Queenie


Review: Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Series: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Author: Jenny Han

Date of Publication: May 2nd, 2017

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating: 5 stars

Lara Jean’s letter-writing days aren’t over in this surprise follow-up to the New York Times bestselling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You.

Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?

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Since the big casting news has been released, I figure this is the best time to post my thoughts on Always and Forever, Lara Jean.

 

What an adventure! I have only a few thoughts on the series’ end. Here’s my breakdown:

 

#1 It’s so refreshing to read about a family and their interactions with each other. While yes, Margot annoyed me. She had her own solid reason to be. I love the realness of the Song-Covey-Rothschild family. Their father is sometimes too “perfect” of a dad, but that’s my only complaint (and that’s just an opinion/feeling of mine). I realized that after reading this book, I crave those precious family bonding ties in stories. Family interactions are missing most of the time in YA novels. We not only get a lot of family time in this third installment, we also get interactions between the family and friends (i.e. Peter and dad).

 

#2 The romance makes me feel all kinds of bubbly and warm! Peter and Lara Jean have really grown together and “get” each other now. I simply loved it!

 

#3 Less “triangle” drama! Love triangles or whatever shapes are out there nowadays in YA leave such a bitter taste in my mouth. This book avoids much of that drama, and really focuses on the main characters. Hats off to Jenny Han!

 

#4 Lack of closure. The second book left me wanting more. The third book helps a little, but not by much! I would have preferred a more solid, definite ending. However, I know why it ended the way it ended. WARNING: Highlight the space below for spoilers!

 

It’s unclear if Peter and Lara Jean will stay together forever. My romantic self wishes they will. But the ending is indeed realistic this way. Because they are both young adults, and are attending different schools. A lot can change, especially in these stages of their lives. What I predict happening (and it’s only my speculation, since this series has come to an end) is that they would break up eventually, but possibly reunite later on in their lives. Who knows?! Readers can only imagine these fictional futures now.

 

I’ll miss the Covey-Song-Rothschild family and Peter forever. I can see myself reading this book again in the future!

 

And FINALLY, we have a movie in the works!

 

I’m honestly astonished by how fast everything is moving. I had known that the movie rights were bought, but we heard nothing afterwards really. Last week was a whirlwind that I loved! Those who are involved in the project have been so utterly generous with sharing pictures and videos with fans. I’m impatiently waiting for the next piece of news: the release date. And of course, the movie!

 

In other areas, the cast looks strong—I’m so happy by who they chose for each role. I am just concerned the spirit of the story would be lost, or if the story doesn’t have that “flow.” We will have to wait and see.

Follow the author, director, the cast, etc. on instagram for regular updates, pictures, and videos! 

Jenny Han

Susan Johnson (Director)

Amanda de Souza (Assistant to the Director)

Lana Condor (Lara Jean Covey)

Noah Centineo (Peter K.)

Israel Broussard (Josh Sanderson)

Janel Parrish (Margot Covey)

Anna Cathcart (Kitty Covey)

Madeleine Arthur (Chris)

Trezzo Mahoro (Lucas)

AwesomenessFilm 

 


Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Publication: September 27th, 2016
Rating: 4 crowns

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

 

 

 

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo 

Crooked Kingdom is the adventurous sequel to Six of Crows, both of which are written by Leigh Bardugo. This book is the last of the duology, and has solidified my opinion towards Bardugo’s writing. It is clear that she is a wonderful writer, who is not afraid to explore the unknown and make YA different and interesting. Her books do not follow any YA trends. She sets her own trends!

 

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom include a cast of characters who each have their own distinct voice, which was really nice to read. It is highly difficult to prevent different voices from blending together, and Bardugo did a great job of defeating that difficult task. Crooked Kingdom follows the six main characters on one crazy, fun, and funny rollercoaster! Along with them, they have taken the world’s most sought-after boy—one who has the potential to change the world with his knowledge about a powerful drug. With this boy, the group goes after the money they were promised with a thirst for revenge!

