2020 Book #32 – The Princess Plan by Julia London

Title: The Princess Plan
Author: Julia London
Date finished: 5/31/20
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: November 10, 2019
Pages in book: 400
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Royal Wedding series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Princes have pomp and glory—not crushes on commoners

Nothing gets the tongues of London’s high society wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater interest in Eliza.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I realized after I finished my most recent read (A Royal Kiss and Tell by Julia London) that I had been scheduled to read the first book in the same series last year and just hadn’t gotten to it. I just loved the covers in this series, I have to say in both cases the covers definitely influenced me in requesting the books for review. I have to say I enjoyed the second book in the series a little bit more. However, this book was still good! Eliza was a really fascinating character and I loved her enthusiasm and how opinionated she was and just fierce. Bas on the other hand fell a little flat for me. He just didn’t feel as alive as Eliza did and the contrast between their two characters was really striking. The one thing I can say about him that felt alive were his feelings for Eliza, which I really was struck by how strong his feelings for her were and that piece really appealed to me. I thought the ending was a little rushed and there were some things that I thought should have been addressed that weren’t. Like I get the Eliza really likes him but there wasn’t hardly any discussion until like the last page that she’d be leaving behind her entire family. Overall though it was a sweet story and had a romantic (if somewhat rushed) ending. Even though it wasn’t my favorite, I’d still say it’s worth the read!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2018 Book # 3 – The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alward

51rLBEd6MTLTitle: The Crown Prince’s Bride
Author: Donna Alward
Date finished: 1/8/18
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Pages in book: 169
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Prince Duology
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

A Crown Prince gets a second chance at love with the woman who’s always been there – in the next book in the prince duology from Donna Alward!

The Crown Prince of Marazur is suffering from a broken heart. After losing his wife and future queen, he knows he’ll never find love again with a partner as wonderful as her. He’s thrown himself into his duties and is trying to be a better father to his two children, but he’s lonely. Even though falling in love seems impossible, so does spending the rest of his life alone.

Stephani has been Raoul’s assistant for years. Smart, loyal, and discreet, Stephani is fantastic at her job. Except for the fact that she’s been in love with her boss since her first week of employment, not that she would ever act on it. Besides, Raoul is first in line to the throne and she’s his assistant. If Raoul ever marries again, it’ll be with someone who can be a future queen. Not someone like Stephani.

When Raoul’s date for a state dinner is unable to attend, he invites Stephani. She’s well-versed on the issues and castle protocol, and Raoul’s always been comfortable with her. But when Stephani arrives, Raoul hardly recognizes her. Is this stunning woman the same one who’s run his office for years?

The Crown Prince’s Bride is the ultimate fairy tale for readers looking for Cinderella to get her prince—and be able to keep him past midnight.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Is there really a second chance at love?

This royal romance showcases opulence and extravagance at its finest as the main characters travel to five star hotels while they develop their relationship. This book really made me think about whether there are second chances at love and how difficult it can be to open yourself up after being through a tragedy like that. The author helps us navigate the minefield of second loves in this quick and easy read, which was also a very sweet story. I hadn’t read the previous book so this was my first time being introduced to the characters, but I was still able to get up to date with the story line. The characters were solid and it was a pretty good story line, it was a solid romance novel but wasn’t anything overly thrilling for me. I did really like Stephani’s character, she was extremely loyal and patience, which was admirable considering how insensitive Raoul was. I would recommend the book if you’re looking for a quick read and a sweet romance.  

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #70 – How To Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly

