I received a copy from Penguin’s First To Read
This book was like a giant rom-com cliché. The alternate history for the Royal family was eye rolling and cringe worthy. That being said once you over look those things, it was actually a very entertaining read. Irritating as hell, but fun.
(Especially like me if you have a guilty pleasure for Royal gossip)
In this alternate world there is a Scottish Royal Family, and the heroine Daisy’s sister Ellie has fallen in love with Prince Alexander, heir to the throne. They are getting married. Daisy lives in Florida with her mom and her ex British rock star dad. She lives a pretty normal life. She has a part time job at a local convenience store and is looking forward to a planned trip to Key West with her BFF Isabel where they will go to a convention to meet their favourite fantasy author and get their books signed. All pretty normal.
But all this is thrown out of whack when Ellie announces she’s marrying the prince and the Royal family have invited the whole family to Scotland for a few weeks for the summer to get a taste of what’s coming.
Every other chapter is a page from a magazine or a gossip blog/tabloid.
Daisy is fuming but agrees on the basis that the Royal assistant Glynnis who has come with Ellie and Alex can arrange for a singing at a book shop near where they are staying and bring Isabel along later.
So off to Scotland they go given a Royal treatment – first class flights, fancy cars, the fanciest hotels. To add to the chaos, Alex’s younger brother, charming, Sebastian (who is Daisy’s age, 17) the most eligible teen in Scotland is there as well with his group of fancy friends. Sebastian is an ass, crude, full of himself and flirts with everything in a skirt. Daisy finds herself getting into a snit with his best friend Miles when a drunken Sebastian decides to head into her room.
The dialogue is sharp and witty and as soon as Miles and Daisy start snarking with each other it’s completely predictable as to what’s going to happen. Daisy has to go to several royal events and dress the part (something she’s not happy about) and of course things go eye rollingly wrong (including a rather amusing incident where she finds herself getting looked down on by some of the posh women and does a delightful job of holding her own and insulting them right back).
It’s cheesy as hell. However, at the time, I did find myself reading this with a grin on my face most of the time. Daisy is struggling to cope with major culture shock, even when her best friend finally arrives (Isabel’s huge crush on Sebastian not helping) Daisy finds herself unwittingly creating a scandal that catches the eye of the disapproving Queen. And Miles to the rescue.
Which leads to a fake dating plot.
As a lead character Daisy was immensely likeable, easy to understand where she’s coming from. Easy to follow her story as she moves between the very different world and gets to know the real people behind the tabloid gossip and learns maybe Miles isn’t the stuck up ass he pretends to be. They have some quite interesting conversations about their differences.
The end is absolutely gag worthy. But kind of works.
Not the most brilliant book I have ever read, but certainly an entertaining one.
So, there is a swimming hole know as "the drowning pool." In the 1600s, teenage girls and women accused of witchcraft were drowned there. Since then, it's been a place of a string of other mysterious deaths--suicides, murders, undetermined. The most recent woman to be found dead in the pool is Nel Abbott, who had been working on a manuscript about the women and girls who had died in it over the years, and this on the tail of 15-year-old Katie Whittaker's suicide. These deaths are one-two punch for Lena Abbott, Nel's daughter and Katie's best friend. And suddenly Jules, Nel's estranged sister and Katie's last remaining family member, arrives to look after the niece she has never known.
This book ended up leaving me kind of cold. It is told from the multiple perspectives of a large cast, some narrated in first person, while others are in a more detached third. The "Jules" sections are often dominated by Jules addressing as "you" her dead sister. Not my favorite device. Also interspersed are several excerpts from Nel's manuscript, The Drowning Pool. Although I mostly listened to the audio version, I quickly picked up the hardcover, when I realized that early on I was fairly lost as to who the characters were. Reading the early chapters in print helped pull everything into place, but even once I was used to the cast, I sometimes found myself needing to think a moment to remember who some of the characters were and how they were connected to other characters.
I did find myself interested in following through to the resolution, but I didn't find the resolution satisfying.
So, this book had been sitting at the bottom of my TBR for just about forever. I'm rather ashamed to say that I actually received a galley of this way, WAY back when I started blogging and then it just never made it to the top of the list. I even own a paperback copy of this now, and I still ignored it. It wasn't until Hex Hall popped up on my audio book recommendations at the library that I really paid attention. Which is silly! Because I loved the Rebel Belle series by Hawkins. Still, I'm a little glad I waited. The audio was great, and this was just what I needed to listen to at the time. I had a ton of fun!
First off, I can't exactly say that Sophie Mercer's story is light. There are definitely sinister things happening at her school, and terrible fates do definitely befall some of her fellow classmates. However, I think what kept this buoyant was the fact that Sophie is just so easy to fall in love with. She's sweet, sassy, and pretty much the type of teen girl that I'd love to be friends with. Despite her situation, and the funk that it threatens to push her into, she keeps looking for the good. In other words, Sophie was real. Not overly sad, not overly excitable, just a Prodigium who really wanted to fit in and have a good school experience.
Even the "mean girls" in this book weren't over the top, which was nice. I know we all love to hate a good mean girl character, and Sophie's bullies aren't any exception to that rule. However it was nice to see that they also had some substance to them as well. I can safely say, without risk of spoilers, that I finally came to care about these girls in the end. It says a lot that I not only powered through this audio in a matter of days, but that I'm also eagerly waiting for the next book to hit my library app. I need to find out what happens next.
For keeping me smiling, and guessing, this book gets a big four stars from me. I needed something in the YA genre that wasn't full of swoon-worthy, brooding boys and this was just perfect. Highly recommended.