2016 End of Year Book Survey

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This survey is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner and is always so much better than the end of year posts I try to make up for myself. Though I originally wanted to not use the same book for more than one or two answers, I decided just to go with the most honest answer, despite how many recurrences. Fair warning: this survey could also be called The Red Rising Survey.

Number Of Books You Read: 136 (as of 12/26/16)
Number of Re-Reads: 19
Genre You Read The Most From: Contemporary

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1. Best Book You Read In 2016?

I gave five books 4.5 Stars and while I could narrow it down to maybe my top 2 or 3, I think I’ll just name the 5 – in order I read them.

1. Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown

2. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

3. This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

4. Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

5. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, et al.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

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The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh. I really enjoyed The Wrath and the Dawn, but the conclusion to the series just really underwhelmed me.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?  

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I thought it would be really light and cutesy and was definitely surprised by the great character development and the major ups and downs they went through. It was a good surprise.

 4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Red Rising by Pierce Brown. While it could have *possibly* been because I read it the month before the final book came out, I’m totally taking credit for at least a couple people I know reading and loving it after I read/loved/hyped/talked endlessly about it. 🙂

 5. Best series you started in 2016? Best Sequel of 2016? Best Series Ender of 2016?

Ok, we all know the answer to this one. SorryNotSorry

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Started: Red Rising

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Sequel: Golden Son

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Ender: Morning Star

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2016?

Pierce Brown, obviously.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

I’m a broken record and I know it. But I don’t really read sci-fi and the Red Rising trilogy is amazing.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Golden Son. The pace was so, so fast and there were so many surprises!

 9. Book You Read In 2016 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. Such a cute, quick read.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016?

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This Adventure Ends

11. Most memorable character of 2016?

Kaz Brekker will always be one of my all-time favorite characters. I loved him just as much in Crooked Kingdom as I did in Six of Crows.

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2016?

There isn’t really a book that stands out for this one. Though I think I described Pierce Brown’s writing as both beautiful and brutal in one of my reviews.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016?

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. Though I haven’t been officially diagnosed, after reading this I am pretty positive I am OCD. I understand so many things about my life now that never made sense before. Mental Health Awareness, guys. It’s important!

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? 

Red Rising, yet again

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2016?

I’m awful at these questions. I don’t have one.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016?

Shortest: The Crown & The Arrow by Renee Ahdieh – 9 pages

Longest: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare – 698 pages

 17. Book That Shocked You The Most

Golden Son. It had so, so many little twists and turns. I think the reason it was my favorite of the series is because it just continually surprised me when not many books can these days.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

(OTP = one true pairing if you aren’t familiar)

Lucy and Josh from The Hating Game.

Kaz and Inej from Crooked Kingdom

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Sloane and her friends from This Adventure Ends (though there is one romantic part to that, it focuses more on the friendship)

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

21. Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

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I had zero interest in My Lady Jane but all the hype made me read it and I LOVED it. I rarely agree with hype, but I really thought this one deserved it.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?

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Garret Graham from The Deal. Even though he’s the kind of guy I usually hate in books – and in life.

23. Best 2016 debut you read?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Red Rising

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

My Lady Jane! So funny!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016?

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The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner made me ugly cry at a few parts.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

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I discovered Beth Kendrick’s Black Dog Bay series this year and it’s one of my favorite chick lit series ever.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

I’m going to go with The Serpent King again.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2016?

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Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy’s behavior absolutely INFURIATED me.

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1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2016?

I love you all!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2016?

I am usually very disappointed with how my reviews come out, but it always makes my day when someone says they want to read the book based on my review. So the most recent review where that happened is for My Lady Jane.

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

The Elusive 5 Star Rating and Backing Myself into a Corner. I talked about my very strict rating system and how I’ve loosened up slightly from when I first started. But through the comments I also learned a lot about other reviewer’s rating criteria and as a result I am far less angry when I see 5 star reviews for books that I don’t think deserve it.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I went to 3 author events this year and they were all great (Linda Castillo, Leigh Bardugo and Marissa Meyer)! I also got to finally meet my long-time-online-book-world-friend, Amanda!

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5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2016?

Hmmm, I’m not really sure. I would probably go with getting my Six of Crows duology signed and meeting Leigh Bardugo (as stated above).