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Title: How To Marry a Royal Highlander
Author: Vanessa Kelly
Date finished: 7/11/15
Genre:  Historical romance
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: #4 in the Renegade Royals series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…
After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit” check box since I can not think of anything more amazing than going to Scotland (or Ireland) and touring the old castles there. You can even stay at some of them, they have been converted into like hotels. Can you think of anything more awesome for a vacation? Staying in a freaking CASTLE?!
So this book was about Eden Whitney, twin to Evelyn Whitney who I believe was the heroine in book #3 in the Renegade Royals series. Eden is tired of sitting around waiting for her Prince Charming so she decides she’s going to make some moves and see if she can find him on her own. Unfortunately she does this by making out with one of the ton’s well-known rogues and even worse she gets caught by the ton’s worst gossiping matron. This recipe for disaster leads to her being shunned by the ton and having to go somewhere for the winter until some of the scandal dies down. Luckily her twin’s husband’s best friend owns a castle in Scotland that he’s finally returning to after 10 years of running away from his duties to his family.
While overall I did like the plot line of this story and I didn’t 100% know who the bad guy was going to be at the end (though I did suspect quite a bit), I did have a couple small issues. The part where the hero (Alasdair Gilbride) decides that he wants Eden for his wife (the first time he realizes it I mean) happened so quickly that I think I missed it, I even went back looking through trying to figure out when he all of a sudden decided this. And Eden seemed a little slow to catch on that she actually liked Alasdair. But Alasdair’s crazy family (while somewhat annoying for their extreme persistence) was actually really entertaining and kept me on the edge of my seat trying to find out what awful thing they were going to do next. I also thought that Edie’s mother was a very interesting character, I was continually alternating being annoyed with her and admiring her throughout the book. While it did become frustrating at times that no one was listening to the “younger folk” (Alasdair, Eden, and Donella) its definitely realistic that something like that would happen during the time period in which the book was set, when arranged marriages were prevalent. The conversations between the family members though was quite well done, there was evident tension but it was not at all stilted or awkward and did not feel rehearsed.
I loved the descriptions of Scotland since I’ve always wanted to go to Scotland/Ireland and look at the castles and just the general landscape. I’ve heard nothing but how beautiful it is and all the pictures I see online just make me want to go so much more!
The bottom line: I thought this was a very good book, definitely a great read if you are a historical romance fan! I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #67 – The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

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Title: The Royal We
Author: Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan
Date finished: 7/3/15
Genre:  Fiction, Romance-ish, Drama
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Pages in book: 452
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

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.
Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.
Which is how she gets into trouble.
Now, on the eve of the wedding of the century, Bex is faced with whether everything she’s sacrificed for love-her career, her home, her family, maybe even herself-will have been for nothing.

My rating: 4 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book based on a true story” check box since the authors loosely based this book around Prince William and Kate Middleton’s romance. Obviously this book is a work of fiction and in no way portrays what happened during WIlliam and Kate’s courtship (at least I hope Kate and Harry didn’t “snog” each other as the British so endearingly term it) but the main idea is based on their unlikely courtship and eventual marriage. Its a true Cinderella story, having the Prince of England fall in love with you. What little girl doesn’t want to be a princess? But what every little girl doesn’t consider (and what this book expertly depicts) are the hardships that come attached to being affianced to someone directly in the line to ascend to the throne. The lack of privacy, the demands to be perfect at all times, the hateful gossip columnists and he way your friends all suddenly want something from you.
Bex Porter is just a normal girl from Iowa. She lucked out and was able to do a semester abroad in one of the places she’s loved since she was a little girl, England. And when it turns out Prince Nicholas is actually living on the same floor as her, she reacts differently from how I would expect most to react, she doesn’t seem to care much at all. She acts as if he is any old person, which I think is one of the reasons that Nick was attracted to Bex in the first place. They fight their feelings at first, because Nick is already in a relationship and also because Bex is hooking up with another guy on the floor. But Nick and Bex form an unlikely friendship that continues to develop as simply that at first, a deep friendship. Before they know it though, they are quite deeply in love with each other.
Relationships with this much strain put on them are bound to have their ups and downs. I think this book was a great depiction of the characters as they should be, humans that have feelings and emotions and who make mistakes (sometimes a lot of them). There were some very heart-wrenching parts of the book and some parts that made me down-right mad (Bex tends to let people walk on her quite a bt in the book, she gives up in fights WAY before I would be willing to let things go) but through out the book I felt deeply connected to the characters and what was happening with them. I laughed, I cried, I shouted, I cheered. This was a great feels book and the emotions just held me hostage there at the end. While at a few points I did find the book to be a bit wordy, I thought the wordy parts were worth it and some of them were even downright poetic
The bottom line: I thought this was a great book, if a tiny bit wordy for me. Most of the wordy parts were worth it though, I would recommend!
Favorite quotes:
Bex: “My dad and I once had a fight because I refuse to put ketchup on my hot dogs.” Nick: “That’s possibly the most American sentence I ever heard.”
“I remember understanding what a brutal thing it is to be the bearer of truly bad news – to break off a piece of that misery and hand it to other people, one by one, and then have to comfort them; to put their grief on your shoulders on top of all your own; to be the calm one in the face of their shock and tears.”
“I don’t want you to think I”m holding something over you. I’m not. This isn’t a favor. This is just love.”

