Review: Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Rating: 5 stars
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
Format/Source: eARC, Edelweiss & audio, purchased
Status: standalone (for now)

A big-hearted romantic comedy in which the First Son falls in love with the Prince 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?

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. This does not affect the content of my review.

Novella Review: Bridal Boot Camp by Meg Cabot

Rating: 3.5 stars
Pub Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: adult romantic comedy
Format/Source: eARC, Edelweiss
Status: novella, book #0.5 of the Little Bridge Island series
Summary: Physical trainer Roberta “Rob” James moved to Little Bridge thinking she’d found paradise, but things haven’t turned out quite as she’d hoped.
The closest Rob has come to her “happily ever after” is happy hour at the Mermaid Café with her buddy Bree, the bartender slash waitress who’s got romance problems of her own.
But Rob’s situation suddenly changes when sheriff’s deputy Ryan Martinez accidentally enrolls in her bridal boot camp class. Turning mush into metal in time for the big day is Rob’s passion (because even the happiest bride could use a little toning).
But what happens when a guy who’s all mush meets a girl who’s all metal?
They discover they have a lot to learn . . . about each other, themselves, and the island paradise they’ve come to call home.
Bridal Boot Camp is the first look into Meg's new Little Bridge Island series, which I'm really excited about! I've been needing some more adult romance from Meg since I frequently reread her Boy series and last year I reread the entire Heather Wells series. Her books are a shot of fluff that I always appreciate, and Bridal Boot Camp isn't any different.

I think Rob and Ryan have really really great chemistry, and I loved seeing them overcome some initial not-quite-right first impressions to get to the good stuff (ie kissing). However, I'm going to give Bridal Boot Camp 3.5 stars because it was SO SHORT. I don't mind novellas, but I like them more in the 80-120 page range. Bridal Boot Camp is only 51 pages, and that really wasn't enough time to get a good arc with Rob and Ryan. We only get four chapters, and while they're good, fun chapters, full of that classic Meg Cabot banter and charm, this didn't feel like a fully fleshed out story.

And although I thought it introduced the world of Little Bridge Island decently, I prefer for companions (whether novellas or full-length novels) to be at least a little more connected. The summary mentions Bree (who is the mc of the first full Little Bridge Island book No Judgments) and Rob being friends, but really, Rob is just Bree's one-a-week trainer, and Bree is the "sad-eyed" waitress Rob sometimes sees at the Mermaid Cafe. I've also just finished reading No Judgments, which I really enjoyed (review coming closer to its pub date in September!), but Rob was not even mentioned by name in it. Ryan is in exactly one scene, and only refers to Rob as his girlfriend.

I never miss an opportunity for more content in a good series so I love novellas, I just think this one was not quite meaty enough to be a must-read. But if you're a die-hard Cabot-fan like me, or if you read No Judgments and want more Little Bridge goodness, Bridal Boot Camp will whet your appetite while you await the next book in the series.

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About the Author:
Meg Cabot was born in Bloomington, Indiana during the Chinese astrological year of the Fire Horse, a notoriously unlucky sign, but learned at an early age that a good storyteller can always give herself a happy ending.  Her 80+ books for both adults and tweens/teens have included multiple #1 New York Times bestsellers, selling over twenty-five million copies worldwide. Her Princess Diaries series has been published in more than 38 countries and was made into two hit films by Disney. Meg’s numerous other award-winning books include the Mediator series, the Heather Wells mystery series, and Avalon High, the latter of which was made into a film for Disney Channel. Meg Cabot (her last name rhymes with habit, as in “her books can be habit forming”) currently lives in Key West with her husband and various cats.

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