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Book Review | Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release date: May 14, 2019
Format: Paperback
Page count: 421
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: ★☆☆☆☆

First things first, this is NOT a young adult title, it is New Adult. The author herself doesn’t claim it is young adult, but the bookseller who told me about it clearly saw the cutesy cover and assumed it was young adult (which is what I was looking for).

Secondly, I really really really wanted to enjoy this book. So much so that I purchased a copy, rather than getting it from the library (something I haven’t done in AGES because my bookshelves are entirely too full).

Basically, if I’m not planning on re-reading a book, then I borrow rather than buy. Now, here’s why I have buyer’s remorse…

The premise sounds SO good! Enemies to lovers is a trope I am ALL in for! Awkward trans-Atlantic, politically fraught romance! These are all really great things in my mind… but the execution leaves much to be desired, as they say.

The author either hates Republicans or really wants her readers to think she does and, judging by Alex’s way of thinking, Democrats can do no wrong and have basically saved America from itself. From the first chapter, the politics in this book are just… toxic.

Published at a time when the then-President of the United States was very controversial, Red, White & Royal Blue reads like some wishful, alternate universe fan fiction.

At the end of the day, there were these brief moments of really GOOD storytelling, writing that I wanted to see more of! But those moments were overshadowed by this desperate attempt to fix all of the ‘problems’ in the world… Really, I think it comes down to the author trying to do too much.

And you know what? She might have been successful, if it hadn’t been contemporary fiction. This book is supposedly happening now-ish and based in a believable world, but it just… isn’t. It’s such an idealized view of what the author wishes the world to be that it’s entirely lacking in enjoyment. Each time I read something I liked, it was instantly overshadowed by the ‘politics’ and my enjoyment was lost.

While this title has been seemingly well-received by the bookish community, I think it could benefit from some taking a step back and remembering that sometimes a reader just wants to enjoy a book and have it be an actual escape from the world in which they live.

Find it at…

original work · writing

Writing | The Morning After

“I think that it says an awful lot about your character, that you insist on keeping to your morning routine even knowing that the rest of your day is going to be completely off that routine.”

Quill hummed in response, moving from cobra into downward facing dog and breathing deeply as he did so.  He enjoyed the feeling in his muscles as they were stretched and the pull of muscles unfamiliar with the activities of the night before.  Quill absolutely loved performing his sun salutations the morning after getting laid, reveled in the way his body seemed to still be singing even so many hours after it had been overwhelmed with pleasure.

“You are extremely flexible. If I’d remembered that last night, we could have been a lot more creative.”

Quill grinned to himself, chuckling as he stretched and moved into a headstand.

“Well, if you’d been more awake last night, we could have been more creative. Instead, you decided not to sleep on your flight here and were too tired to do anything more than good old vanilla sexing last night.”

Ransom laughed, rolling back up onto the bed as he did so, and gazed up at the ceiling.

“I can’t believe that you can say ‘sexing’ with a completely serious face and while you’re upside down. But, I have to say that your morning after glow is coming in quite well.” He commented, turning his head to gaze appreciatively at his lover.

Quill rolled his eyes, praying for patience in dealing with the silly man, his best friend and lover, before the man had had his morning cup of coffee. Before he had his morning caffeine fix, Ransom tended to revert to his college-aged way of speaking. Quill couldn’t help but find it helplessly endearing.

©2016 S Hostetter

“A warm window view” by Mourner is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

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Two Book Tuesday

Two Book Tuesdays are getting a facelift… With a new graphic for these posts, tons of books I can’t wait to share with you, and a whole year in which to do so, things are looking up for Two Book Tuesday!

Less by Andrew Sean Greer
Read by Robert Petkoff

I purchased a copy of Less by Andrew Sean Greer and didn’t really know what to expect from it other than it had a cover that made me want to read it.

Fast forward three weeks and I still hadn’t cracked that paperback open!  Instead, I went online to my library’s Libby catalog (through Over Drive) and checked it out there, figuring that if I didn’t have time to sit and read then I could listen while accomplishing other tasks.  This proved to be the correct choice and I managed to listen to Less in about two weeks.

Robert Petkoff’s performance was exceptional. He was able to make me feel pity and exasperation and joy for the situations Arthur Less continually found himself going through. In the end, I was quite happy to see where Arthur’s adventures took him, even if it was in the most roundabout of ways.

Hadrian’s Wall
by Adrian Goldsworthy

Hadrian’s Wall by Adrian Goldsworthy is a nonfiction title I came across while browsing the shelves of my local Barnes & Noble bookstore. I have always been curious about the Roman occupation of the British Isles (I even wrote a short paper about it in school!) and I figured that this title would be of interest.

I had other things on my mind (and in my basket), so it was another two months before I was able to get my hands on Hadrian’s Wall.

I am so looking forward to cracking this book open because it is one of my absolute favorite times (and locations) in history!

blog · book review · review

Book Review | On Fire by Drew Zachary

There is so much that I like about On Fire by Drew Zachary that I can’t even cover it all.

If there is one thing that will instantly draw the eye, it would be Firefighters or other officers of the law in uniform.  Regardless of why they are drawing your eye, you’ve got to admit that a person just looks good in uniform.  Am I right?  Yeah, I know you’re agreeing with me.

There a moment where Sam allows Robert to hurt him because the older man himself is hurting from things that happened at work and Sam thinks it will help him.  Usually this would be a hard-stop for me, but its such a brief, one-time moment that I was still able to enjoy reading this book.

Sam is a bouncy, genuinely like-able character (even if he has WAY too much energy in his small body, it makes me tired just reading about it, lol) and Robert is the kind of settled, solid guy people dream of settling down with.  Luckily for Sam, that’s exactly what he gets to do.  And the epilogue is a perfect glimpse into Sam and Robert’s future together.

I’ll let you in on a secret, the sequel is really good too.  🙂