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #25 – I Loved a Rogue by Katharine Ashe

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Title: I Loved a Rogue
Author: Katharine Ashe
Date finished: 3/30/15
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Pages in book: 365
Stand alone or series: Prince Catchers series #3

Blurb from the cover:

In the third in Katharine Ashe’s Prince Catchers series, the eldest of three very different sisters must fulfill a prophecy to discover their birthright. But if Eleanor is destined to marry a prince, why can’t she resist the scoundrel who seduced her?She can pour tea, manage a household, and sew a modest gown. In short, Eleanor Caulfield is the perfect vicar’s daughter. Yet there was a time when she’d risked everything for a black-eyed gypsy who left her brokenhearted. Now he stands before her—dark, virile, and ready to escort her on a journey to find the truth about her heritage.
Leaving eleven years ago should have given Taliesin freedom. Instead he’s returned to Eleanor, determined to have her all to himself, tempting her with kisses and promising her a passion she’s so long denied herself. But if he was infatuated before, he’s utterly unprepared for what will happen when Eleanor decides to abandon convention—and truly live . . .

My rating: 3.75 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for the Pop Sugar Reading Challenge 2015 checklist under the “a book set in a different country” check box. This is the third book in a series about three sisters who have no idea who their real mother and father are. Since Arabella (I Married the Duke) and Ravenna (I Adored a Lord) are both married and preoccupied now, Eleanor has been asked to take up the lead on the investigation into how the three girls ended up on a boat with just their nanny so many years ago. Arabella asks an old family friend, Taliesin, to help Eleanor on the journey. I liked Eleanor’s character alot too, she was a fairly strong character and held her own. But the drugging scene was so awful I could barely read it.

I was hooked on the story, I couldn’t put the book down. I liked this book much better than the first two in the series. That being said, I was disappointed with the ending and with how many inconsistencies there were in the story. After being drugged and not eating for like two weeks she’s able to recover enough in a few days to travel, that I can understand, but then to have sex like 4 times in one night? Seriously? That seemed a bit, well, not do-able. And the same with the previous two books in the series, I felt as if the book alternated between sections that were too fast and too slow parts. And I didn’t feel like the ending fit with the story, it just made me feel weird.

The bottom line:
  This was a good ending to the series, and while there were some holes and I didn’t love the end, I thought it was a good book and I would likely recommend it.

Author website
Link to Amazon

2015 Book #21 – I Adored a Lord by Katharine Ashe

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Title: I Adored a Lord
Author: Katharine Ashe
Date finished: 3/24/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: July 29, 2014
Pages in book: 356
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Price Catchers series

Blurb from the cover:

Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?
All that clever, passionate Ravenna Caulfield wants is to stay far away from high society’s mean girls.
All that handsome, heroic Lord Vitor Courtenay wants is to dash from dangerous adventure to adventure.
Now, snowbound in a castle with a bevy of the ton’s scheming maidens all competing for a prince’s hand in marriage, Ravenna’s worst nightmare has come true.
Now, playing babysitter to his spoiled prince of a half-brother and potential brides, Vitor is champing at the bit to be gone.
When a stolen kiss in a stable leads to a corpse in a suit of armor, a canine kidnapping, and any number of scandalous liaisons, Ravenna and Vitor find themselves wrapped in a mystery they’re perfectly paired to solve. But as for the mysteries of love and sex, Vitor’s not about to let Ravenna escape until he’s gotten what he desires . . .

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my TBR Pile Reading Challenge, marking off #8 on my list. Many of my thoughts on this book are similar to the first book in the series. There was a lot going on in this book all at once, and while it was easier to follow than the first book it was still nonetheless slightly difficult to follow the train of thought. There are references made early on that are confusing instead of subtly intriguing and made it hard to follow the choppy thoughts of the hero and heroine. The story line had a lot of promise and was interesting but,same as the last novel, this book alternated between being too detailed/slow-paced and too fast-paced. I liked the heroine of this book better than the last, she wasn’t quite as wishy-washy. She still didn’t seem to value herself very much though, while I understand it makes sense for that time period, I hate to think that the heroine believed she wasn’t a good match for the hero just because of her birth. Other than that she had a good amount of backbone though, which I like to see in novel’s heroine.