 

Like I said, this book is rollercoaster. There is always some action happening or some new secret revealed. Kaz, who is the so-called leader of this group, is always either strategizing his next move or has it prepared. He is sneaky, intelligent, and skilled in problem-solving and investigating. His fellow colleagues have grown to not be surprised by Kaz and his plans. That’s what made the book so FUN! When you start to think the characters will have no way out of something, even more trouble ensues. It’s a complicated web of lies and fighting and the group must work their way out of it.

 

I must share my two major dislikes—ones that made me lower my rating. Firstly, after reading this book, I am now completely sure that long books do not work well with me. Just my own personal preference. With such a long book like Crooked Kingdom, I kept getting distracted and finding other things to do instead of reading. The length of a book is not the worst thing in the world; some readers actually love that, which is great. Another dislike was how the ending came to be. I won’t spoil. You get a grand ending and some closure, but not enough.

 

Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom remains to be well-written books with well-written characters. You’ll find romance, adventure, mystery, action, and IMMENSE humor in these books. I definitely recommend!

 

 


Queenie’s Most Anticipated Reads of 2017 (Part 1)!

Now that 2016 has officially wrapped up, the Royalty Readers are extremely excited to share our most anticipated books of 2017! Queenie will be the first to share. 

**Books are in order by publication date**

 

 

Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1) by Elly Blake 

January 10th

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

It sounds like a fantasy rollercoaster that I want to learn about. Looking forward to reading a world where two cultures and groups clash together!

 

 

 

 

 

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before #3) by Jenny Han

May 2nd

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

After reading the second book of Han’s trilogy, P. S. I Still Love You, I didn’t feel closure! There were lots of unanswered questions. So when the news that there will be a third book, I was of course elated. I hope the Song girls get a great ending to all things!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh 

May 16th

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Renee Ahdieh is a rockstar writer! She pays attention to every detail, so you know this book will be PERFECTION. I am ready for this Mulan-ish kind of story! Just hoping there will be no love triangle.

 

 

 

 

 

 When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 

May 30th

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

Why hasn’t a book like this been published sooner?! Romantic comedy with Indian-American characters? Some parental intervention? Wooing from a hopeless romantic? I am so incredibly intrigued by this future read and cannot wait for May!

 

 

 

 

 


Obsidian and Stars by Julie Eshbaugh (Ivory and Bone #2)

June 13th

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

That cover! That title! Call me Kol’s number #1 fan. Call me part of the clan. (That rhymes.) Call it June 13th because I can no longer wait that long for this sequel!

 

 

 

 

 

Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

November 6th

Goodreads

There’s not much information on this book as of now. But we do know it could be about the moon, royalty, and of course drama. Does that not make you curious?!

 

 

The Gatlon School for Vigilantes (The Gatlon Trilogy #1) by Marissa Meyer

November 7th

Goodreads

I will read anything Marissa Meyers writes. Doesn’t hurt that this book sounds absolutely fun to read!

 

 

 

 

Among the Red Stars by Gwen C. Katz 

Unknown publication date

Goodreads 

I really enjoy reading historical fiction–especially world war times, so when there’s a book about female pilots during WWII, of course I want it!

 

 

 

 

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns (Forest #1) by Julie C. Dao

Unknown publication date

Goodreads 

I am confused why there hasn’t been more Asian folklore in the YA world. Bring it on Xifeng! I am ready to read about you!

 

 

 

 

Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

Unknown publication date

Goodreads 

I will read whatever YA book Marie Lu produces!


Review: The Midnight Star (The Young Elites #3) by Marie Lu

 

Title: The Midnight Star
Author: Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication: October 11th, 2016
Rating: 5 crowns

SummaryThere was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Kobo

Marie Lu, how do you come up with these stories?! Oh, how I would love to look inside her noggin! I bet her emails and text messages are just as beautifully written.

