American Royals: Majesty by Katharine McGee Review

I wasn’t planning on writing a whole blog post about this but then I started writing my Goodreads review and it kept growing and growing and so hi, how are ya?

We are back with the American Royals and even though it’s been over a year since I read the first one, I jumped back in like I never left. Which is good, considering the book still follows the point of view of five different characters and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time catching up again.

So in this book we are on the run up to Beatrice’s wedding because now that she is queen, she has to be married because apparently women are not capable of running a country on their own. *Rolls eyes*

But Beatrice is not the only one who is struggling when it comes to love. Everybody has issues with it in this book. I guess the first book was similar but I felt it was more prominent in this book. That or it just felt kind of repetitive?

Everyone was pretending to love someone but actually fell in love or realised they loved someone else and it was just a lot for one book. Like it definitely felt like every rom-com cliché ever wrapped into one book. Which was still enjoyable to read but like they could have made one plot line not involve loving someone else you know?

One love storyline I didn’t really like was the whole Jeff, Daphne, Ethan, Nina love square. Like date someone outside your own circle lads. I guess it makes sense for the drama and every TV show does something similar but I don’t know, Nina could’ve dated a nice boy from somewhere else and Daphne could’ve just kept hooking up with Ethan on the sly and that could have been fun. Ooh that’s totally fanfiction somewhere. Maybe I’ll write it lol.

Everyone else was fine, I mean the whole Sam and Marshall thing was totally obvious, but I was rooting for them. And actually the whole time I was reading about them it just made me think of Bridgerton because the exact same thing happens to Daphne and the Duke. And well I’m a sucker for those kind of stories it seems haha.

Beatrice and Teddy I was surprised about to be honest. I thought Beatrice would have wanted to be with Conor but it makes sense for her to fall for Teddy. And so I support it because Teddy is a great guy.

But what we love more than Beatrice falling in love is her becoming the strong independent queen of America. I think it’s great she is not going to get married right away and rule on her own. She doesn’t need a man, it’s nice she found a man but she don’t need him to rule her country. We stan Queen Bee.

Speaking of ladies we stan, I also love Daphne. She gives me Blair Waldorf vibes and I am here for it. We love a strong woman who will do what it takes to get what she wants. Even if that means alienating the man she wants from everyone else so she can become a princess.

I just can’t believe Himari forgave her for the coma and sending her away to Japan. But that’s what best friends do I guess lol. Himari is the Serena to Daphne’s Blair. I kind of hope Himari does come back for some kind of revenge because that would be totally Gossip Girl and I would eat that shit up.

Overall I really loved this book. I gave it 4/5 because of all the love stuff which was too much for me. Especially towards the end, everyone is declaring their love for everyone and I’m like “tell me what the security threat was please” lol. Though the security threat turned out to be nothing I would have loved a little plot twist thrown in there.

I am kind of hoping for another book in the series just because I want to see Beatrice really step into her role as queen, and Sam and Nina on their adventures with no boys and of course Daphne and how she deals with losing the boy she really loved.

At the same time though I know this could lead to a slippery slope where it starts off strong and then loses its way and I don’t want that to happen. So if there’s another book I’ll be down for the ride but I just don’t want it to get out of hand where it becomes terrible but redeems itself in the last book because that’s how these things go.

So those were my thoughts on American Royals. I am going to be digging into the first Bridgerton book next and I’m excited but also not sure what I’m going to be getting into. Just because you like the TV show doesn’t always mean you’ll like the books, so we see what happens. I’m sure I’ll be back soon to share all my thoughts on it.

Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline Review

After leaving the Oasis three years ago, we are back again with the sequel to Ready Player One. Not gonna lie I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one and after my boyfriend said it got mixed reviews I was worried it was going to be terrible.

It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either to be honest. I mean, Ready Player One is the kind of book that I think didn’t really need a sequel but they gave it one anyway and I guess it was just okay.

In this one, we see Wade on a new quest within the Oasis except this time, it’s more of a life or death situation. He must work to find the Seven Shards of the Siren’s soul before he and thousands of other Oasis users are trapped forever, thanks to a villain in the shape of an AI version of Halliday.

Honestly, the whole storyline was so wild and farfetched, which is crazy to say considering the first book but yeah I don’t know this whole evil Anorak/James Halliday situation was not my favourite. I suppose that doesn’t bode well for me if I wasn’t feeling the story right out of the gate but we stuck with it.

Plus, Wade was kind of the worst in this book. He was so helpless? He couldn’t do any of his quests alone to save his life and it was sad. I mean I guess there is some underlying lesson here, that he shouldn’t isolate himself in the Oasis or in his real life or something but even so, he didn’t seem to think for himself at all.

