Monday, September 28, 2015

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

One review I read called The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan "pure Kate Middleton fanfiction" and I totally agree, but why not? Kate is a modern-day fairy tale, at least as we know the story. The Royal We follows Rebecca (Bex) Porter as she spends a semester abroad at Oxford and happens to meet Prince Nicholas (Nick). She becomes fast friends with the prince and his close knit group of friends. As their relationship develops into something more, Bex must face that the Nick she knows has a side to him that comes with huge responsibilities and complications. With the press constantly on alert, Nick's father pushing for more appropriate young ladies and trying to keep everyone happy at once, Nick and Bex hit more than a few speed bumps.

This was a fun, engaging read, but I just hate it when a good book is ruined by a bad ending. It seemed to be going so well until an unnecessary plot twist throws a wrench into everything and then is somehow wrapped up nicely at the end. Except that it wasn't. The ending stopped short of an actual conclusion. Perhaps the authors intend to write a sequel or perhaps they just meant to leave it open to reader interpretation. It really only needed an epilogue, but this reader was out of luck.

There were so many moments in this book where I laughed right out loud or had to go back and reread because it was such a great section. The characters are mostly likable, expect for those we are meant to dislike. I am well aware that my opinion of this book may be skewed by my irrational need for a fully written happily ever after, so you may feel completely differently than I do. If you're in the mood for a silly, fun reimagining of the romance of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, definitely give this one a look. And feel free to tell me how wrong I am, if you so choose.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

The wonderful characters from The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion are back in this fun sequel. 

**Of course, this being a sequel, there are bound to be spoilers in this review to the first book. Please proceed with caution.**


The Rosie Effect follows Professor Don Tillman and Rosie as they move to New York and begin their first year as husband and wife. Huge changes are ahead for the couple and just looking at the book cover should give you some clue about how enormous these changes will be. The first year of marriage is challenging to most people, but Don and Rosie have a few extra challenges that are unique to them, namely Don and Rosie. Though Rosie can give the impression that she is the "normal" one, she has just as much difficulty communicating as he does. While she is finishing her psychology doctorate dissertation, she is also beginning medical school. Why anyone would embark upon both of these things at the same time is beyond me, but combining those two things with moving to the other side of the world, settling into  marriage and the new event in her life makes things stressful and difficult. Don tries so hard to understand how to care for her and make her happy, but as we know from the first book, Don isn't very well equipped. He does his best to seek the advice of friends and professionals, but that doesn't always work out in his favor.

This book was just as much fun as The Rosie Project, even if I did find it a bit more frustrating. Every time Don would take bad advice or would misinterpret an important piece of information, I would get a little irritated. Having read that first book, however, helped me hang on and wait for the conclusion. I still adore Don. He's weird and if I met him in person, I might be a little creeped-out, but hearing his thought process makes him endearing. Saying things like this make me laugh:

She put her arms around me and kissed me in passionate mode rather than greetings mode.

His mind just works differently than most people's minds do. Except that this sounded a little familiar:

My love for Rosie was so powerful that it had caused my brain to make a grammatical error.

And the reader cannot help but feel sympathetic when reading the conversation that he has with Gene's young daughter Eugenie:

"You're probably not a genius. Excellent."
This of course confused Eugenie, but then he goes on to explain that being smart is good, but that being a genius can make life difficult. Being smart is just easier. He then hints about some of the difficulties he had growing up a genius and how he doesn't really want the same thing for his young friend.  

These characters are lovely. I have no idea if Simsion will write another Don Tillman book, but I'd love to see the next phase in his life. I have been thrilled to read that a movie based on The Rosie Project is in pre-production, especially since Jennifer Lawrence is attached. If you haven't read these books yet, I hope I haven't spoiled them for you and that you'll give them a read. Let me know what you think!