I am a bit late as this book was released months ago, but now I can say that the Midnight Star has sewn together the Young Elite’s journey so perfectly well. It is really breathtaking to see how far these characters and the world have traveled. Adelina Amouteru is entirely imperfect. She is stubborn, ambitious, and beyond cruel. She chooses not to empathize. Adelina makes such mean and wrong decisions that are based on her motives and benefits. It is difficult to read such a dark and vengeful perspective. However, it is also so fascinating to be absorbed in her mindset!

The writing is amazing and sensitive. So when Adelina feels pain, the readers feel it right with her, through the power of Marie Lu’s words. I felt every bit of scared when Adelina’s illusions become uncontrollable. The writing is just as great at maneuvering through each character’s thought processes. Raffaele is very different from Adelina, and that is clear in the way his thoughts move from one to the other.

There is no quiet moment in this book! The plot is rich– full of action and suspense. The story makes sense, which is what I really look for in a book. The events that follow each other fit together as one giant plot. Each event or each piece of dialogue is put in there for a reason, connecting to the larger story.

There’s not much else to say since this book is just a dark bundle of joy on its own. I do not want to give away too much plot details. I would recommend it if you’re all right with reading about a character who does terrible things and has her own way of looking at the world and herself. If you haven’t tried the Young Elites series yet, you should!


Favorite Books of 2016 2

It’s now 2017! If you’re looking for a new read, here are books we read in 2016 that we highly recommend!

Queenie’s Picks!

Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1) by Julie Eshbaugh

While I have to say that I did not get a chance to read a lot this year, this was by far my most memorable read (and it’s really not because I won a copy of it in a giveaway)! It’s because the main characters, the families, and the setting really draw you into the story. I enjoy being transported into another time, and this book gave me just that. I was engulfed in the sights and smells that guided the lives during a time we don’t really hear about. Plus, the cover just takes your breath away! Click here for full review.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

 

Dreamology by Lucy Keating

While yes, there’s one part of the book that really made me sour, but I really had a fun time reading this book! The characters feel SO HUMAN, and I appreciate that so much. There’s many books that explore the world of dreams, but Dreamology presents dreams in a whole new perspective! And that cover is so dreamy! Click here for full review.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

 

 

 

Front Lines (Soldier Girl #1) by Michael Grant

A bit slow in the beginning but the story picked up so fast towards the last half! Front Lines is a great twist on history. It was rich with details and facts even though it doesn’t entirely follow history. Cannot wait for the sequel!

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

 

(more…)


Review: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Quennie's Review

court

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Genre: Fantasy
Publication: May 3rd, 2016
Rating: 3.5 crowns

Synopsis: Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.
 

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

 

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Goodreads / Amazon / BN

3.5 stars

review

A Court of Mist and Fury is such an intense read! I am not sure if I can properly put into words how I felt about this sequel.

 

After the chaos of the first book, Feyre has to spend one week with Rhys—the High Lord of the Night Court—each month. On the day of her wedding day (where she was just about to marry Tamlin, Feyre’s lover who readers met in the first novel), she is literally swept away by Rhys. Let’s just say, from that point onwards, it gets crazy! Feyre gets caught up with learning how to control her new powers, how to adjust to her new immortal strength, and a highly dangerous mission that will affect the entire world—including both the Fae and humans.

 

I appreciate the plot. When I say the book is action-packed, I am saying like every single minute, there is something happening and as the reader, you have to try your best to keep up. What I really enjoyed was seeing how the characters meshed and grew together. Especially seeing Feyre cope with the new aspects of her life and overcoming her personal conflicts, it was really lovely to see how much strength she found in herself.

 

I had to take away some crowns for one reason. A Court of Mist and Fury is a really long book to read. No matter how action-packed it is, it is difficult to keep up and focus all of your attention onto reading. I would not want to take away any scene because they were all so pivotal to the plot, but again I would not mind to see lesser pages.

 

However, the book was an exciting journey, so I definitely do recommend reading this if you’ve read the first. Just wait till you get to the ending!


