ARC Reviews: Her Royal Highness and Don’t Date Rosa Santos

Posted April 22, 2019 / Book Reviews / 2 Comments

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC Reviews: Her Royal Highness and Don’t Date Rosa SantosHer Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins
Series: Royals #2
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Penguin on May 7, 2019
Also by this author: Rebel Belle, Miss Mayhem, Lady Renegades, Royals, The Wife Upstairs, Reckless Girls, The Villa, The Heiress
Format: ARC (304 pages) • Source: Borrowed
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Regal romance abounds in this flirty, laugh-out-loud companion novel Royals, by New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins.

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can't believe her luck when she's accepted into one of the world's most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille's roommate Flora is a total princess.

She's also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other--Flora is both high-class and high-key--but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn't a fairy tale . . . or is it?

This second book in Rachel Hawkins' fun, flirty Royals series brings a proud perspective to a classic romance.

I enjoyed the first book in this series. I think it’s because, despite my overall grumpiness about all things royal, the main character matched those sentiments. I was able to relate to Daisy and get accustomed to this kind of royal-meets-normie tale. I became excited for the f/f companion novel, even though this one directly involves an actual princess, and hopped to it right away.

This ended up being super shippy and mostly wonderful. Flora and Millie were an excellent pair. I loved the kind of hate-to-love situation that developed, with Flora being Flora aka not the nicest person on earth? Millie was cute with her love for her dad, love for geology, and general love for Scotland without ever going there. As usual, I would have loved even more family feels, but she had a really nice backstory. This ship sailed its way into my heart for sure.

My main issue is how abrupt the ending was. In general, the whole second half-ish of the book was a bit rushed? I could have done with like 50 more pages interspersed in the second half of the book, both around building the ship and chemistry and toward the end. I would venture to say that the pacing here was relatively terrible, with the inevitable fight/breakup/tension (and the usual things that follow) WAY too close to the end of the book.

Overall though, a worthy companion to the first book! Give me a book about Seb now PLEASE.

I received this book for free (hey, thanks!) in exchange for an honest review. I promise that this does NOT affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. For real.

ARC Reviews: Her Royal Highness and Don’t Date Rosa SantosDon't Date Rosa Santos by Nina Moreno
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 14, 2019
Format: ARC (336 pages) • Source: Borrowed
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Rosa Santos is cursed by the sea-at least, that's what they say. Dating her is bad news, especially if you're a boy with a boat.

But Rosa feels more caught than cursed. Caught between cultures and choices. Between her abuela, a beloved healer and pillar of their community, and her mother, an artist who crashes in and out of her life like a hurricane. Between Port Coral, the quirky South Florida town they call home, and Cuba, the island her abuela refuses to talk about.As her college decision looms, Rosa collides-literally-with Alex Aquino, the mysterious boy with tattoos of the ocean whose family owns the marina. With her heart, her family, and her future on the line, can Rosa break a curse and find her place beyond the horizon?

I was really excited for this story when it was announced, and that only grew once I saw the adorable cover! I decided to buddy read this with Nick, which was a great motivator to read during a time where I was not focusing as much as I should.

The women in Rosa’s family are cursed by the sea, which means that she should really stay away from boys who have boats. Of course, that’s not exactly what happens in the story! She’s going through a growth period where she’s trying to figure out her college plans and study abroad in Cuba, work at the local bodega, and help plan the spring festival in her adorable hometown.

Moreno’s writing is gorgeous. It’s sort of lyrical and poetic without being super flowery; I don’t like writing like that at all. The characters were really interesting and I loved the bits of magic throughout their lives. I did have trouble keeping track of all the characters though… There were so many people in the town that were important to Rosa, which was great for her growing up and having people to rely on, but it was really hard to remember who was who. The romance with Alex was very cute and I wish it was a bigger piece of the story.

While I enjoyed SO much about the ending, there were a lot of pieces that felt unresolved and/or rushed? I was surprised when I realized I only had 4 chapters left at a certain point and felt like some things were just getting started. The curse and ocean-related elements felt super mysterious and under-explained, even in the end, and I think that was done on purpose at least.

Overall, this was such a cute story with amazing writing, interesting exploration of Cuban culture and the experience of being bilingual (often being pulled in two different directions), and vivid scenery. I would love to visit Port Coral and enjoy that spring festival!

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