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

There seemed to be frequent reading slumps where NOTHING sounded good. Though I was often disappointed with the number of posts I had done at the end of most months, I am happy that I didn’t pressure myself to do posts I didn’t care about just to fill the days.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

By views since I don’t know how to look it up by comments: Review: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) is the most viewed post of the year. The most viewed post that I actually wrote this year was my 3 Year Blogaversary Giveaway.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Any reviews, really. Even though I’m sure it reads like I just throw them together, reviews take me so long to write so when some of them – especially on books I really loved – get really low views, it’s sad.

9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

Book Outlet! Though I wish they had more of the books that I was looking for, I got most of my Christmas book shopping done during their Black Friday sale. It’s definitely a site I will be re-visiting.

10.  Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

The only challenge/goal I do is on Good Reads. I had reasons to go really conservative at 75 books, but as of 12/26/16 I’ve read 136 books (181% of my goal).

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1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2016 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2017?

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I’m not sure if it will be the first book I read, but I really need to read Twisted Palace by Erin Watt!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2017 (non-debut)?

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Iron Gold by Pierce Brown

3. 2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?

I can’t really think of anything. I always seem to be the last to find out about good debuts.

 4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2017?

There are a couple sequels I can think of, but neither are ones I’m super interested in.

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017?

Go to more author events!

6. A 2017 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone:

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The Young Wives Club and Still Life are my two favorite 2017 releases I’ve read so far.

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Birthstone as Books Book Tag

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I saw this tag over at Bookish Things and Tea and thought it looked like a fun one. Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like.

GARNET (JANUARY)- Associated with warding off negative forces and dark energies, name a book with the darkest/evilest character you can think of.

Most of the books I think of are YA fantasy/paranormal books, but the villains almost always have some type of redeeming quality/tragic backstory that makes us feel sorry for them. I can’t think of one that’s just straight up evil. So instead I’m going to go with adult mystery and go with about any killer/bad guy in a Karin Slaughter book. Her books usually have some really dark material and the things the bad guy does often makes me sick to my stomach.

AMETHYST (FEBRUARY)- Purple is associated with royalty, name a book with regal qualities…You can base your choice on characters or choose the king (or queen) of all books.

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I think I’ll take this one literally and go with The Royal We.

AQUAMARINE (MARCH)- Washed out, name a ‘wishy washy’ character, a character who is not strong or is a follower.

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Shay from An Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter. When it came to the relationship with Travis she is always one step forward, three steps back. It drove me crazy.

DIAMOND (APRIL)- A diamond in the rough, name a book that you loved but is not well known.

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I’m going to go with the whole Anna Curtis series by Allison Leotta. I do not see nearly enough of her and she is amazing!

EMERALD (MAY)- Said to balance energy, name two characters who balance each other well.

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I’m going to go with McKenzie’s answer and go with Shazi and Khalid from The Wrath and the Dawn series. The strongest thing for me in the series was their relationship and I felt like they’re one of the few YA couples that really are a pretty evenly matched team.

PEARL (JUNE)- Associated with loyalty, name a character who is loyal to the end.

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Kai from The Lunar Chronicles. Even when things looked really bad for Cinder, he was always trying to look out for her.

RUBY (JULY)- Blood red, name a book that made your blood boil, one that made you angry.

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The Goodbye Bride by Denise Hunter. Lucy was selfish and hypocritical and it took until the very end of the book for her to admit to any blame whatsoever.

PERIDOT (AUGUST)- It pales in comparison to other gems, name a supporting character who you like better than the main character.

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Bianca and Leo from The Art of Lainey. I would have much rather read a book about them than about Lainey and Micah.

SAPPHIRE (SEPTEMBER)- Blue like the ocean which is calming, name a book that had a calming affect on you.

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P.S. I Like You by Kasie West. Her books just make me so happy,

OPAL (OCTOBER)- Iridescent, name an iridescent book; this can be with a beautiful cover (shiny, colorful) or you can base it off a character (quirky? unique?).

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This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills. I will never stop hyping this book.

TOPAZ (NOVEMBER)- Associated with resilience, name a book with a character who rises to the top in a time of adversity.

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Emma from One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid. She has so much to deal with and she works her way through it.

