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Book Review: A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals #3) by Alyssa Cole

A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals #3)       

Author: Alyssa Cole

Publisher: Avon

American release date: April 30, 2019

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Contemporary Romance/381 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Nya Jerami is the daughter of the disgraced and now imprisoned former minister of Thesolo. Escaping to the glitz and glamor of NYC, Nya is dismayed to find the city is too big to suit her, and she feels out of place there. Her career isn’t taking off the way she’d hoped, and her love life leaves something to be desired too, only to be found in the virtual dating games she plays. Returning to Thesolo for the royal wedding of Ledi and Thabiso can either be a curse or a blessing, as she is unsure of the reception she will receive from the people, some of whom think she is as guilty as her father. However, in all her speculations as to what might happen, she never figured Prince Johan into her calculations.

Johan von Braustein is literally the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourgh and has long held the title of the Playboy Prince. But that works for him, as it draws attention to himself and away from his half-brother Lukas, the actual heir to the throne, who is only seventeen and not ready for the scrutiny of the press. Johan hides behind his infamous persona and admits no one. But then he finds himself up close and personal with Nya in the most unexpected way, and all bets are off.

These two are in for a bumpy ride.

As if this isn’t enough pressure, a referendum is about to be held in Liechtienbourgh, which may bring about the end of the monarchy. What will happen to Prince Jo-jo/Johan then? The paparazzi are threatening to tear down his carefully built persona, while even from prison, Nya’s father attempts to manipulate her.

On the flight to Thesolo, Nya and Johan, aka Jo-Jo, find themselves becoming friends. Neither one knows the other has been watching for a long time. Secrets are being guarded, information withheld, and emotions kept in check. Due to unexpected circumstances, they present the world with a fake engagement. But how long will they be able to maintain the charade?

Much as I loved the first two books in the Reluctant Royals series, this one took my heart immediately, especially Prince Johan. By the time I was finished reading, I knew this was my favorite, without a doubt. Watching these two people watch each other, wanting, longing, and unable to speak due to perceived problems, broke my heart. Both are wounded, although in different ways, and both are afraid to love. Love, in their experience, can be manipulative or it can lead to great loss and pain. But there is more to it than that, as they come to learn, and they will have to take a leap of faith at some point in order to make their dreams come true.

Johan’s brother Lukas is both engaging and bratty, typical teenager, although he does have reason to act out, what with the upcoming referendum. He’s been raised all his life to become a king, but what if there is no monarchy? Not to mention, he has other issues he’s afraid to discuss which make him lash out at those he loves best.

Nya’s support group, aka Ledi and Portia, are not as evident in this book, but they are there for her as much as possible, and it’s good to see them again, as well as glimpses of Thabiso and Tav.

This book resonated the most deeply with me, and I could see myself in Nya, playing her dating sims, although mine tend to be of the male variety, such as Dream Daddy. It’s easier to give your heart to a virtual lover than an actual one, but sometimes you just have to take a chance. This is a don’t miss addition to the series, but you really need to read them all, as well as the two novellas that are part of the series also, or you’ll be shortchanging yourself.

I would so love to see these books made into a series or movie!

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2) by Alyssa Cole

A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals #2)   

Author: Alyssa Cole

Publisher: Avon

American release date: July 31, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Contemporary Romance/384 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

 

Portia Hobbs is the black sheep of her family, the one who can do nothing right. Always compared to her perfect twin sister, Reggie, Portia has always felt that people think it should have been her, rather than Reggie, who fell ill and ended up wheelchair-bound. Having money is not the answer to everything, which Portia proves abundantly. She stops and starts projects on a whim, changes lovers constantly, and drinks to excess. Even her friend Ledi finds her hard to deal with sometimes. So now Portia is off on another of her harebrained journeys to find herself, this time as an apprentice to a sword maker in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Arriving in Edinburgh, Portia is dismayed to find her new employer nowhere in evidence, so is forced to hire a vehicle to take her to Bodotria Armory. There she comes upon an alarming scene—a young woman being menaced by an older man. Portia rushes into the fray without hesitation, making the assailant, onl to discover that she has just attacked her new boss! Great first impression!  Apparently the two were just engaging in a little swordplay, which is not surprising considering where they are! Besides being greatly embarrassed, Portia can’t help but notice how sexy her new boss is. But she’s decided before she even arrived in Scotland that she is a new Portia, and this Portia does not drink, and she most certainly does not fool around with handsome Scotsmen!

Tavish McKenzie is a little taken aback by the unexpected assault, but even more when he gets an actual glimpse of Portia, once his eyes stop burning. No denying she is very stunning. He was never in favor of the apprentice program to begin with, that being his brother Jamie’s idea, but he reluctantly goes along with it. Doesn’t mean he’s going to make things easy for Portia, and he’s resistant to all of her ideas to help the armory. Change does not come easily to Tav. He knows little of the Internet, and hates to be in any video. Besides, he has other problems, including making the armory pay, as well as teaching the weans, and keeping the neighborhood from being scooped up by land-hungry corporations who have no idea about the people who live there and make their livelihood there.

