Friday, April 10, 2020

Book Reviews - Red, White and RANDOM

Y'all, what is this quartet?!? It almost feels "normal" to read in this way again though, so I'll take it!

Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston was just a delight of a story. The tale focuses on the President of the United States son's Alex Claremont-Diaz and Henry, Prince of England. The two begin the book as sworn enemies. After a mess of a situation at a high profile event, their families realize that they've got to do some major PR work. They decide they are going to make it seem Alex and Henry are actually friends and have been all along. They set up some visits to start the facade. Here's the thing - A romance starts brewing between them. While being enemies is a problem, a romance also brings about some issues. Y'all, I loved that this was romance with a side of international/political drama and repercussions. I loved the honesty of their relationship and also how they must work to keep things secret. Y'all, this was just a good read and wonderful love story. I was rooting for Alex and Henry, and they were just a delight of a couple with the evolution of their relationship and their chemistry. Also, I'm going to need there to be a sequel of this y'all because I need more Alex and Henry goodness in my life! 

It's Girls Like You Mickey by Patti Kim is a book I 100% picked based on the title. I mean, y'all, how could you not dig it? I love a good repurposed song lyric! Beyond that, this is just a good honest story about how middle school can suck sometimes. I love a middle grade novel that talks about the real feels that kids have, and this definitely does that! The story focuses on Mickey who is dreading middle school because her best friend has moved away. She's also struggling because her home life just isn't that great. There is a ray of light when a new girl shows up, and Mickey forms a promising friendship. However, then a friend break-up happens due to a popular mean girl, and that's some tough stuff. Y'all, remember how hard these were as teenagers?!? This really captures that experience so well through Mickey's eyes. Mickey has a great resilience throughout, and I loved her as a character throughout because of her realness. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this planned June 2020 release!

Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald was just a "chicken soup" kind of read. In other words, it was light with some feel-good vibes. The book focuses on Sara. Sara has traveled all the way from Sweden to meet her pen pal Amy in the small town of Broken Wheel, Iowa. When Sara arrives, she finds out Amy has died. Rather than returning home, Sara decides to establish a bookstore to honor her friend's memory. She uses some of her friend's books to begin this endeavor. The bookstore opening is a bit odd as Broken Wheel is a struggling town, but the store soon brings some life to the town. Throughout the story, Sara and Amy's letters are also included to give the reader some idea of how their friendship came to be and to showcase their shared love of books. Beyond the books, this is a story of a small town struggling to stay relevant and alive. The story is enhanced by a variety of residents who still love Broken Wheel as a home, and they also form a strong connection with Sara. This was just a nice book about intriguing people, and if you need some simple beauty like that, this is your jam.

The Stranger by Harlan Coben is the first thriller I've read in over a month which is very atypical for me. I kept seeing the Netflix series adapted from the book, so I also wanted to be sure to read this prior to watching the show if/when I do. The story begins with Adam finding out a secret about his wife from a mysterious dude referenced only as The Stranger. His idyllic world is shattered, and he has to confront his wife about what he's learned. This causes her to leave town causing Adam's world to be further upended. Throughout, the book The Stranger shares other secrets which creates even more chaos. Meanwhile, Adam is trying to find his wife and see if there is even truth to what The Stranger shared. For me, Harlan Coben is an author I know I can rely on for a good, solid thriller. I know there's going to be that big twist at the end, and I know he's going to write in a way that I piece this together just before it is fully revealed and gasp when I do. This round was no different. I will say I almost wanted more of The Stranger. I thought that his work was going to be more of the focus, and while it was absolutely central to what went down with Adam, he was the initial catalyst, not the ongoing focus. Regardless, I was also hoping this would be just a solid pageturner, and that's absolutely what I got.

Onto the next ones!