Title: Red, White & Royal Blue
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre(s): New Adult Fiction, LGBTQA+, Romance, Politics
Gisselle's Rating: 5/5
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers for Red, White & Royal Blue.
I was a little late to the Red, White & Royal Blue hype-train, but I finally managed to read through McQuiston's debut novel after finishing One Last Stop and, let me tell you, they did not disappoint!
Red, White, & Royal Blue follows the life of Alex Claremont-Diaz, the First Son of the United States and oldest child of the President, Ellen Claremont. After nearly a full term of living at the White House under his mother's Presidency, Alex knows how to conduct himself and what is expected of a socialite in his standing, especially when it comes to international affairs; however, he cannot seem to shake his disdain for the Prince of England, Prince Henry of Wales, someone Alex believes to be incredibly stuck-up, posh, and cold. When a photograph of Alex and Henry caught mid-confrontation at the Royal Wedding is leaked to the presses, both the United States and England are forced to execute damage control. Their solution: stage a close friendship between Alex and Henry to quell any rumors of antagonistic feelings between the two men. Yet, the more time Alex and Henry spend with one another, they closer they become, and soon both men are thrusted into the complex world of navigating a relationship out of sight of the public and their respective families.
Title: And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Genre(s): Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Religion, Elements of LGBTQA+, Romance
Gisselle's Rating: 4.5/5
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers for And I Darken.
During my undergrad studies, one of the books I enjoyed reading the most in my curriculum was Bram Stoker's Dracula, and it was especially compelling to learn that it had been inspired by a true figure in history: Vladimir the Impaler. Yet, I did not understand the intricacies of the stories involving Vladimir, or exactly what he was famous for in history. This novel, though a fictional retelling with many creative liberties taken, depicts that era and its characters, and Kiersten White does a fantastic job at bringing these historical figures back to life in such a raw and human way.
White's And I Darken is the first installment in a series called The Conqueror's Saga, a trilogy which recounts a fictional retelling of Vladimir the Impaler, Mehmed the Conqueror, and other historical figureheads of the Ottoman Empire. While this is a retelling of historical accounts of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople, and other events, there are quite a few liberties that White takes in the telling of her story. For one, White makes the decision to change Vladimir the Impaler into Ladaslav the Impaler, a daughter (rather than son) of Wallachia. There are also adjustments made to the timeline in which certain events unfolded in history to better fit White's narrative, and as there isn't true historical documentation of exact conversations or encounters that these characters may have had with one another, White focuses on possible motivations that would have impacted their actions taken during their lives. Ultimately, it is important to remember that while this story has its roots set in true events, it is a fictional piece.
Title: One Last Stop
Author: Casey McQuiston
Genre: New Adult Fiction, Romance, LGBTQA+, Science Fiction
Gisselle's Rating: 5/5
Release Date: June 1, 2021
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers for One Last Stop.
You know that moment when you are on public transit and you lock eyes with someone, and you are, for those few moments that you're traveling together, just a little bit in love? Maybe it's irrational and a slight bit insane, but something about their presence captivates you from the second you see them, and you can't help pitching forward in time to a possible future that involves that person, because what if they're the one? It could be their strong arms, and you imagine a set of arms like that wrapped protectively around you at night, or it could be their well-loved copy of your favorite book, and you picture deep conversations about the plot and character arcs, or it could be a dazzling twinkle in their eye as they smile when they catch you staring. Either way, the harmless fantasy ends when either of you depart at the next stop, only to start again with someone else some day. But what if that brief blip of infatuation did evolve into something deeper, and it brought a huge mystery and an adventure straight of out of science-fiction along with it?
Casey McQuiston's One Last Stop tells the story of August Landry, a bi woman who just moved to New York City for a fresh start: new school, new roommates, new life (hopefully) away from her mother's obsession with solving the long-abandoned case of her missing brother. August is firmly against believing that anything like 'love at first sight' and 'magic' exists. Moving to New York, August might be right in her judgements; adult life - shifts at the local pancake diner, weird and slightly invasive roommates, and traveling the Q train for her school commute - is exhausting and not at all magical. All of that instantly changes when she meets Jane, the girl on the Q, clad in a leather jacket, red Chucks, and gentle smile that melts August's cynical heart. As the days slip by, however, August discovers that Jane is otherworldly in more ways than one: she truly is not of August's reality, having been displaced from her own time in the 1970's and has been a passenger on the Q for over 40 years. August must rely on her past life's skills to help Jane return to her own time... all while fighting a losing battle against love in the process.
Title: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Adult Fiction, Historical Fantasy, Romance
Gisselle's Rating: 4.5/5
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers for The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.
Once I began college, I fell off the wagon when it came to reading for pleasure. I enjoyed the analyzation process and literary criticism of my degree, but it had been a while since I read a book because I wanted to immerse myself in a different world. So when I picked up this book for the first time in February, I was expecting a battle with myself to keep disciplined and focused on the story, to try to get back to that same level of passion that I had towards reading in my youth. However, my preparations weren't really needed; V.E. Schwab's masterful storytelling and ability to grip and immerse me completely in her world drew me in without reservation. I remembered what it felt like to completely fall into a new setting and story that was not mine.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue depicts a devastating concept: a young woman makes a deal with an entity to be immortal, but at the ghastly price of being forgotten by everyone she encounters. On first assumption of the text's contents, I thought it was going to be about an immortal that would not be able to leave a mark on the world in the sense that perhaps she could not have children or could not become famous. I was not aware to the extent of the excruciating nature of Addie LaRue's reality, which was that she would not be remembered at all, leaving no memory of her presence even after she left someone's life for only a moment. However, all what Addie knows of her new life changes when she is introduced to Henry Strauss, a wandering soul that works in a local bookstore in New York City, and the first person to have remembered Addie since making her bargain.