First Impression Friday: American Royals

I can’t believe that the weekend is FINALLY within reach! It has been such a crazy week for me! On Wednesday night I had CPR training for work that literally did not end until 9:30 at night, which didn’t put me home and in bed until almost 11PM. Leave it to my sweet children to be awake and ready-to-go at 4AM Thursday morning!?! NOT COOL!

Currently I am reading Three Books! I know, What is wrong with me? I just couldn’t say no to two awesome Buddy Reads! Unfortunately, because the week has been so busy I am not very far into any of them. BUT that made it the perfect time to post my very first First Impression Friday!

First Impression Friday is hosted by J.W Martin and the idea is to talk about a book you just started. Based on what you have read, give a few impressions and make some predictions.

American Royals By Katharine McGee

What if America had a royal family?

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.

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.

My First Impressions

First of all, for whatever reason I tend to steer clear of YA novels. I guess when I hear YA, I think teenage high school drama that I am just not interested in reading about. This book is fast changing my mind! When I originally saw American Royals and read the synopsis, I added it to my TBR without realizing it was a YA read. I am also semi-obsessed with the Royal family. I am one of those people who will wake up to watch Royal Weddings (don’t judge me.) So, I knew I had to read it!

So far, American Royals is easy to read and entertaining. I love all of the characters, and am enjoying how the chapters rotate between each of their points of view. I’m currently 130 pages in, and some of the love drama has been fairly predictable. Other than that, I’m not quite sure what’s to come. I’m pretty sure there’s going to me something major revealed about Daphne and Himari, but I am not quite sure what the story is there.

I do know that this is book one in a series. I’m wondering if this one will end on a cliff hanger, or if maybe one character will find his/her happy ever after, and in the next books the other characters will follow suit.

One thing I am loving is this whole alternate government system Katharine McGee has created. It’s seriously so creative and amazing. I love the prologue where she gives a little back history on her “America”.

Who else has read this! If you have comment with a link to your review!

As the Light Fades by Catherine West

Book Pub Date September 10, 2019

About the Book

Sometimes we’re placed in the strangest of circumstances for the most important reasons.

After her carefully constructed life crumbles, Liz Carlisle finds herself back on Nantucket, picking up the pieces. With the family estate under renovations, the solitude she craves seems out of reach.

Matthew Stone intends to steer clear of his new tenant. She’s carrying a load of baggage, but as long as she pays the rent, he’ll let her be. He’s got enough to deal with caring for his wayward niece, Mia.

Liz doesn’t have time for teenagers and her track record with men is abysmal, but an unlikely friendship forms between the three.

When her former boyfriend is charged with assault, Liz is called to testify against him. But he knows the darkest secrets of her life—secrets she’d hoped to keep buried forever, and he’s ready to reveal them. Telling the truth is the right thing to do, but it may cost her everything she’s worked so hard for, and all she’s come to love.

My Review

Forgiveness. Mercy. Grace. Strength.

These four words sum up this book perfectly. I loved everything about it! Although it contains some dark and depressing elements, As the Light Fades is a motivational and uplifting story about learning to forgive yourself and others in order to be able to truly find happiness.

The setting is on Nantucket, which is a no brainer read for me. In recent years, Nantucket has been a place that I am dying to visit (thanks to reading about the Island in books.) Any book that takes place there is automatically added to my TBR.

The characters are easy to like and sympathize with. The author truly takes you on an emotional journey as each of them battle their own personal demons of the past, while trying to start fresh in the present. The issues they deal with are very prevalent in today’s society: drug abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, the Me Too movement.

I particularly loved Matt Stone. They way he cares for his niece Mia, the easy rapport he has with her when most caregivers would be pulling their hair out, is especially endearing.

I also loved watching the light come back into Mia’s life as the story progresses. Her resilience, growth, and road to recovery was so inspiring.

Thank you so much to the author for a complimentary advance copy, and the opportunity to offer my honest review. Also, a huge thanks to Just Read Tours for letting me be a part of the blog/review tour for this amazing novel!

Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne

Book Pub Date: September 17, 2019

About the Book

There are no good men left in New York City. At least that’s Claire Hayes’s conviction after finding out her late husband was not the man she thought he was. Determined to rid her home of anything that reminds her of her cheating husband, Claire sets out to redesign her boring, beige Upper East Side brownstone and make it something all her own. But what starts out as a simple renovation becomes a lot more complicated when she meets her bad-tempered and rough-around-the-edges contractor Scott Turner.

Scott bluntly makes it known to Claire that he only took on her house for a change of pace from the corporate offices and swanky hotels he’s been building lately, and he doesn’t hesitate to add that he has no patience for a pampered, damaged princess with a penchant for pink. But when long workdays turn into even longer nights, their mutual wariness morphs into something more complicated—a grudging respect, and maybe even attraction… 

My Review

I am a sucker for a good romance series! After reading Passion on Park Avenue and really enjoying it, I knew I had to continue with Love on Lexington Avenue.

Love on Lexington Avenue by Lauren Layne continues where Passion on Park leaves off, but a year later almost to the day that Naomi, Audrey, and Claire met and made their infamous pact. This time the story is all about Claire, who has decided it is time to move on and overcome her grief and anger towards her newly deceased cheater husband. To start off she decides to renovate her house. What she didn’t bargain for was falling for her handsome, rugged contractor Scott Turner.

I loved this book! I thought Love on Lexington Avenue was even better than Passion on Park Avenue! Scott and Claire had the perfect slow burn romance that left me unable to quit reading because I wanted to find out what happened next. I also loved reading about all the same characters that were in Passion on Park, and I enjoyed the role each one played in this book and their altogether friendship.

I really enjoyed the characters individually too. Claire really develops throughout the entire book. I appreciated her ability to pick up the pieces and do something meaningful with her life. Her self-discovery and reinvention were inspiring.

And Scott—swoon I would like to have him as my contractor! All scruffy and hard on the outside, but inside super sensitive and just as jaded as Claire was!
I loved the ending when she finally got to see the kitchen remodel! That was probably my favorite part of the whole book!

Love on Lexinton Avenue is out today! I recommend this book and The Central Park Pact series, and I can’t wait until I can get my hands on the third one! Thank you so much to Gallery Books and NetGalley for this advanced ecopy and the opportunity to offer my honest review!

Roomies By Christina Lauren

One my absolute favorite genres to read is Rom/Com. I am always up for a light, funny, romantic love story! Since joining the Bookstagram community in March of this year, I have been introduced to many different authors and books that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about. The author(s) that I now consistently read thanks to all of those recommendations is Christina Lauren. I love the books by this Dynamic Duo, and it has been a goal of mine to read as many of their books as possible. My most recent read was Roomies.

About the Book

Holland Bakker spends her days working on Broadway in the Theatre where her Uncle has written one of the most well-known Broadway musicals in New York City. She isn’t sure about anything in her life at the moment, except for the hardcore crush she on an Irish guitar playing street musician named Calvin.

When Calvin unexpectedly saves her from an attacker in the Subway station, Holland gets him an audition with her Uncle as a way of saying Thanks. When the audition goes fantastic and Calvin is offered a job, it is discovered that he is in the country illegally.

To help save her Uncle’s show, Holland impulsively marries Calvin. What follows is a relationship that begins to evolve into something more than convenience and pretending.

My Review

Including Roomies, I have read four books by Christina Lauren. As far as favorites goes, Roomies falls right in the middle. It contains all of the elements typical of a Christina Lauren:

  • Humor: I love how funny Christina Lauren books are! There were several scenes in Roomies that had me laughing out loud.
  • Steamy Scenes: The romantic scenes in Roomies were steamy enough to be entertaining, but they do not go overboard where I’m feeling awkward and uncomfortable.  

As far as basic plot goes, I do wish this one had been a little more eventful. I felt like the majority of the “action” was derived by Calvin and Holland’s back and forth relationship drama, and not really any major event. However, I did enjoy the romance and love story between the two of them.

I also really appreciated how Holland’s character developed throughout the book. She starts out lacking confidence in every aspect of herself, to being a kick ass woman in charge of her own world by the end.

Calvin too seemed especially dreamy! I had fun picturing an Irish accent (swoon).

Overall  a very cute, light, and fun read.