BLUE ZIRCON (DECEMBER)- Associated with friendship, name a book with a friendship you want to be a part of.

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The crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I want to pull off a heist with these guys.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to See as TV Shows

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Welcome to my first Top 5 Wednesday! You can find more info about it over at their Good Reads page. This week’s topic combines two of my favorite things: Books you want to see as TV shows. I have done this topic once before for a Top Ten Tuesday, so I’m going to try to come up with all new answers.

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1. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. This book spans several years, has lots of characters, and a great central romance to root for that goes through lots of up and downs.

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2. Curse Workers by Holly Black. I could totally see this on the CW.

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3. You by Caroline Kepnes. I could see this as a Dexter-ish series with anti-hero Joe.

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4. Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Yes, we are (eventually) getting a movie, but there’s definitely enough story there for a tv series.

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5. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Action, humor, romance, magic. What more can you ask for?

What books would you like to see as tv shows?

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

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I saw Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse do this tag and thought it seemed better than the mid-year post I was thinking about doing, so I decided to tag myself for it.

Best Book You’ve Read Yet in 2016.

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Golden Son (Red Rising #2) by Pierce Brown.

I think the 2nd book in this series is my favorite because it’s here that it separates itself from The Hunger Games comparisons, it’s action-packed (which I normally am not a huge fan of, but LOVED it here), had a billion surprises and twists throughout, and also really brought the emotion. This book is probably the closest I’ve ever gotten to rating a book 5 stars on my blog.

Best Sequel You’ve Read So Far in 2016.

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Red Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black.

Ok, so obviously Golden Son would be this answer, too, since it’s a sequel and it’s my favorite…but Red Glove was also an exceptional sequel. I thought it was much better than the first book and I really enjoyed it.

New Release You Haven’t Read Yet But Want To.

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The Power (Titan #2) by Jennifer L Armentrout (published 2/23/16)

Seth is one of my favorite JLA characters and I was really looking forward to this…but I just haven’t gotten to it yet. I’ve been waiting for it to come to the library, but it hasn’t yet.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year.

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Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows was one of my top three books of 2015 and I’m soooo excited fort the sequel. I love the characters so much and can’t wait to see what happens. You can read a sneak peak of it here!

Biggest Disappointment.

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Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

After completely falling in love with Brennan’s Lynburn Legacy series, I was so looking forward to reading more from her, but I found myself pretty disappointed with this book. The quick-witted humor and banter that I had come to expect from Brennan was missing. Perhaps I would have liked this better if I had read A Tale of Two Cities?

Biggest Surprise.

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

Despite having this on my TBR for a long time, I wasn’t really expecting anything from it, but I really, really enjoyed it! While it does have some cheesy moments, it had excellent character development and a whole lot more emotional depth than I was expecting.

Favorite New Author.

Pierce Brown

I am completely blown away by Pierce Brown’s writing. Despite not really being a fan of sci-fi or action, his Red Rising series has become one of my favorite series of all time. I will read anything this man ever writes. And you should, too.

Newest Fictional Crush.

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Somebody Nobody (and his real life self) in Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

I won’t tell you the character’s actual name because it’s a spoiler (even though you can probably guess who it is within the first couple chapters), but I love his quick wit and his vulnerability, and that he’s always there for Jessie (even if he’s not physically there for much of it)

Newest Favorite Character.

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Cassel from the Curse Workers series.

He’s smart, funny, and so sarcastic. He’s just a fun, cool character to read about.

Book That Made You Cry.

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Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

I don’t think the average person will cry at this, but I identified SO MUCH with the main character and so many of her struggles. I honestly think I have some undiagnosed OCD, which just makes so much more sense of my life.

Book That Made You Happy.

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Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnik

This is a super cute Pride and Prejudice re-telling. Nothing spectacular, but it was fun to read.

Favorite Book to Film Adaptation.

The only ones I can think of that I’ve watched this year are Mockingjay Part 2, which was my least favorite one in the series, unfortunately, and The Convenient Groom (on Hallmark) which was so different than the book that I had a hard time enjoying it.

Favorite Post You Have Done This Year.

