MINI-REVIEWS (Yallfest 2019 Edition): Truly, Madly, Royally; How to Be Remy Cameron, & They Both Die at the End

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Title: How to Be Remy Cameron
Author: Julian Winters
Pages: 340
Release Date: September 10 2019
Publisher: Duet
Format: ebook
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+
Goodreads Rating:  4.01 (of 239 ratings)

representation: black MC, adopted MC, gay MC…[I’m sorry I know there was more but I totally am blanking because I would pop in and out of this book and it didn’t stick in my brain at all]
content warnings: homophobia…[possibly more but I didn’t read that far]

DNF @ 23%. It’s been a million years since I have had a DNF review on this blog, and if you’ve been a follower of BPR for a while, I think some clutching of chests and gasping are happening, because I was a self-proclaimed queen of DNFs. And none I barely do any??? I’ve try to commit myself to sticking through books, but honestly, I just couldn’t do this one. 

The issue with this book is that there’s really not an issue. It’s just there – and does nothing. I read more than 20% of the plot, and I literally can’t tell you what we did in that 20%. We wandered around a bit? Everything was just okay…literally just okay. It took me 23 days to get to 23%, and not only can’t I remember much of what I read, nothing was calling me back to read more. I saw that my library loan was going to expire, and my first thought wasn’t, “Oh no!” but more like, “Eh.” That’s when I knew that I needed to let it go.

snow whiteOverall, it did have a likeable and rootable protagonist, but the writing style bugged me and there was nothing that made me want to come back to read despite taking on social issues, which I wanted to see more of.  It could have gotten better, and it seemed like there was a great romance on the horizon along with self-discovery, but it had no oomph to make me see it through. A Snow White Rating!

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Title: Truly, Madly, Royally
Author: Debbie Rigaud
Pages: 289
Release Date: July 30th 2019
Publisher: Point
Format: Paperback
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads Rating:  3.46 (of 306 ratings)

representation: black MC, biracial romance
content warnings: mentions of racial discrimination (there were instances where it could have been, but it later turned out that the reasons were different)

This book is honestly made from fluff of the purest kind. It’s fluffy, adorable, and sweet. If you’re looking for a book that will have you living on a marshmallow cloud of cuteness and satisfy your craving for all the royal romance, this is the book for you. 

However, if you’re looking for much more than that, you’re not going to get much more. It’s cute, it’s fun, it’s a literal Hallmark movie (or what I would imagine one to be if I had ever watched one – I literally only watch the murdery melodramatic Lifetime ones – which this was not.) It’s got a few cringey feels, and it does certainly feel like a sweet lower YA read. It follows the romance cliches and tropes pretty strongly, and I was able to pick up on every plot point that would happen. It was still fun, though, and bringing the good cheese.

It does have some few differentiation from the usual cliches that did elevate it greatly including: a strong, independent MC that is so easy to root for, sweet, caring, and fierce when facing just about everything that comes her way (ugh, Zora was amazing and made this story everything); it tackles social and cultural issues head-on which you never see in a rom-com (amazing conversations on privilege in this story and more); and a love interest that doesn’t make excuses but learns from the mistakes made.

While I really enjoyed the above paragraph’s changes to the usual norm, the cliches and tropes were still super strong and I still don’t feel like I have a handle on who even Owen really is besides a princely dude who owns up to his mistakes. I liked the side characters, and I thought they were fun (especially especially the family dynamics), but they really were just side characters.

belleOverall, I think I actually talked this book up to being a higher rating in my mind. I was thinking Pocahontas at first, but it’s totally sitting at a super solid Belle rating in my head. It’s honestly just a pure fluff, and if you love royal stuff, this is your book!

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Title: They Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
Pages: 373
Release Date: September 5 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: audiobook
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Science Fiction (I think??)
Goodreads Rating:  4.14 (of 61, 446 ratings)

representation: bisexual MC, Latinx MCs, black side characters, 
content warnings: death, death of principle characters, violence, foster care/death of parents,

Previously on Book Princess Reviews…I personally did not experience any great revelation or feel anything powerful with this book. I read it and then I finished it (and it smelled good the whole time, thanks). But I’m able to step back and be like, “Okay, but you’re maybe just an emotionless black hole so assess those priorities.” [Read the full review here.]

This was…well, it wasn’t what I expected nor desired. I wanted to be a bowl of feels, but it ended up leaving me feeling, well, nothing.

I think the biggest issue I had with this book is I literally could put it down and never come back to it. I mean, I literally knew the gist of what was going to happen at the end, so I mean, where is the motivation other than to see how and give myself a good emotional cry?? But this book honestly wandered. I mean, our characters literally wandered for like the entirety of the novel doing their things, but it felt like the books were wandering as well. At times, I literally considered dropping the book entirely, but I felt it was that easy to walk away from it

The plot was interesting, and the concept was wholly unique and intriguing. However, I still felt like it needed to be developed, and maybe done something more with it? Like, it’s a truly fascinating plot, so it could have more going for it instead of just our MCs walking around. Speaking of characters, I mean…they were just okay? Since this story is so focused on them, I expected it to be super invested in them and feel all the feels, but I felt…I felt distant from them. Perhaps because of the slower pacing? There was still some relatable moments, but I wasn’t nearly as connected as I desired.

cinderellaOverall, this book didn’t give me all the feels that I wanted, and it was just kind of there. I was wholly impressed with the concept, and it was committed enough to finish it. I did get a bit emotional at the end, so it did get better by the end. It just was pretty okay. A Cinderella rating!

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What do you think? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

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10 thoughts on “MINI-REVIEWS (Yallfest 2019 Edition): Truly, Madly, Royally; How to Be Remy Cameron, & They Both Die at the End

  1. I loved the character of Remy and I was all about the messaging. The caveat of over labeling. Truly Madly Royally was super cute. Zora was fantastic and really what made me enjoy this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s so unfortunate about the DNF! I just had to DNF Dracula … though it pained me to do so. I might borrow “Truly, Madly, Royally” from the library. I think it’s cute sounding but i don’t think i want to buy it if that makes sense? Great reviews! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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