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis

Book Pub Date September 10, 2019

About the Book

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis is a wonderful historical fiction, mystery combination that follows the famous Brontë Sisters in a time before they were writers. In this tale, the sisters act as detectives to try and discover what happened to a young wife and mother the night she disappears from her home.

My Review

This book is not something I would normally pick up, but when a buddy read for it was offered to me, I had to take a chance. I am so glad I did! The writing is amazing! Bella Ellis does a wonderful job sticking to the language of the time period. The writing is very smooth and descriptive without taking away from the action-packed story!

Each of the characters are so well developed. I could tell the author really researched and worked to get the personality of each Brontë sister as historically accurate as possible. I loved getting to know each of them through this book.

The suspense, mystery, and plot twits are strong! Just when I thought I had solved the mystery; something would happen leaving me speechless! I couldn’t figure out the whole truth until it was shown to me in the last few pages.

I also really appreciated the underlying theme of feminism. In real life, the Brontë sisters paved the way for female writers of their time period. In The Vanished Bride the theme that women are just as capable as men is very prevalent, which I think is a wonderful tribute to who these sisters were and all they represent.

The Vanished Bride hits stores today! Thank you so much to Berkley Publishing for this complimentary advanced copy, and the opportunity to offer an honest review! I am looking forward to the next book in this series!

The Sisters of Summit Avenue by Lynn Cullen

Pub Date September 10, 2019

About the Book

The Sisters of Summit Avenue by Lynn Cullen is a wonderfully written historical fiction that follows two Sisters and their family drama during the Great Depression.
Ruth lives on a farm in Indiana taking care of her daughters while her husband, John lies in bed sick from the infamous “sleeping sickness” June is married to a rich Doctor and works as a “Betty” in the Betty Crocker taste kitchen. Now June is traveling to see Ruth at the request of their mother Dorothy in the hopes of reuniting the two sisters. The drama that is unveiled and the secrets that spill in preparation for and during this reunion will have readers turning page after page.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. It was the first one I’ve read by Lynn Cullen, and I will now be on the lookout for her future books.
The Sisters on Summit Avenue started out very slow for me. It is told from multiple viewpoints in multiple decades, so readers must pay attention to the place and date at the beginning of each chapter when reading. There is a method to the madness though, and halfway in I could not put it down! I loved each of the main characters. Dorothy for her wisdom, Ruth for her feisty personality, and June for her kind heart.

I thrived on all the family drama! This book has it all! Family secrets, love triangles, you name it!
I enjoyed reading about the time period and what an impact Betty Crocker made on women during the Great Depression.
Thank you so much Gallery and Netgalley for a chance to read and review this advanced copy! I highly recommend it to readers!

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo

I have so many thoughts on this book, I really do not even know where to begin.
Three Women follows the lives of Maggie, Lina, and Sloane and discloses their sex lives and somewhat dark pasts.
Lina is having an affair because her husband no longer touches her. Sloane is in a happy marriage, but her husband encourages her to sleep with other people of his choosing. And Maggie is coming out of a deep depression due to a relationship with her high school English teacher.

Going into this book I did not know what to expect except what was written on the jacket. I am not normally a non-fiction reader, but a goal of mine is to branch out of my comfort zone. What better way then with a book about sex! From the get go the author leaves nothing out. It is very, very personal, somewhat graphic, and at times I felt uncomfortable reading it knowing that it was nonfiction. I also found it very hard to relate to these women, who seemed to be on the extreme side of normal. All three of them suffered some form of trauma earlier in life that I believed help shape their sex lives.
Honestly, I wasn’t even sure the point of the book. Why did the author choose to write about this?
Then I got to page 101 and read this quote:
“Women shouldn’t judge one another’s lives, if we haven’t been through one another’s fires.”
This one simple quote opened my mind up to reading the rest of the book. I appreciate the courage it took for each woman to open up and share such personal, and at times dark secrets.
The story that touched me the most was Maggie, who was manipulated into a relationship with her high school English teacher. Six years after the event Maggie found it in her to report the abuse and press charges. Her abuser was found not guilty on all counts. I continued reading for her. Her story and personal pain touched me deeply, and I felt like this book was her chance to tell her story without anyone contradicting her. The bravery she demonstrated by coming forward, and then sharing her story with the world made it worth the read.

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