2019 Book #20 – Kingdom Cold by Brittni Chenelle

411E7gzFfZLTitle: Kingdom Cold
Author: Brittni Chenelle
Date finished: 3/17/19
Genre: Young adult, romance, fantasy
Publication Date: February 14, 2019
Pages in book: 278
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Kingdom Cold series
Where I got the book from: Author/Publisher
NOTE: I received this book for free from the author/publisher 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:

Attempted murder, that’s how sixteen-year-old Princess Charlotte’s engagement starts. It seems like the only thing she has in common with Prince Young of Vires is their mutual discontent.

When her kingdom’s attacked, Charlotte’s parents renegotiate her hand in marriage to a handsome stranger with a sinister plan. With the people Charlotte loves dying around her, and her kingdom’s future at stake, the only person she can turn to is the prince she betrayed. But, should she save her kingdom or her heart? One must fall.

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.

I liked this book more than I expected to. Charlotte started out pretty whiny and petulant (not to mention impulsive) and I was worried those traits were going to stay with her throughout the book. Fortunately her character evolved some over time and I even ended up liking her. I didn’t feel that I really got to know her full character though, there were parts of the story that moved too quickly for me and it felt almost like there were large gaps in the story and the development of the relationships. Charlotte obviously evolved into a strong and fierce princess and I wish I had seen that transition more fully. The author’s writing style could use some smoothing out where I thought there might be rough edges, but I really enjoyed the plot and the potential of the characters. There was emotion, action, adventure, romance, and danger – everything you could want in a novel. I didn’t want to put it down and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The ending was so overwhelmingly sad but was also something different and made it a little more unpredictable. I’m not sure how the author managed to transition the story into a second book but I’d be pretty interested to find out.

Link to author website

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

2019 Book #9 – The Beast’s Heart by Leife Shallcross

51rYxamUQJLTitle: The Beast’s Heart
Author: Leife Shallcross
Date finished: 2/7/19
Genre: Romance, fairy-tale retelling, fantasy
Publisher: Ace
Publication Date: February 12, 2019
Pages in book: 414
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
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:

I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both.

I am the Beast.

He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation.

Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .

My rating:  2.25 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 read this book as part of the Bookish Romance Novel Bookish Bingo Reading Challenge. This book will be checking off my “Retelling” box, since its a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale!

So I just love Beauty and the Beast, I have since I was a kid. Who wouldn’t love a story about a smart, book-reading, law-abiding woman who gets kidnapped/rescued by a prince with a kick ass library! So I was intrigued by this novel as I’ve never thought about fully delving into the Beast’s point of view through this whole debacle. And I’m glad that I read this – there were definitely some interesting points to the novel and some creative differences from the original story line that I enjoyed. I didn’t end up loving this however, for a few reasons. I found the Beast’s “voice” to be, well, whiny. And pretty feminine-sounding for the character he was trying to portray. He just kept going on and on, the book ended up feeling so repetitive. And this book seemed (for me) to bring into stark light how unhealthy the Beauty and the Beast story line is. I’ve always loved the movie(s) but this scary dude kidnaps this young girl and its basically a romanticized case of Stockholm syndrome. While I will continue to like the story, the book itself and these particular versions of Beauty and the Beast didn’t really come to live for me. Also, as interesting as it sounded hearing the story from Beast’s point of view, I ended up finding it frustrating that I didn’t know what Isabeau / “Belle” was thinking at any of the times throughout the book. Overall I’m still glad I read the book since it did have some very creative aspects that were added to the traditional story line but overall it wasn’t my favorite read.

Link to author website

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

2017 Book #78 – Royal Affair by Marquita Valentine

51BVpnpqK6LTitle: Royal Affair
Author: Marquita Valentine
Date finished: 9/6/17
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: April 18, 2017
Pages in book: 235
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Royals in Exile 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:

A sheltered princess goes wild—and makes the best mistake of her life—when she falls for a roguish reporter in this fun, sexy romance from the bestselling author of Royal Scandal.

Online muckraker Brooks Walker has a reputation for exposing the political elite. Now he’s set his sights on the Sinclair siblings, who’ve been embroiled in their fair share of drama ever since their exile to North Carolina. But Brooks has never been afraid to get his hands dirty—until he meets a royal wallflower at a charity ball who makes him reconsider everything. Is Brooks feeling guilty because he knows all the sordid details of her family’s history? Or because he’s putting their relationship first, before his journalistic integrity?

