This review has been three years in the making. Lol.
When I first read The Cruel Prince back in 2018, I honestly saw the appeal. I thought it wasn’t a particularly great book, but it was a highly entertaining one. It was problematic as fuck – it portrayed a victim being in a romantic relationship with her abuser as a good thing and perpetuated that age-old super harmful stereotype of boys being mean to girls because they like them. But it was still enjoyable to read because its main character was one of the most ruthless, ambitious, cunning girls I’ve ever seen in YA fiction. I didn’t know where The Cruel Prince was going to take me, but I did know I wanted to go along with Jude Duarte.
Little did I know the Jude that developed in The Cruel Prince, the Jude that I fell in love with in The Wicked King, was going to be snatched away and replaced by a changeling (hah!) in The Queen of Nothing.
Read on to find out how I was let down by one of the most anticipated reads of the entire YA community.
(Be aware though that this discussion post is not spoiler-free!)
Get The Cruel Prince here, The Wicked King here, or The Queen of Nothing here.
When Gabhi Martins, the editor of this anthology, reached out to me on Twitter about possibly receiving a copy of and reviewing Keep Faith, I was excited. I’d already heard about the book through the bookish Twitter grapevine. As a queer person and a devout Catholic, I keenly felt the lack of fiction that dealt with how to navigate either community while being a member of both. The authors of the various short stories in Keep Faith were able to represent that reality beautifully.
Read on to find out why I loved it so much!
Mulan crossed with Project Runway? Doesn’t that sound like one of the most intriguing things ever? When I saw Spin the Dawn being pitched that way, I scrambled for any way to get my hands on ARC. Luckily, Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea launched the #SpinTheDawnTour and I was one of the lucky folks who got a slot!
Elizabeth Lim, by the way, is a complete and utter gem. Not only did tour participants get ARCs, but she also got us pre-order goodies! However, I can’t really show off my collection until tomorrow. As I write this review, I’m at my mom’s house in the south, and unfortunately, I left my set of pre-order cards and stickers at my apartment. (Oof. 😔) I’ll take photos when I get back, but suffice it to say, the swag is super pretty and well-made! Best of all, she and Knopf Books for Young Readers have also got an international giveaway going! Everybody say thank you, Elizabeth!
More than the swag and giveaway though, I have to say that reading this book was an incredibly enjoyable journey. There were a few bumps along the way which I will talk about more here, but all in all, this was a great read that I’m eager to share with everyone.
Please note though that this review contains spoilers, so tread cautiously.
I admit – I used to look down on teen books. I’ve always loved YA sci-fi and fantasy, but I used to think that contemporary teen books were beneath me. Of course, I’ve realized since then just how wrong I was (check out my review of From Twinkle, With Love and When Dimple Met Rishi, both contemporary teen romances), and I’m happy to say, I have a quite a few teen books on my TBR now! In fact, last month, I read three contemporary teen books, and I absolutely adored them!
Here’s what I thought of Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson, One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus, and Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo!
Title: Second Wave Summer
Author: Six de los Reyes, Tara Frejas, and Jay E. Tria
Age Range: Adult
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Anthology
All roads lead back to beachside music festival Summer Crush for another weekend of high waves, rock & roll, and the promise of summer romance.
On any given day, Michael Brian doesn’t need to do much to hit the right notes with a girl, but there’s something about this day—and something about this girl—that’s got him out of tune.
Indie filmmaker Datu puts on his dusty event videographer hat for Summer Crush. But memories of a love he let slip away resurface from every corner of this surf town. Now what he thought would be an easy job just isn’t so easy anymore.
Corporate-highflyer-on-vacation Ringo has a question to which cookie bar boss woman Kris has the answer, if only they’d stop getting in each other’s way.
Content Warnings: Explicit sexual content
Title: Love at First Run
Author: Angel C. Aquino
Age Range: New Adult
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
After getting her heart broken, 23-year-old Diana Gomez is afraid to fall in love again. But when her office crush Paul invites her to join a running club with him, she goes for it. What she doesn’t know is that to be a part of the club, she actually has to train for a half marathon—and that she’ll meet Joshua, the handsome club veteran who becomes her unofficial running buddy. As if it isn’t hard enough to do speed work, interval training, and long runs after work and on weekends, she has to deal with her feelings for both boys and face her fears of falling in love.
Will she reach the finish line without getting herself (or her heart) injured? Journey with Diana as she reaches running milestones, overcomes obstacles, pushes herself to the limit, and discovers the strength within her… one kilometer at a time.
Content Warnings: Slut-shaming
Title: Chasing Mindy
Author: Carla de Guzman
Age Range: New Adult
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
My Rating: 4/5
Mindy and Javier are not friends, okay.
Despite their mothers’ matchmaking, they’ve managed to stay out of each other’s way. Until Mindy goes to Paris for a week, and her mother insists she meet up with Javier. He’s in Paris to study, really looking forward to see you, she says. Watch over each other.
No thanks. Javier is taciturn and boring, Mindy is dramatic and has a tendency to yell at things when her eight siblings are brought up. It’s not a great combination.
But things start to look a little different under the Paris lights, and what felt like hate feels a lot closer to love
Content Warnings: Sexually explicit content