Review + Aesthetic Board: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary Fiction, Realistic Fiction, LGBTQIA+
Publication: May 14th 2019 by St. Martin’s Griffin / Wednesday Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 432 pages
Format: ARC from the author
Rating: ★★★★★

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A big-hearted romantic comedy in which First Son Alex falls in love with Prince Henry of Wales after an incident of international proportions forces them to pretend to be best friends…

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.

The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.

As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you?

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Review + Aesthetic Board: The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

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The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: January 29th 2019 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 320 pages
Format: ARC from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★.5

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Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn’t want to think about, ever.

Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His “wives” and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won’t like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he’s the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.

Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what’s considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.

Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they’re willing to risk — to get the thing they want the most. Continue reading “Review + Aesthetic Board: The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg”

Now We Rise Blog Tour Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Genre: YA Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Diversity, Magic
Publication: March 6th 2018 by Henry Holt / Macmillan USA
Series: Yes. Legacy of Orïsha #1.
Length: 600 pages
Format: ARC from Fierce Reads / Macmillan International
Rating: ★★★★★

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Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut, perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Sabaa Tahir.

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.

Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.

Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy.

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Blog Tour Review: Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista

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Start Here: Short Stories of First Encounters
edited by Ronald S. Lim & Brigitte Bautista
Genre: Anthology, Romance, YA / NA, #ownvoices, LGBTQIA+
Publication: January 27th 2018 by #romanceclass Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 271 pages
Format: e-ARC from the tour host
Rating: ★★★★★

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There’s a first time for everything. Gatecrashing a KPop concert with an oppa in a business suit. Taking shelter from the storm with the girl you’ve been meaning to shake off. That kiss that blurs the line between friendship and something more. A one-night stand (or, is it?) with your best friend from across the hallway.

Dive into these 10 stories of first encounters – unapologetically queer, happy endings required, with a smattering of that signature #romanceclass kilig. Whether you’re recalling your own firsts or out there looking for one, there’s a story in here for you.

So, go on.

Turn the page.

Start here.

(Edited by Ronald S. Lim and Brigitte Bautista. Featuring short stories by Agay Llanera, H. Bentham, Ella Banta, Danice Sison, Yeyet Soriano, Barbie Barbieto, Katt Briones, Bobbi Moran, Motzie Dapul, and Brigitte Bautista. This anthology contains M/M, F/F, F/NB romance stories with happy endings. Some stories have a high heat level.)

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Review: Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

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Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
Genre
: YA Contemporary, Diverse, Coming-of-age
Publication: January 16th 2018 from Soho Teen
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 288 pages
Format: ARC
Rating: ★★★★☆

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A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

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