Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Snippet Book #Review: Once Ghosted, Twice Shy ( Reluctant Royals 2.5) by Alyssa Cole .@AlyssaColeLit


Book Title: A Duke By Default (Reluctant Royals 2)
Author:  Alyssa Cole |WebsiteTwitter|  Instagram
Publisher: AVON
Genre: Romance, Interracial Romance, Contemporary
Series/Standalone: Book 2
Format: ebook, Mass Market 
Cost: $4.99
Pages: 384
How I got it: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Publisher
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
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Synopsis:
Award-winning author Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series continues with a woman on a quest to be the heroine of her own story and the duke in shining armor she rescues along the way…

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice—and his attraction to her—but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

Ohhh my loves this is a friends to lovers romance that takes time. Listen I've mentioned before that slow burns are not my thing, but the way this one was done??!! I was all for it. I loved this progress of this story which started with Portia basically running from her life to take this apprenticeship in Scotland. She feels like she's a disappointment to her family and they don't help matters by insisting that the unconventional life she wants to live isn't a good one. They are business people and they only believe their way is the best. Ahh they must be Caribbean parents because they love to determine what you should do with your life and if you stray from that they let you know how they feel and how you're disappointing them, all. the.time. (Ok getting out of my feelings right now) Taking this apprenticeship should help her get a chance to figure out where she is going and what she wants from her life. Tavish is a grumpy silver fox who has not time for a socialite who he assumes doesn't know anything about swords. He likes his life the way it is, even if he feels like he could be doing more, how does he do that without disturbing those who rely on him??

I loved how the story came together, Portia is the best friend to Ledi and sister to Reggie. She's struggling to keep it all together and find what she wants despite what everyone things she should want. She decides to write about her adventure in Scotland for her sister's blog while she works this apprenticeship. While she's trying to get it all together, he sister sends her a few links that make her feel seen and understood and once she really begins to embrace the information in the videos her perspective changes.  She embraces the new life she's creating for herself and while doing so incidentally discovers that her reluctant boss is actually the son of a dukedom that is up for grabs at the moment. And then she kicks off a social media trend with #swordbae and life is just on a roller coaster after that.

Tavish isn't happy this woman is turning his life upside down, she's helping to create a social media presence for him, a man who can't even remember that he has a phone. He's fine with his life the way it is, even if he is struggling a bit to get it all together as well. Together they create a new social media trend and everyone is starting to go to his new and improved website, and now the orders are flowing and maybe she's not as incompetent as he believed before.  She's also disturbing him personally which he knows he can't act on as he refuses to be that guy.

I can't even begin to explain how much I loved this story. The slow progression of the relationship was done so well, there were sparks from the beginning but both determined they couldn't do this for their own reasons. As they got settled into their friendship and realized that this person helped them navigate life with a little more ease then they gave in, but only because they wanted to. I loved and kept saying to my sister how good it felt to read characters that didn't have it all together and even when they had some parts of their lives figured out they didn't have it all perfectly together. It felt good to read from the perspective of a black woman who had so many of the same issues we have and it was so good. I loved her relationship with her friends and how she relied on them to help her when she stumbled. I couldn't get enough of her and her sister figuring it all out and man oh man when they had their come to Jesus moment?? Bawled like a baby. Her moments of fantasy and self talk?? So real. Loved it!!! The moments when we get their group chat?? Made me laugh cause yeah some of my group chats look like that.

This story pulled it all together, it wasn't just a love story (although that part was awesome), it wasn't just a her finding herself story, even though that was shared and the journey was so worth it. It had everything good relationships for both of them to fall back on, amazing sibling relationships, people struggling to find their place in the world and let's face it some sweet and raunchy sexy times. I loved that they felt human and like people I would know (ok maybe not the prince or duke but the rest yeah). I enjoyed that even though this was a slightly different world it still was in ours (kind of a different one in the multiverse, because she gave him the Ducal title that currently belongs to the Queens husband so yeah a slightly different world than our current one) & they had their brands of social media as well, which made this feel even more rooted inour world.

