Book Review: Twisted Palace

review-cover-twisted palaceTitle: Twisted Palace [The Royals 3]

Author: Erin Watt

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.
Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.

Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.

No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.

They may be right.

With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I thought I had mixed feelings about the first two books in this series—and then I read the third book. At this point, I’m not sure why I spent money on these books. The drama in this book was so ridiculously overblown to the point of absurdity. The series took a sharp left turn by re-introducing Ella’s father when he was firmly dead in the first two books of the series. He wasn’t a likable character, but instead, overbearing, aggressive, and cruel.

The one redeeming point of this book was that there was an actual plotline, and the murder mystery aspect of it was both well-plotted and interesting. The technical aspects of the story, once again, were well-done. That being said, I’m not sure they made up for the characters and their motivations. This whole series has left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I’m exhausted by the cruelty and narcissism of the characters and the banality of the social drama in their lives. This book, in particular, felt like a left-over storyline, introduced in an attempt to contrive more drama in the quickly fizzling plotline of the first two books.

I sincerely have to caution you if you choose to pick up this series: this isn’t for teen readers. This series is full of sex, drugs, sexual assault/attempted rape, murder, and cruelty by 98% of the characters. It isn’t a fuzzy romance despite the sparkly covers, and despite the luke-warm ratings I’ve given the series, I can’t honestly say that I’d recommend it to most readers.

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Book Review: Broken Prince

review-cover-broken princeTitle: Broken Prince [The Royals 2]

Author: Erin Watt

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 3 Stars (2.5)

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Description/Synopsis:

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Much like the first book in the series, Broken Prince by Erin Watt left me feeling conflicted. Again, the technical aspects of the book were pretty spot-on. I didn’t run into a lot of grammatical errors, typos, or formatting issues. The narrative was clean and easy to read, and it was simple to get sucked into the story because of it—but the plotline and the characters were painful to experience. The romance between Ella and Reed felt so wrong because of the way they’d treated each other throughout the first book. Their relationship was unbelievably unhealthy.

On some levels, this book was possibly worse than the first. Not a lot happened other than pure fluff drama that’s so ridiculously overblown that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. The content was far from being YA appropriate, and the characters left me disgusted… and yet I kept reading. I guess I love drama.

I want to like this series because I’m being entertained, but the entertainment value is like watching a reality show about the Trumps: it’s gross and cringy, and completely unrelatable—but you watch it anyway just to see what’ll happen. Overall, I’m not impressed with this series thus far, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a teen, but if you enjoy this kind of social abuse, drugs, sex, and scandal, you might find this entertaining.

Book Review: Paper Princess

review-cover-paper princessTitle: Paper Princess [The Royals 1]

Author: Erin Watt

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees. 

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

To be honest, Paper Princess by Erin Watt and its entire series was a bit of a mixed bag for me. The writing was clean and easy to read, there weren’t a lot of typos or technical issues with the writing. I was sucked in by the easy narrative voice of Ella, who wasn’t just some simpering teen female lead… but there was so much wrong with the plot and how the romance was put together that I couldn’t help but be uncomfortable as I was reading it.

Reed and Ella’s other male benefactors were, for the most part, terrible people. They were privileged and narcissistic, and they often treated Ella like she was sub-human. Reed, the main male lead, was vindictive and cold, often cruel to Ella… and yet I was asked to believe that there was some hope that the two of them would fall madly in love. Their relationship was unhealthy from the start.

The book ended on an ugly note, and it pretty much summed up how I felt about the book in general. I didn’t like the characters, I was uncomfortable with the interactions between them, but at the same time, I couldn’t stop reading. It was a bit like watching a car crash filmed with exceptional slow-motion cinematography—pretty to watch, but you still can’t help but cringe.