Friday, May 1, 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan

"I might be Cinderella today, but I dread who they'll think I am tomorrow. I guess it depends on what I do next."

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.

I'm a moderate fan of Ms. Cocks and Ms. Morgan's site, Go Fug Yourself.  I read their Scandal and Downton Abbey recaps, and I used to participate frequently in Fug Madness, their version of March Madness.  I had not read either of their young adult books, but I knew they wrote novels, and I knew they were Royal Watchers.  When I heard about their first adult novel, The Royal We, was a fictionalized tale of future king marrying an American, well, I had to give it a shot.

The first seven chapters, which were available for free, hooked me.  I liked Bex -- her American-ism, her foot-in-mouth disease, her lack of "proper" fashion sense -- and Nick was a ghost-like presence, flitting in and out of her life in Oxford.  The fact that they bonded over a crack-tastic television show made Nick seem human rather than Prince Nicholas of Wales.  Add in the secondary cast of friends -- Gaz, Cilla, Bea, Clive -- and this is the beginning of a humorous contemporary love story.  

I'm not sure where I started to feel disappointed.  

Maybe it was all the drama between Nick and Bex; maybe it was all the drinking Bex and crew does during her year in Oxford, and after she moves to England full-time; maybe it was the fact that Nick and Bex kept their romantic relationship a secret for FOUR YEARS before Bex decided she wanted to know what their future might be.  

I'm not sure.  

One of the things I love about William and Kate's story is that they seem to be genuinely happy together.  He's the future king; she's a commoner who happened to live on his dormitory floor.  And they fell in love.  Yes, they broke up once, maybe twice, but they seem committed now! 

Bex's life does change drastically once she and Nick become "official" in the eyes of Clarence House.  I cannot imagine the type of scrutiny and pressure this would put on a person not born to royal life.  But the last third of the book really didn't sit well for me.  Add the unnecessary melodrama with Bex's twin, Lacey, the surprising true nature of one of their friends, and the ending that didn't resolve anything, and I'm left with disappointment rather than gushing moments of squee. I do hope we get to see Freddie again, though; he was quite enjoyable. 

If you want to escape the humdrum of your normal life for a few of hours, The Royal We will certainly take you away. 

(A very special thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Royal We.)

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review: The Last Cowboy in Texas by Katie Lane


Country music princess Starlet Brubaker has a sweet tooth for moon pies and cowboys: both are yummy-and you can never have just one. Now Beckett Cates may not be a cowboy, but he certainly has the heart, soul-and body-to whet her appetite. He's a sexy ex-Marine with a touch hotter than the scorching Texas sun and arms strong enough to catch her when she lands into trouble.

Playing bodyguard to America's sweetheart isn't easy for Beckett. But falling for her sure is. Unfortunately, Starlet has a reputation for keeping a guy or two wrapped around her finger and Beckett refuses to be anybody's backup. So now it's up to Starlet to prove that she's put her cowboy-crazy days behind her. Otherwise, she'll be singing solo instead of living in harmony with the man who's loved her even before her fame and fortune.

 "Bramble was a happily-ever-after kind of place. A place where hearts healed. A place where dreams came true. A perfect place to call home."

The best thing about The Last Cowboy in Texas was seeing those minor characters I've loved get their happily-ever-afters.  Kenny Gene, Rachel, Twyla, Mayor Sutter and core characters from other books returning for short mentions. 

I wasn't as connected to Starlet and Beckett as I should have been, but I attribute that to the fact I didn't read book five, Flirting with Texas, which features Starlet's crush, Beau.  I felt any connection Starlet had with Beckett would have begun in that book.  I also don't believe there was a lot of strife or tension between Starlet and Beckett, certainly not enough to sustain my attention for an entire book, which is probably why minor characters were featured so heavily.

What I really wanted to happen was for Starlet to kick her family and her manager out of her life.  I'm not sure how she can excude so much confidence on stage, yet manage to be so timid and meek in every-day dealings.  

As it were, things ended in Bramble exactly how they should have, and I'm happy to have been along for the ride.    

(A very special thank you to Forever Romance, Grand Central Publishing, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Last Cowboy in Texas.)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Review: The Duke in My Bed by Amelia Grey


As a notorious member of the Heirs’ Club, Bray Drakestone can’t resist a challenge from one of his well-heeled colleagues—especially when it involves money and horses. But the friendly wager takes an unexpected and deadly turn. Bray is forced to agree to marry one of his challenger’s five sisters—sight unseen. Now gamblers all over London are placing bets on whether Bray will actually go through with it…


Miss Louisa Prim, the eldest sister, doesn’t care a whit what the reckless rogue at the Heirs’ Club promised her brother—she has no intention of marrying the future Duke of Drakestone. Bray, however, sees her rejection as another challenge. He bets that the fiery Miss Prim will not only agree to marry him, she will propose to him! With four sisters behind her, Louisa knows she can’t lose. But why does her opponent have to be a divinely handsome scoundrel? And so sweetly, irresistibly seductive…

First, I love the cover.  All that purple!  Second, the exclusive I got at Heroes and Heartbreakers really sold me on this book.  I couldn't stop thinking about what was going to happen next.

In The Duke in My Bed, Ms. Grey has taken a very prim young woman and a rakish man and changed their outlooks toward the other.  Their futures are entwined based upon a deathbed promise, one which Bray has no intention of keeping.  Louisa plans to live her life caring for her younger sisters, and as the blurb says, she isn't going to marry Bray, promise or not.  

Throughout the course of the narrative, we see their respective opinions change.  Louisa watches Bray with her sisters; Bray cannot stop thinking about Louisa.  Their involvement with each other begins with a promise yet morphs into so much more.  Their romance is a sweet one -- Louisa protests a bit too much at times -- but I thoroughly enjoyed watching them fall in love.

(A very special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Duke in My Bed.)

Friday, January 2, 2015

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