Of course the back and forth between Tav and Portia really made this story go from sweet to raunchy fast. I loved how they both tried not to just fall into bed with each other from the start. The attraction was off the way and Tav's internal monologue had me cracking up so many times. As the story unfolded and we learned about his family history and him having to decide if he wanted to repeat the mistakes of the past or embrace hsi own path.

Those moments when it all seems like it's starting to unravel for them. I was so heartbroken, then angry because I couldn't understand why someone would gaslight and harm someone so badly just to hang on to something that was never theirs. UGHHHHHHH. I became so invested in this story I shared about it ont he group chat so we could read it and discuss because my gosh I loved it.

It just felt so fresh and modern, I don't know how else to explain how seen I felt reading it. I loved it and now I'm going to marathon the rest.
 ★★★★1/2☆
Series In Order
Happy Reading my loves, 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Snippet Book #Review: Can't Escape Love (Reluctant Royals 2.6) by Alyssa Cole .@AlyssaColeLit

Book Title: Can't Escape Love (Reluctant Royals 2.6)
Author:  Alyssa Cole |WebsiteTwitter|  Instagram
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Genre: Romance, Interracial Romance
Series/Standalone: Book 2.6
Format: ebook, Mass Market
Cost: $4.99
Pages: 192
How I got it: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Publisher
Publication Date: March 19, 2019
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Synopsis:
Regina Hobbs is nerdy by nature, businesswoman by nurture. She's finally taking her pop culture-centered media enterprise, Girls with Glasses, to the next level, but the stress is forcing her to face a familiar supervillain: insomnia. The only thing that helps her sleep when things get this bad is the deep, soothing voice of puzzle-obsessed live streamer Gustave Nguyen. The problem? His archive has been deleted.

Gus has been tasked with creating an escape room themed around a romance anime…except he knows nothing about romance or anime. Then mega-nerd and anime expert Reggie comes calling, and they make a trade: his voice for her knowledge. But when their online friendship has IRL chemistry, will they be able to escape love?
***Snippet Reviews: Called that because I don't want the review to be longer than the book***

I highly recommend this one and also recommend that you go on Alyssa's website and view the concept art for the manga series the book is 'based on'.

Reggie is the sister of Portia and the 'successful' twin who seemed to have it all together with a popular blog that she uses to help women geek out (I love that there are actually black geek websites that this reminds me of) called Girl With Glasses. She's a having a difficult time right now and she has never relied on anyone for anything and now she has to ask a 'stranger' to help her out.  She used to be one of the only viewers of livestream and now the owner has taken the archives down and she needs his voice to fall asleep. Using her skills she sends him a persuasive email requesting his help. when they start talking they discover that he needs help with a project for work that has to deal wtih her favorite anime. Like she's the biggest fan and even has all the paraphernalia throughout her home.

As the story advances the two get to know each other as not just two geeks who are sharing the love. Well really it's Reggie who loves the show and Gus who is learning what a romantic anime is about. I loved them together. I loved the rep that's in the book. I loved how they were both so strong in their careers but struggled with interpersonal relationships because #Same. There are so many different things tackled in this small story and really wish we had gotten more from them because I could totally read more about them for a few hundred more pages. It's a cute sexy romance that challenges your beliefs on those that are 'different' .

Also on a totally different topic, I need more publishers to print the ebooks, I love looking at my shelves and seeing these up there next to the book instead of just in ebook form. I know I might be in the minority but that's fine. I love them.