At first, Tav keeps Portia at a distance, telling her to busy herself with things other than sword making. Not one to be easily daunted, she does so, at the same time continuing to contribute to her sister’s popular blog, GirlsWithGlasses.  Although dismayed at not being able to do what she came to do, she refuses to give up, even as she fights her growing attraction to Tav who, as she discovers, has a gentle heart beneath his exterior gruff. While doing some research, Portia uncovers some information that will be a real game changer for Tav. Apparently, his biological father was a duke, unknown to him, and the title has gone to someone else, in lieu of a direct descendant. If he takes back the title, and all that comes with it, not only is problems but a lot of those of the neighborhood can be taken care of. But is he cut out to be a duke? And what about the mutual attraction between Tav and Portia? How long can they go before having to act on it?

Much as I loved A Princess in Theory, I have to agree with my daughter that the second book is even better! Watching Tav and Portia dance around each other while growing hopelessly more and more in love is priceless! They each have personal baggage, and a reluctance to become involved with someone else. But sometimes, what is meant to be will be. I wasn’t exactly fond of Portia in the first book, but she not only redeemed herself in this one, I grew to love her. She has carried so much around with her for such a long time. Her sister is supportive, but she tends to keep Reggie at arm’s length, and their parents… well, they don’t treat Portia very well, and that’s actually an understatement. Tav and Portia are certainly a match for one another, and each gives as good as they get. There’s a novella that comes after this book, and I have that, and there is also a third book, which concerns Johan, who is A Prince on Paper.  Looking forward to it very much.

If you like romances and great couples and happily ever after, A Duke by Default is perfect for you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals #1)   

Author: Alyssa Cole

Publisher: Avon

American release date: February 27, 2018

Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/Contemporary Romance/384 pages

Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes

Naledi has received scam emails before, but this one takes the cake! Someone claiming to be his assistant thinks it’s funny to tell Naledi she is the betrothed of an African prince and to please send her personal information in order to verify her identity. As if! Orphaned at a young age, Naledi (Ledi to her friends) has had to become a strong and independent woman. Life is hard enough, what with her post-graduate studies in epidemiology, and staying afloat by waiting tables at the university, without someone trying to sell her false dreams!  Add to that a supervisor who keeps throwing off all of his grunt work onto her, instead of anyone else or even himself, and a best friend who at her best is unreliable and at her worst can be a drunken critical mess.

Thabiso is the prince of the African nation of Thesolo. It’s bad enough that people in his country are suffering from a mysterious illness that he is helpless to do anything about, but there is a major corporation seeking to make inroads into his nation, and Thabiso isn’t sure what they want will be in Thesolo’s best interests. But people of high rank are clamoring for him to sign off on this deal, and he feels pressured to do so. If that’s not enough, he’s had his assistant, Likotsi, search for his long-lost betrothed, a girl he knew in their childhood when they became engaged, but whose parents whisked her away so that she disappeared from his life. The good news is that Likotsi has found her, living under another name in New York City. The bad news is she is not responding to Likotski’s emails. What is a prince to do but go to New York himself to bring her back?

Thabiso shows up at Ledi’s place of work, intending to let her know who he is and that she needs to come back with him, but when she unexpectedly mistakes him for the new server, he sees an opportunity for her to get to know him for himself, not as a prince. So he doesn’t correct her, answers to the name Jamal, and takes the other man’s place. Who knew working in a restaurant could be so difficult, or that a royal prince could be so inept?

He can only stay so long in the States before he must return to Thesolo and deal with things there, including his parents, who are clamoring for him to get married and are unaware of his hunt for his betrothed. He’s determined more than ever, now that he has found her again, that Ledi shall be his bride. But will he have enough time to win her heart, so that she loves him for who he is? Somewhere along the line, as Likotsi reminds him, he has to tell her the truth about himself, or all will be for naught.

Ledi finds Jamal to be very sexy, if somewhat inadequate to his job. But she patiently shows him what to do, and she finds herself growing more and more attracted to him. She tells herself she has no time for men like him, her life is already complicated enough. But the more she sees him, the more he worms his way into her heart. No good will come of this, she knows, as she waits for the other shoe to drop… and drop it does, blowing her mind and threatening to destroy her world. Not to mention, most importantly,  he has lied to her. She’d rather stay safe and alone in her sterile academic world than risk her heart… wouldn’t she?

A Princess in Theory is the first book in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. It was recommended to me by my daughter, and I fell in love with it right away. Ledi hasn’t had an easy life, but she takes what comes and doesn’t complain. She is a very strong, very likeable heroine. I rooted for her from the beginning.

On the other hand, Thabiso is a handsome and sexy but somewhat sheltered, entitled prince, who doesn’t really understand a lot about what the real world is like until he meets Ledi. His original idea is to get her to go back to Thesolo with him, to do her duty and finish what was begun so many years before.  But he quickly discovers that won’t be as easy as he expected, since he is lying about who he is. Every day he falls for her more and more, and we watch him grow as a person and as a man as he tries to figure out how to handle the situation he finds himself in. You can’t help but hope he succeeds, and that these two will receive the fairy tale ending all princes and princesses deserve.

I love Alyssa Cole’s writing, she draws memorable characters and situations, and this story is both romantic and sensual. I know there are at least two more books in this series and I look forward to reading them. If you enjoy a good romance with an ending to die for, give this book a try. You won’t be sorry you did.