Review: Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #2)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free as part of a blog tour.

First off, I loved the first book in the series, Tokyo Ever After. It was one of my favorite books of 2021 which made me very excited to read the sequel. I still think that the first book was a tiny bit better, but for the most part I found the sequel to be a worthy successor. 

This book picks right up where the last book left off and from there continues Izumi’s story. It does not miss a beat and gets right into the drama of royal life. Like the first book, the writing style is easy and a breeze to read. 

I loved the character development, especially the development of Akiko and Noriko (aka the Shining Twins). I enjoyed seeing them get more of a spotlight and how dimensional they became. They could have easily stayed the villains, but instead got more depth. 

I also liked how the book explored growing up and maturing. The story explores Izumi’s post-high school life and contrasts it with her friends. The juxtaposition highlighted Izumi’s coming of age journey well. 

There was a love triangle, which I didn’t think was necessary. The book would have still worked without it. 

Overall, this was a sweet sequel and I hope Izumi’s story continues! 


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Review: Tokyo Ever After

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Flatiroin exchange for an honest review.

This was such a cute read! 

The premise is everything. A Japanese American girl discovering she is a princess? Yes please! As a whole, I thought the premise was well executed. There was a good balance between the humorous adjusting to royal parts and the more serious discovering who she is parts.   

I really liked that the book included a family tree with a brief description of everyone in the family. It made the book so easy to follow. 

Character-wise, I loved Izumi’s all Asian friend group (nicknamed Asian Girl Gang, or AGG for short). It was so nice seeing a female lead with a large friend group to support her. Also, one of her friends was half-Filipino just like me. I always love seeing Filipino representation in books, even if it’s just a small side character. 

I also enjoyed the writing style. It was engaging and flowed well. 

The Own Voices aspect was also really strong, especially in regards to feeling like a foreigner. The book highlighted how visiting Japan while being Japanese American feels strange since she’s not “Japanese” enough. That is so true. Being American is an added layer of identity and affects how others perceive you. I’m Filipino American and there is a difference in how people in the Philippines view you if you’re American born versus Philippines born. 

However, the book is on the predictable side. If you’re familiar with the lost royalty trope or have seen The Princess Diaries movies, then a lot of the plot points are nothing new. 

Additionally, the romance in this book is a little insta-lovey. I felt like the book didn’t even need a romance sub-plot; it was already strong on its own. 

Overall, I throughly enjoyed this Own Voices take on lost royalty! I recommend it if you love stories about royal families. 


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Review: The Dead Queens Club

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Inkyard Press) in exchange for an honest review. 

Initially, I was super excited to read this book. The Tudors meets Mean Girls? Yes please! However, this book ended up being pretty messy. 

My main issue is that the book is way too long. The book is about 450 pages and could have easily been just over 300. The whole first half is is slow and confusing. The book starts off at girlfriend number 5 and then kind of goes back and forth into the backstory. And there was so much backstory. It could have been summarized significantly and in a more chronological manner. Part of the issue was that the backstory jumped around a lot so it was sometimes hard to get a bearing as to what point in time it was.

Once the book got to girlfriend number 6 (about halfway through), it picked up. It was so much more exciting and The Dead Queens Club finally came into fruition. The book was enjoyable from the halfway point onwards. 

There were some things I did like. The premise was genius. Taking Henry and his 6 wives and setting it in a high school was so appropriate. I liked how Henry and the wives were all translated. I also liked the themes the book handled like slut shaming for example. 

Overall, this book could have been really amazing had it been edited more for clarity and length. 

Review: Princesses Behaving Badly

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Rating: ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books). 

This was such a fascinating read. It contains mini-biographies of different real life royals (princesses, empresses, sultanas etc.) from around the globe, and throughout history. Some of the princesses are well heard of, but most are relatively unknown. 

I really liked how the book showed how complex and flawed these women were. They’re not necessarily depicted as being “good” or “bad”, just human. The context of their worlds were also given, which helped you understand their actions better. It also showed how being a princess was not as glamorous as one may think. 

Another thing I liked was how the book tried to separate fact from fiction. Historiography is complicated, especially when it comes to telling women’s stories. Women are vilified so much more easily and quickly than men. I appreciated how the author explained what was probably true and what was a myth. 

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However, the one thing that I didn’t agree with was the author’s view on Disney princesses (it was a negative one). It was only briefly mentioned in the introduction so it wasn’t a huge deal to me.

The biographies themselves were all very entertaining. The most interesting aspects of their lives were highlighted. 

Overall, this is a fun read for princess lovers. 

 

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Review: First Came Forever (The Angelheart Saga #1)

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

So this book was a total roller coaster. 

It took me a while to really get into the story. The beginning was a little boring but once Erica got to United States the story got so much more interesting. 

This book has a love triangle which I typically don’t like but in this it worked well. Usually I find love triangles to be unnecessary but the one in this book actually made sense and felt real and natural. 

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I loved the supporting characters, especially Danny and Ricky. They’re precious. I loved Danny’s dorkiness and Ricky’s gay storyline. 

The ending of the book was crazy and ended on quite the cliffhanger. It was not what I was initially expecting to happen when I first started reading the book, but I loved it. I can’t wait for the sequel because I really have no idea how it will all play out. I just know that drama will be going down. Lots of it. 

Aside from the slow beginning, my only other issue was the few typos I spotted. They weren’t anything major; they just managed to get overlooked during editing. 

Overall, this was a fun romantic read with a ton of twists and turns at the end. 

Review: Elizabeth I (The Royal Diaries)

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Rating: ★★★★

This was a reread for me. I believe I originally read this book sometime during middle school and I remembered that I really liked it. I read a bunch of the Dear America and Royal Diaries books but I would always get them from my school library. Now I’m going to try to buy the ones I liked so I can relive my childhood.

Reading this now as an adult is such a different experience, but I still enjoyed it.

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The author did an amazing job imagining what a young Elizabeth I would be like. There was a nice blend of innocence and tragedy to her character.

I also really liked the little tidbits about life at court, like how often they took baths (spoiler alert: it’s not very often).

Overall, this is a great middle grade book for kids who want to learn more about Elizabeth I.

Have you read any of the books in this series? Which is your favorite? 

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