I highly recommend this one, especially because it doesn't just tackle the romance but has a great relationship between the sisters and them working to get back to being happy without their terrible parents.
 ★★★★
Series In Order
Happy Reading my loves, 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Book #Review: A Prince On Paper (Reluctant Royals 3) by Alyssa Cole .@AlyssaColeLit

Book Title: A Prince On Paper (Reluctant Royals 3)
Author:  Alyssa Cole |WebsiteTwitterInstagram
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series/Standalone: Book 3
Format: ebook, Mass Market
Cost: $5.99
Pages: 381
How I got it: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Add To Goodreads
Synopsis:
The Reluctant Royals series returns with a good girl searching for the life that’s not too big, and not too small, and the bad boy prince who might be just right for her…

Nya Jerami fled Thesolo for the glitz and glamour of NYC but discovered that her Prince Charming only exists in her virtual dating games. When Nya returns home for a royal wedding, she accidentally finds herself up close and personal—in bed—with the real-life celebrity prince who she loves to hate.

For Johan von Braustein, the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourg, acting as paparazzi bait is a ruse that protects his brother—the heir to the throne—and his own heart. When a royal referendum threatens his brother’s future, a fake engagement is the perfect way to keep the cameras on him.

Nya and Johan both have good reasons to avoid love, but as desires are laid bare behind palace doors, they must decide if their fake romance will lead to a happily-ever-after.
Oh my gosh, this was so awesome. I read this one a few months after reading the others and I'm so glad I finally got around to it. It was awesome. This is the story of Johan who is the stepson to the Prince of a small European principality, known as the playboy prince (even though he technically doesn't hold a title) he's in the paparazzi papers every single week for some wild exploit. We learned in A Duke by Default that Johan was more than he seemed to the average person because he was able to help  Portia when she needed a little help handling the press.

Nya's returning home after hoping that by leaving she would be bale to make the changes that prevented her from having that perfect life. However, once there NYC was a little too much, and going home isn't right either. When she returns for Theo's wedding she runs into Johan and has a few moments with him that make her look at things a little differently, especially when she starts to catch on that Johan might have a few hidden depths.

I loved the journey that both Johan and Nya go on. I loved that even though they didn't necessarily like each other they still helped the other out when given a chance. Nya's struggles were so relateable, wanting to be more but being imprisoned no longer by a physical person but by the words they have drilled down into you can be so daunting. It's a lot harder to break away from someone who is actively attempting to manipulate and keep you in line especially when you're vulnerable and seeking validation. I loved the lesson she learnt at the end of this especially about this particular person.   Johan has spent his whole life before the cameras once his mother fell in love with the Prince and went from an unknown to the Queen; and her death still hurts. He's spent the whole time doing what he can to make sure his brother doesn't have the same issues he has but doesn't realize that his actions form their own kind of prison.

I absolutely loved how Nya was when meeting his family and how accepting they were of her, especially his brother. Oh my gosh I hope we get the brother's story when it's time for that. I enjoyed how Nya shared how to make the connection without making them feel uncomfortable and it's certainly something I'm keeping in the tank for use. I loved that Johan casually thinks about his lovers without demeaning them to make Nya 'more' and at the same time owns his sexuality without it being a 'thing' and you know what I mean like how some authors write it in a way that totally others the character their trying to say they are being inclusive about?? Or being vague in the book and then saying it later that of course they were (I'm looking at you JK Rowling) I loved Johan's Grandmother, the way she called him to task, the easy way she shared her love.

 I really just fell in love with these characters and their journey. I found myself reacting the same way they were and LOVED that they became friends first then advanced their relationship. I loved how loving and slow and consent aware that Johan was and how he made sure that Nya knew whatever she wanted was fine with him.  I'm a huge fan of love stories and theirs was so awesome.  Listen, the girls that her friends?? Everything you could ever hope for in female friendships. Just everything. There were so many good moments and I just especially between Nya and Johan's brother, and the lessons she shared with Johan. Each of them had so much to learn about themselves and it didn't make their issues disappear but it certainly made them easier to bear. I loved that. Can't lie I also loved that this was a bit of a reunion book since everyone was together for the wedding. The wedding games had me cracking up.

I highly recommend my loves, especially if you haven't read the series, this one can be a bit of a standalone, the story will be great but the friends and the meaning they bring might be a little lost on you.
 ★★★★
Series In Order
Happy Reading my loves,