Also sad that L0hengrin wasn’t mentioned more I thought we would hear more from her after her introduction but unfortunately not. She at least sounded like an interesting character who probably would have made it further in the quest than Wade if he hadn’t had the help of his friends.

Naturally along with the first book, this book referenced a lot of things I had no idea about. Like all the John Hughes movies and Prince. Which is fine, but part of me felt like this book just spent a lot of time describing things that were so unnecessary, like is it important to note every character an actor played in a John Hughes film while trying to complete a quest? I don’t think so. But then again, it’s been a long time since I read the first book so I don’t remember if it was the same in the level of detail it provided in things. Even so, I felt like there was a lot of stuff that could have been cut out.

Don’t even get me started on that ending though.

Again, it sounds wild given the whole idea from the first book but the whole “everyone-live-in-the-Oasis-as-an-AI-even-after-you-die” thing is so farfetched and ridiculous to me. At least the idea of the actual Oasis seemed easier to get behind because I guess we have similar technology now but yeah maybe I’m just being harsh for the sake of being harsh. I know I’ve gotten behind some pretty crazy storylines in TV shows and books before but I guess I just wasn’t buying this one.

Overall the actual story was okay, I think it would make an interesting movie but when reading it. it fell flat for me. I’m hoping there won’t be another book because I don’t see where we go from here and I’m not sure I want to go there. But yeah, no big deal, now we’ve read it, we know what happens and we can move on, hopefully to something I’ll enjoy a little more.

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus Review

We are back with the sequel of One of Us is Lying.

This one was okay, I didn’t find myself enjoying it as much as the first one but there’s not really much to complain about. I don’t know what it was about this one that I didn’t like as much, I guess because there wasn’t as much suspicion around the main characters when it came to the murder? I don’t know.

I think one of the main things is that I missed the old gang. I mean they were still a part of the story, but the focus had been moved onto a younger group, featuring Bronwyn’s sister, Maeve, her friend Knox and a girl called Phoebe.

I also think I was expecting the Truth or Dare game to last longer than it did, and be a little bit more dramatic? It seemed a bit tame to be honest, which I guess is wild considering someone did die but I don’t know I thought there would be more suspense for it.

This book still followed along with the same vibe of the first one, I liked the fact things stayed consistent with the writing and the world even though the story was different. It made it easy to get sucked into the world again and I enjoyed that.

Obviously things escalated towards the end in ways that I wasn’t expecting, I had no idea who was the killer this time and I didn’t really try to figure it out. I mean I had an idea that something was going on with Phoebe’s sister but it definitely took a turn that I wasn’t expecting.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the last twist in that it actually turned out to be Owen, Phoebe’s little brother who told Jared to continue on the game like I don’t know why but it seemed like something that would just never happen. I guess it adds shock value but eh, could have done without it.

I feel like I needed a little longer to process everything when Maeve figured it out though because this story had a lot more going on in terms of how the game was orchestrated and all that, so I think maybe if that was drawn out a tiny bit more it could have helped. Though I know for the pace they were going for that wouldn’t have worked.

But yeah overall a good read, sad that it didn’t hold quite the same interest for me as the first book but I can’t really tell you what was off-putting to me besides missing the original group. Though could have probably done without all the talk about Cooper and him being a big baseball star and all that, we get it, he’s cool. But I did love that Nate and Bronwyn were end game because that’s all I needed in my life after the first book really.

And so that is where we leave Bayview High for now. I don’t know if that will be us leaving for good but I don’t really know where they would go from here. Though I am still interested in that TV show they are making, I just need to keep a look out for it in the future.

Not sure what I’ll be reading next, but I think it would be nice to step back from the murder mysteries for a bit. That being said I think half my Amazon Prime First Reads are murder mysteries at the minute lol. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll find something.

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood Review

I started reading this immediately after the Handmaid’s tale. I think I read the first 20 pages or so and then didn’t touch it for like almost a week and a half haha.

Again like the previous book, I found this one hard to get into. I guess I just sort of throw myself into books without taking time to digest the characters and making sense of what was going on.

But in this book there were three different point of views and naturally it took me a while to figure out which was which. Especially because two of them were named very similar, the difference being an A or a B at the end.

After a while though I picked up what was happening.

I really enjoyed this book. I think way more than the first. In this book we find out more about how the other women lived in Gilead, the Aunts and the little girls who were growing up to become wives.

This world fascinates me a lot which I think is why even though I took a long period away from reading this book I went back to it. I had to know what happened.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when jumping into this one. I was surprised that they didn’t mention Offred from the first novel directly. Though it is assumed that she was the mother of both the girls in the story.

