Review: Life and Other Near-death Experiences by Camille Pagan

Libby Miller has always been an unwavering optimist—but when her husband drops a bomb on their marriage the same day a doctor delivers devastating news, she realizes her rose-colored glasses have actually been blinding her. With nothing left to lose, she abandons her life in Chicago for the clear waters and bright beaches of the Caribbean for what might be her last hurrah.

I found Libby funny, brave and, at times, absolutely exasperating – maybe these are the reasons why I liked Life and Other Near-death Experiences so much. Camille Pagan made me feel for Libby, get angry with her and for her stubborn insistence that cancer diagnosis is a certain death-sentence.

Libby Miller has 6 months to live, but as it turns out the doctor’s devastating blow is the impulse for her to start living her life fully. She throws out her husband, with whom she’s been together for 18 years and who happens to be gay, quits a job, sells the apartment and flies off to Puerto Rico to see the island where her parents went on their honeymoon. In Puerto Rico she realizes that instead of accepting inevitable death, she could choose to fight.


Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Kate Middleton fanfiction, with references to Downton Abbey and Harry Potter in the very first chapter… The Royal We is just that – and so much more. Rebecca Porter is the Great American Pretender who is set to shake the foundations of the British monarchy.She sets off for Oxford and finds herself drawn into the life she could never imagine. Her newest dorm mates are members of the English aristocracy and the future sovereign, is the dashing, movie-star-good-looking guy who helped drag her luggage up the stairs while she unknowingly joked about his ancestors’ syphilis….Okay, I’m an absolute sucker for unusual introductions (confession)… Nick, Prince Nicholas that is, he’s Mr. Perfect, but he’s also taken and his princeliness comes with a lot of baggage – dark family secret and nosy paparazzi included. As Bex and Nick grow closer, things slowly start to apart.

The Royal We is not the kind of book that I would normally pick up. Epic adventure, gut-wretching drama with an occasional dash of fantasy, psychological or historical non-fiction that would make a lot of my friends say “Why???”. The Royal We is not my typical read, but it is one that I devoured and craved for more in my book hangover.There simply is nothing better than a well-written and well-plotted novel.

The Royal We has a score of complex characters, who are more than the usual background noise so many novels make them to be. Secondary characters compliment Bex’ and Nick’s development, but they also are intelligent, fun and possessing distinct traits. Bex that arrives in Oxford is a somewhat shy and retiring type. Her twin sister Lacy always was the one aiming for fame spotlight, but Bex ended-up being the one forced out into the public. This creates points of tension and conflict throughout the novel, however, I should say that the development of the sisterly relationship is one of the highlights of The Royal We. Prince Freddie is an absolute gem. Cilla, Gaz, Lacy and even the haughty Lady Bollocks are a team of loyal friends anyone would wish they had… “They believed that I was brave. They believed I was tough. They believed in me, period.”

Yes, The Royal We is all about romance, but it also is a novel about friendship, personal growth and sacrifices you are willing to make for your loved ones. It’s fun, captivating and just deliciously good.

Overall: 4,5*