Review: Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Quennie's Review ivory and bone

Title: Ivory and Bone
Author: Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone
Genre: Historical, Fantasy
Publication: June 7th, 2016
Rating: 5 crowns

Synopsis: A prehistoric fantasy—with allusions to Pride and Prejudice.

 

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

 

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Goodreads / Amazon / BN

5 stars

review

The cover is absolutely enchanting. That was what first drew me to the book. I am just glad that the story was just as beautiful as its cover.

 

Starring as the main character of Ivory and Bone is Kol, a young adult and the eldest child of his family. He is from the Manu Clan and the son of a High Elder. He has three younger brothers—Pek, Kesh, and Roon. One day, three individuals travel to their shores visiting from the Olen Clan. Among those three is a girl named Mya, who steals Kol’s attention right away. The only issue is that she is not the easiest person to get to know. She is quiet, stubborn, and comes off as proud. It’s not so easy for the Manu Clan to become close to the Olen (even though they try their best) because of a tragedy that almost sparked war five years previously. However, from the moment Kol and Mya meet, their two clans become intertwined even more in more difficult ways. When a third clan—the Bosha and their High Elder’s daughter, Lo—enter the picture, more tension ensues. It is the type of tension that could only lead to war.

 

When hearing about Ivory and Bone, I had an idea of what kind of story the book was. I really thought there was only a subtle connection between Pride and Prejudice and the book since the synopsis did not really sound too alike with the classic. When I began reading, I was utterly surprised how much of the story was related to Pride and Prejudice. And I really, REALLY enjoyed it! I saw the similarities between the two stories, but Ivory and Bone produces its own kind of book magic.

 

There is a gender swap within Ivory and Bone. Kol is really Elizabeth; Mya is the “arrogant” Darcy. Honestly, I did not even recognize Kol’s family as the Bennett family only after Mya was introduced. The gender swap felt excellent; I never compared Kol to Elizabeth or Mya to Darcy.

 

I love the family dynamics, and a part of me wishes to see more. Kol’s family is wonderful and lovable! As the reader, I want to be a part of their family. Their interactions with each other show how different they are from one another; how they are each are their own person within that family and clan. Each person of the clan contributes in their own unique way. It is interesting to see how they live as a community. Kol’s parents try to play matchmakers for all of their children to ensure that the clan will continue to exist. Their actions are sweet and loving.

 

Kol is a complex character. He definitely has his fears, but acts when he feels it is right. I find him to be a very lonely and sensitive character. Kol is a thinker, and that trait proves his weakness several times because he simply thinks too much into things many times. Mya is a strong character, frequently troubled by her past, which makes it difficult to open up and connect with other people. She is suspicious of all people outside of her clan.

 

The writing just pulls you in! Out of everything in the book, the writing is the most amazing. The scenes have a good flow—not too fast, not too slow. The writing is rich with details about the setting; I had no trouble imagining the beautiful landscapes that Kol finds himself in. I have never read settings that take place during prehistoric times, and wasn’t sure whether it would work with the story. But it was absolutely majestic! I only wish more books took place during that time so I can read about those times. It was so refreshing to see how Kol and his family interact with their surroundings and what they do to sustain themselves. We see the landscapes through Kol’s perspective and he pays attention to the smallest of details—the smell of the greenery, the rush of river water, the animals that contribute to the world just as much as the clans.

 

The writing is very serious. I think the serious tone sets the foundation for a serious plot; it makes me as the reader cautious about what will happen. There is not much humor in the book. If there was, it was very subtle. For me, humor is not required, but it is appreciated. Roon, Kol’s youngest brother, and his girl-crazed motives definitely brought the humor in.

 

I sincerely thank Julie Eshbaugh for the amazing giveaway! It has been an adventure reading Ivory and Bone and cannot wait to read the sequel. I finished Ivory and Bone in only a few days, staying up in the late hours, and I honestly miss that feeling of anticipation. Anticipating what challenge Kol and his clan are up against next. How will Kol react? Will Mya be alongside him?

 

If you’re looking for an adventure, a small romance, and a lovely family and culture, pick up Ivory and Bone immediately!