Overall, I found it to be a good read. I can definitely understand why the series gets a lot of attention.

I don’t know if there will be more books to the series, though I see it being quite an easy series to add to over time. But that being said I would also be glad if it was just the two books.

I still have yet to watch the TV show but I think I will be adding it to my list of shows to watch now I’ve read both books. I know it will only be loosely based on the first book since the second one was only released last year but that’s fine. I’m just interested to know where they take it.

And with this book complete I am now halfway to my goal of reading 30 books this year! I think I’m making good progress and am a little bit ahead of where I should be so that’s nice.

I’m glad that even in our current circumstances and even with my excessive amounts of Animal Crossing play that I can still find time to read lol.

Not sure what my next book will be, I think maybe one I picked up from Waterstones at the start of the year.

As usual you can expect some kind of reading update in the future. Whether it is here or on GoodReads.

~ Courtney x

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood Review

I wasn’t sure about this one but I decided to give it a go after someone gave me a brief description of the TV show. I feel very behind with this but it’s better late than never right? Plus I haven’t seen the TV show yet so I might as well take a chance with the book if I don’t really know what to expect.

I have to be honest, I almost gave up on this one. I was finding it hard to get into the story as the timelines kept changing from the past and the present, it was initially hard to keep up with the change. The writing style was also not an easy one to get into, I have been reading a mix recently so I’m not surprised when a writing style isn’t what I am expecting, but normally I can get into it fine, this one just took longer than most.

I would say I got into it after the first 100 pages or so, I know they say you should read a book until at least 50 pages in to see if you like it or not. But to me, if you make it that far you might as well see it to the end. I can’t just leave something unfinished, even if I didn’t like it.

But with this one, I found it easier to read big chunks at a time and then leave it for a few days. I think it’s the kind of thing you have to be in the mood to read. But we made it through in the end.

Overall I did enjoy the story, it’s an interesting take on what society would do to handle a situation. It’s actually made me interested in the TV show just to see what happens with that.

I do wish we knew more about the transition process and also about what happened to Offred after she was captured. When I got to the end and it was explained the story was told through Offred in a bunch of tapes and they weren’t in order, it suddenly made sense that the story was so haphazard in it’s switch between past and present. It is still sad that we don’t know for sure what happened to her.

I know there is a sequel now but I’m not sure if it will even tell us what happened. Though I probably will read it because I am interested to see what will come from that and what we will learn about this world.

And as I said before I will probably watch the TV show too, it’ll be different from the book for sure, considering the TV show has 3 seasons now and you can’t stretch a book that far out. But I want to know what direction they take the story.

While I am surprised it took me so long to get through this book after reading my last two books quite quickly I am not going to let it deter me from my reading journey. I am basically halfway through my goal to read 30 books this year and I would like to try and keep my pace up.

I know it’s not a race, but I don’t want to get lazy with it and not pick up another book for months again because I do quite enjoy my reading time.

So hopefully I’ll be back with another book review soon, if not then I’ve been distracted by Animal Crossing as usual lol.

~ Courtney x

When I Was You by Minka Kent Review

Took a chance on an Amazon Prime First Reads selection. They never have a huge selection but I still check in every month to see if there is anything interesting.

This book caught my eye because I love a good thriller with lots of drama. And this had the potential to go somewhere. And go somewhere it did.

As soon I started to read this book I couldn’t put it down, I wanted to know more and what was going to happen.

I have to say though as it got towards the end it became somewhat predictable…I mean I guess from the beginning I was trying to figure out what was going on. I sensed that Niall was shady and I thought maybe he was the one who attacked Brienne in the beginning, I also suspected that the woman pretending to be her knew about the attack and wanted to take on her life. It didn’t make sense otherwise.

Though it didn’t seem to be too much of a mystery once the second part of the novel began and everything was about Niall. From then things started to get a bit more interesting and fast-paced, though his whole plan and backstory was revealed within the first five minutes lol.

I was surprised to find out that Niall hadn’t told Sam, the woman pretending to be Brienne, the plan. It just doesn’t sit right to me that she lived as Brienne for months and no one recognised her or that she wasn’t caught out in some other way.

I also think it was wild that they revealed all this information about Niall in the first chapter in his point of view but just threw in somewhere in the middle that he killed Sam’s dad like wow, I wasn’t expecting that for him. Sure he has done a lot of terrible things so far but just casually mentioning murder is crazy. But I guess it was to show just how far he was going to go.

Still, like I said things came predictable towards the end with the girls meeting each other and Niall was always either going to get away or get caught. It’s funny how after everything I still get annoyed when things wrap up too perfectly, like sure it’s a novel and fictional but sometimes you just wish for that one extra plot twist.