The bottom line:  I liked this book better than the first in the series but I still wasn’t thrilled with it. There’s one more in the trilogy though so I’m going to read it, I’m guessing she marries that Tali guy and turns out he’s some kind of prince even though he’s an orphan.

Link to author website
Link to Amazon

2015 Book #15 – I Married the Duke by Katharine Ashe

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Title: I Married the Duke
Author: Katharine Ashe
Date finished: 2/27/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Avon Books
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Pages in book: 363
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Price Catchers series

Blurb from the cover:

On the way to marry a prince in a castle, a lady should never: 1. Bribe an infuriatingly arrogant and undeniably irresistible ship captain, 2. Let him kiss her senseless on a beach, 3. Battle thieves at his side, and 4. Exchange wedding vows with him, even under the direst circumstances.
But daring, determined Arabella Caulfield isn’t just any lady. And Luc Westfall is no typical ship captain. He’s the new Duke of Lycombe, and to defeat a plot that could destroy his family he must have an heir. Now he knows just the woman for the job…and he’s not above seduction to turn this would-be princess into a duchess.

My rating: 2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Start a New Series” square. This book had an awful lot going on. A scarred, pirate, soon-to-be duke who needs to help a governess crsos to France for a new job where she’ll meet a prince that maybe she’ll marry and instead she almost gets raped (that part was pretty awful and scary) and then the pirate dies (or not really) and then he appears at the duke’s chateau in France where the governess just happens to be. And then the pirate ends up being blind and she leaves him at the altar and oh my goodness. I could barely keep up at some points, but was pretty bored at other points. It actually made for an emotionally confusing read. I think that the plot line of this book had real promise but there was just too much thrown in there for plot twists.
And to be honest, I couldn’t stand the heroine for most of the book. During the day she keeps pushing the hero away and rejecting him, thinking he doesn’t really love her and they shouldn’t have gotten married while he was dying on a beach, but then as soon as he comes in her room at night she’s like “take me,” Ugh it was so aggravating. I know that men and women have communication issues but the hero and heroine in this book had maybe 2 meaningful conversations. They couldn’t ever seem to actually talk to each other about how they were feeling. I don’t know where the relationship was but I missed it. There were parts of the book that I liked but overall I think it was frustrating. Hopefully the next book in the series is a little less frustrating.

The bottom line:  This was far from my favorite. I’m going to stick with the series though, I want to find out who marries the prince.

Link to author website
Link to Amazon

2014 – Book #61

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The sixty-first book I read in 2014 was A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James. This is the first book in the Fairy Tales series by this author. I finished this book on 7/28/14 (just past midnight). I rated this book 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of a girl named Katherine Daltry. Kate has lived practically as a servant in her own household ever since her father died and left her step-mother as her legal guardian. Kate has been managing multiple pieces of her father’s estate on her own for the last few years, as her step-mother has a tendency to fire most of the servants on the estate.

Prince Gabriel bundled up all the people who were thrown out of his country by his over-zealous religious brother and brought them all to his castle in England. The only problem with this is that now he has to find a way to pay and support this horde of family and friends. While the income from the estate will fund the castle’s needs in future years, the estate won’t make any income for the first year. Therefore the prince decides he must wed a wealthy heiress in order to care for the people living under his roof. When Kate arrives at the castle for the ball that is to be held in a few days time, Gabriel has a princess on her way from Russia with a significant dowry.

Kate ends up taking her sister’s place at the Prince’s betrothal ball through a twist of Fate, but she must attend while posing to be her step-sister Victoria, along with Victoria’s fiancee Algie. The whole thing reminded me slightly of a comedy of errors and it was very entertaining and funny. Once the prince figures out that Kate is.. well Kate and not Victoria, he begins to pursue her in earnest even though he is betrothed to a Russian princess. 

Overall I thought this was a great book and I look forward to reading more books in this series. As Kate goes through the story she realizes she has many people she can consider family who support her. The story was very sweet and also was interesting. 

Link to author website: http://www.eloisajames.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kiss-at-Midnight-Eloisa-James/dp/0062232568/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1406561491&sr=8-1