As the “spare” twin, Princess Charlotte has always been the responsible one. So when her sister finally agrees to fulfill her duty as queen, Charlotte gives herself permission to break a few rules by flirting with the very off-limits CEO of Walker Media. Brooks is the worst sort of man to start an affair with, but Charlotte just can’t help it. The trouble is, since she’s no good at playing games, soon she’s tiara over heels in love. And when Brooks comes clean, Charlotte must decide whether his confession is worth a royal pardon.

My rating:  3.75 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. This book tells the story of Charlotte Sinclair, Princess of the Isle of Man, and Brooks Walker, expose journalist extraordinaire. Charlotte can’t help her attraction to Brooks even though he is the one that outed their family for being royalty in hiding. As Charlotte is not the Queen-to-be though, she has a little more freedom to make her own decisions and she decides to start an affair with Brooks. And as they spend more time together and get to know each other better, they realize how well they fit together. But when Brooks is presented with a story about Charlotte that could explode his career, can he really but his whole life on the line for love?

Overall I really liked this book. This book was Definitely WAY more steamy than the first book in the series, Charlotte and Brooks’ chemistry leaps off the page. At the same time I really liked the plot better in this book too, there was more development of the characters I thought and the intrigue and plot twists flowed a little better than in the first book. I also like how the author is continuing to develop the overall series, I’m interested to see where we go in the next book. My only confusion really with this book was why we had to jump like 5 years into the future, it felt like no time had passed at certain points and at other points it was obvious 5 years had passed. The whole idea just felt a little off and left a few holes in the story. Like has Imogen been ruling as Queen this whole time? Why was Davies just making his move now, 5 years after he was fired? There were some points of the plot that I thought could’ve been explained better or developed further but at the same time this one was a quick, easy, light read and adding more in would’ve made it longer. Either way I liked this one and I’m interested to see where the series goes next!

The bottom line: I liked the plot of this book better than the first book in the series. Just as forewarning this book is VERY STEAMY. Like super steamy. Still a good plot though, I liked it.

Link to author website

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

2017 Book #77 – Royal Scandal by Marquita Valentine

51fmEkMd6gLTitle: Royal Scandal
Author: Marquita Valentine
Date finished: 9/5/17
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Loveswept
Publication Date: January 24, 2017
Pages in book: 218
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Royals in Exile series
Where I got the book from: Bought the e-book on sale awhile back

Blurb from the cover:

Fairy tales do come true–and so do tabloid scandals! New York Times Bestselling author Marquita Valentine kicks off a juicy contemporary romance series with a novel about a prince whose best-laid plans go deliciously awry when he marries the maid next door.

Forced to flee to the United States with his siblings after their parents’ assassination, Crown Prince Colin Sinclair takes it upon himself to become the caretaker of his family while hiding out near Charlotte, North Carolina. But after a decade in hiding, the secret’s out and Parliament demands that Colin wed a princess of their choosing. Unwilling to play their game, Colin decides to marry an American instead, and he has the perfect candidate in mind.

As a home-service professional, Della Hughes doesn’t believe in storybook endings. But when her best friend and secret crush reveals that he’s a flesh-and-blood prince, she doesn’t know what to think. Still, she’ll do anything for Colin, including becoming his wife–in name only, of course. But when their plans to stay purely platonic go by the wayside, their fake honeymoon turns all too real. After a week of white-hot nights, Della can no longer deny her feelings–not with a happily ever after so tantalizingly close.

My rating:  3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book tells the story of Colin Sinclair and Della Hughes. Colin is a crown prince of the Isle of Man, which I think is supposed to be like one of the British Isles. After Colin’s parents are killed when he is nineteen, he is exiled to America for his own safety, along with this 3 younger siblings and his two young boys. It is at his estate in America that he meets Della, the daughter of the estate’s caretaker. Colin and Della become friends over the years but never more as Colin knows he has to marry as prescribed by Parliament. But when a political grab for power forces Colin to marry quickly, the only one he wants is Della.

Overall I liked this book. The romantic scenes were a little cheesy and made me laugh a lot but I thought the plot had a lot to it. The plot was really interesting and I’m interested to see how it all develops through the rest of the series. There were some pieces of the plot that I thought could’ve been developed a little further but overall it was still good. It wasn’t my favorite or anything but I think it has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see where the author goes with it.

The bottom line: I liked this book ok, it was pretty good but I’m more interested to see how the story line is developed in the rest of the series.

Link to author website

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