But definitely a good read, I enjoyed it and like I said I couldn’t put it down, finished it in two days. So I guess Amazon Prime’s First Reads isn’t too bad, I don’t always find something I like there but I might as well take advantage if it means a free book.

Next up on the reading list is probably the Handmaid’s Tale, I know I’m late to the party but what else is new? I picked up the book at the start of the year so I think it’s time to start reading it. I should be back with another review soon to let you know my thoughts.

~ Courtney x

Holes By Louis Sachar Review

I decided to read a little blast from the past! So the first memory I have of reading Holes is actually when I was in primary school. Except I didn’t read it, my teacher actually read it to the class.

I don’t remember much about it other than sitting on the grass outside on a nice day while the teacher read to us. Then after she had finished reading the book we watched the movie.

Ever since then I have enjoyed this story. I’m not sure why this story has stuck with me but it just has. And I still enjoy watching the movie from time to time.

I decided to reread after all this time because my boyfriend ended up buying the book last year and I thought why not – he hasn’t even read it yet but oh well.

I think I’ve said this before but reading a book that has a movie adaptation can be tricky. And by that I mean there isn’t always a huge amount of difference between the book and the movie, and that was the case here.

I’m not saying that as a bad thing but at the same time I think it would have been nice to have some kind of variation, just because it would add something extra to reading the book. But the story is basically the exact same, except for Stanley being overweight lol.

But because the movie and the book are the same and I remember the movie so clearly, it made this a bit of a boring read.

The story is still great though, and if you haven’t seen the movie or read the book I do invite you to do one or the other. But you do not have to do both.

I know in school they always told you not to watch the movie and to read the book instead but sometimes that just isn’t true lol. I enjoyed the movie and reading the book was nice, but there is not much difference so I think you would be just fine with the movie.

Anyway, it was still nice to read something from my childhood, it was kind of wild to me that the book is only like 240 pages because when I was younger I swear it was a lot more than that. But then I guess it’s different when someone is reading to you, and when you’re eight years old 240 pages is a lot.

But there we go, another book read. I haven’t been reading as much because of lock down and the fact Animal Crossing came out. I used to read a lot before because I read when I was travelling to and from work but since that is not part of my routine right now, I have to work harder to fit in some reading.

I’m still hoping to reach my reading goal of 30 books this year. Which I think I will but probably not as fast I as I would have liked.

Anyway, I’m not sure what my next book to read will be, I actually think Holes has a sequel book which I might try to get if my library has the ebook version. Otherwise I think I would be okay leaving this as a stand-alone book.

Either way I will do my best to keep reading and will maybe be back with another review soon! (Or at least a blog post not Animal Crossing related…)

~ Courtney x

Weightless by Sarah Bannan Review

I bought this book like 5 years ago I’m pretty sure. It has sat on my bookshelf for that long. It sounded like my kind of thing, you know high school drama, I just hadn’t gotten around to reading it and so finally I did.

It definitely was not what I was expecting. This book is all about the life of Carolyn Lessing, a girl who moved to a small town in Alabama but the point of view is not Carolyn’s.

The style is something that I’ve never read before. It was first person plural, and so the point of view of high school girls. Girls who weren’t super popular but wanted to be, people who saw Carolyn live her life and were secretly jealous. Spectators to what was going on around them but never interfered.

I have to say I kind of clocked what happened pretty quick. High school new girl, bullied and eventually commits suicide…

Definitely a new take on it though, with you feeling like you were one of those girls who just watched Carolyn get bullied, stood at the side lines and did nothing. It kind of brings me back to when I was at school, these things happen. We all just watch, we are all trying to be involved in everyone’s lives but when it really comes down to it, that’s all we do. When we see things happening we don’t intervene because we feel like it’s not our place, and then something happens and maybe we think it was our place to speak up.

The book probably would have made a bigger impact on me if I had actually read it 5 years ago, but I feel like after 13 Reasons Why on Netflix and everything this message has pretty much been drilled into me and stayed with me. Our actions have consequences, even if it’s no action at all.

I gotta say the book started to feel a little Lifetime movie to me towards the end, the whole aftermath of Carolyn’s passing, the media coverage, them arresting and trying to press charges against the bullies. Things I’ve definitely seen in a Lifetime movie about bullying before.

Still an interesting read, took a while to get used to the first person plural though. I also thought that maybe it dragged just a little, I think I would have preferred a little bit more time spent on the aftermath.

But now the book is done and I hope to never leave another book on my bookshelf unread for 5 years again lol.

~ Courtney x