This year has not been a great blogging year for me so far, but I have managed a couple of original posts

Love Stinks: Toxic and Unbearable Relationships in Fiction

This Book is Making me Nervous – Novels that Feature Characters with Anxiety Disorder

Most Beautiful Book You’ve Bought This Year.

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Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown

Because I’m using the purchase of books as weight loss rewards, I’ve only bought a handful so far this year and this has been the best (both the cover and what’s on the inside)

What Books Do You Need to Read by the End of the Year.

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Among the Wicked (Kate Burkholder #8) by Linda Castillo

The Kept Woman (Will Trent #8) by Karin Slaughter

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Feel free to tag yourself if you’d like to participate

Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

American Bex Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister Lacey was always the romantic, the one who daydreamed of being a princess, but it’s adventure-seeking Bex who goes to Oxford and meets dreamy Nick across the hall-and Bex who finds herself accidentally in love with the heir to the British throne. Nick is wonderful, but he comes with unimaginable baggage: a complicated family, hysterical tabloids tracking his every move, and a public that expected its future king to marry a Brit. On the eve of the most talked-about wedding of the century, Bex looks back on how much she’s had to give up for true love… and exactly whose heart she may yet have to break.

I was not one of those people obsessed with the Royal Wedding several years ago. When my roommate at the time asked me if I was going to get up early to watch it (like apparently all his co-workers were doing), I told him I wasn’t interested in seeing yet another person get married before me. So even though I wasn’t obsessed, I also don’t live under a rock. I know enough about Prince William and Kate to know that The Royal We is very heavily inspired by them (a lot of people even call it Kate Middleton fanfiction). And it doesn’t bother me one bit. This book is not perfect – it’s overly long, often cheesy, filled with clichés, but I quite thoroughly enjoyed every page of it!

I expected a really cutesy romance – we would see Nick and Bex fall in love, have some chuckle-worthy struggles planning the wedding, and live happily ever after. And while we get all that, there is so much more going on in this book. It spans eight years and many, many ups and downs. There is so much more emotion and character development than I expected and I was so pleasantly surprised by it.

The romance was cute, but also seemed pretty real and relatable (which is saying something since one half of this relationship is the heir to the British throne and is basically a fairytale). While I wasn’t completely thrilled with how they got together, I did really root for them and was happy when they finally became a couple. But it wasn’t a “Ring by Spring” relationship where they get married straight out of college. I really liked that we got to see them after college – for several years. It really shows how relationships can change as you grow up and how different kinds of problems can arise. They had a lot of ups and downs before finally getting it right, but I thought the ending was so much more satisfying after watching them work so hard for it – even though I did often want to bash Nick in the head throughout a good portion of the book.

In addition to the romance, there is a big family element to the story. I loved Bex’s relationship with her parents – especially her father. They are always there for her and support her and give her the tough love when she needs it. Conversley, Nick’s relationship with his parents is pretty awful. His mother is heartbreakingly absent and his father is a royal douche. Also playing large parts in the story are Bex’s twin sister, Lacey, and Nick’s younger brother, Freddie. I pretty much hated Lacey. Her behavior was so jealous and petty and desperate and she just never seemed to learn her lesson. While she did redeem herself by the end, it was too little, too late for me to like her. I loved Freddie, though! He’s your typical “spare” in these type of stories, lives life like it’s a big party because no one expects anything from him and while his behavior did often annoy me, he really grew on me. He’s funny and he’s a great friend and brother. The copy of the book I read had a bonus chapter at the end from his POV and it just made me love him more. My poor little heart could hardly handle it. I would totally read a Freddie spin-off book.

I also really enjoyed Bex and Nick’s group of friends. They were BFFs in college and stayed friends afterwards. They were such a diverse group of characters and I really felt like I got to know them. They provided a lot of laughs and instigated some drama, but also each had their own storyline – apart from how they played into the central romance plot. While they probably wouldn’t be people I would hang out with in real life, I really enjoyed spending time with them inside the pages.

Overall, I really did love The Royal We. I don’t think everyone will, though. It’s long and it often felt too long (there were parts I felt like doing a good deal of skimming), but since the characters were so well developed I enjoyed just spending time with them and seeing what happened. I liked the romance and the characters and even the royal family aspects of the story. It was a fun, addictive read and it’s one I know I will be re-reading again.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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