieces but…maybe it’s just not for me.  I do want to know what happens next, especially with how the book ended.  It makes me wonder what’s in store for Isis, Jack and Sophia.

3 stars.  I liked Love Me Never and I do want to know what happens next but I didn’t love it.

ARC Book Review: The Library Of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

Book: The Library Of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

Expected Publication Is October 8, 2019 by Inkyard Press|Expected Number Of Pages: 384 pages

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

From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.

While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.

Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.

I liked The Library Of Lost Things!  I wanted to like it more, which seems to be happening a lot lately, but I still liked it.

I loved that Darcy worked at a bookstore.  I really wanted the Yellow Feather to be a real bookstore that I could visit, but it seems to be just a fictional place.  Still, it felt like a living, breathing place that I could actually visit, and it very much felt like a character itself.  I could totally see it sharing a space with a wig shop, which was a character in and of itself, even though we don’t spend as much time there.  I definitely wanted to visit Mysterious Galaxy after reading this book.

I also liked how important books were to Darcy, and all of the books that were mentioned.  As a reader, I really liked that, and it made it fun to see what would be referenced or mentioned.

I really liked Darcy, who had to deal with a lot.  There’s a lot going on with her family, and with some of the family secrets that come out, I really felt for Darcy.  I can’t imagine trying to deal with a mom who hoards, or dealing with she learned about both her mom and her dad.  She had to be a lot more responsible than she needed or should have been, and I really hope she has a lot of carefree moments in her future.

I can see why she’s so closed off, and how hard it is for her to let people in.  I feel like I’d act the same way if I were her, but we do see that change over the course of the book.  It seems like things start to change with her mom and her grandma, and hopefully, they’re all able to work through everything.  It will take time, of course, but hopefully, they’re able to get to a better place someday.

3 stars.  I liked The Library Of Lost Things, but I didn’t love it.  I really liked the Yellow Feather and all of the book references.

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.

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.