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.

Book Review: Desert Sheikh vs American Princess

review-cover-desertsheikhvsamericanprincessTitle: Desert Sheikh vs American Princess [Jewels of the Desert 2]

Author: Teresa Morgan

Genre: Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

When he kidnapped a princess, he didn’t count on her…

Walid Al Kalam’s plan is simple. The American Celebutante Noelle Oldrich will remain in his palace until her father pays his debts. Without the money her hotel magnate father owes him, Walid cannot fulfill his commitment to the pipeline that represents the future of the small middle eastern country of Askar.

But Noelle isn’t the passive, agreeable guest that she should rationally be. Instead, the willful American princess disrupts the peace of his home, and his peace of mind. Whether she is running through his courtyard in skin-tight gear or braiding together a rope to lower herself out a window, the intelligent beauty threatens his very sanity.

Enter the pirate princess…

No way will any sheikh keep Noelle Oldrich captive, even if she does want to rip the stuffy suits off the hot Arabic David Beckham clone.
She might be good for nothing but spending money and wearing clothes, but Noelle will escape the sexy sheikh’s palace, no matter what. She has to—no way will her father pay his debt. The only help she’s going to get is from her childhood imaginary friend, a pirate princess who is ready to make the stupid, sexy sheikh walk the plank.

A fabulous jewel…

Noelle’s one chance to pay her own ransom and escape the sheikh’s control is to find the legendary jewel, the Palm of Askar, lost for decades.
If she finds the diamond, Walid will have to let her go, but his drugging kisses threaten to turn her into a willing captive…

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This was an amazingly fun, light-hearted read filled with snarky imaginary friends, a pirate princess, lost treasure, and loads of sexual tension. When I picked up Desert Sheikh vs American Princess, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. I expected your usual formulaic girl meets foreign prince sort of story that has been done a thousand times, and in some ways, that’s what it was–and that’s fine. I like formulaic romance. It’s cosy and familiar, and when all you want is to sit down and read a book that’s going to make you feel good, it’s a great way to fill that need.—but that isn’t all that this story was. There was humor, sexual tension, romance, friendship, and daring escapades.

The characters were fantastic—I loved each and every one of them, especially Bonnie Read, the 11-year-old imaginary friend of the lead character. It was fun to get to see Noelle’s inner child reach out and try her hardest to remind her of who she was (and also get her into a ton of trouble). The sheikh held dominance without being domineering, and though a little slow to warm up, was an all around great guy, and the perfect male lead for Noelle. Noelle herself was equal parts Bonnie—adventurous and rebellious—and her father’s daughter… clever and business savvy. I loved all of them, even the minor characters, and those that were meant to be enemies.

The writing was fluid, clean, and easy to read with the exception of a few minor typos I found here and there, but nothing too jarring as to distract from the story overall. The narrative was fast paced and gripped my attention, and before I knew it, the book was over in a matter of a few hours.

I have to say, overall, I loved the book, and I didn’t expect to. I thought it was going to be yet another formulaic read—nothing special. Instead, I found a hilariously funny read filled with steamy sex, endearing characters, and a fun pirate adventure waiting for me. I couldn’t be more pleased. If you’re looking for a fun, fast-paced romance I would highly recommend that you pick this book up and give it a try.

Book Review: Clockwork Princess [Infernal Devices 3]

 

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Title: Clockwork Princess [The Infernal Devices 3]

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, Steampunk, Historical

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

London 1873 shape-shifter Tessa Gray 16 is engaged to Jem Carstairs 17, dying of addiction to demon drug, all bought up by evil Mortmain. The “clockwork prince” controls an army of automatons to abduct Tess, kill the Shadowhunters, and blackmail Charlotte Branwell, head of London Institute. Will and Tessa hide their love, for love of Jem.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Absolutely beautiful. The Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare is a masterfully written end to a trilogy that will remain on my keeper shelf for years to come. It seems that often these days authors are pushed to extend series well past their breaking point, adding book after book as long as there are readers to buy them. It’s a growing trend that often leads to a drawn-out meandering death for a series–and though I dearly love the characters in the Infernal Devices Trilogy, I think there could have been no better point at which to end it.

Just as with the first two books, the narrative was expertly written to be clear and fluid. I sunk into the world as if it were the only one that existed and didn’t come up for air until the last page was turned. I never felt rushed or prodded along. I never felt the need to roll my eyes, or frustrated, throw the book at a wall (as I often do with YA fiction). This series was truly beautifully written, and in my opinion, even better than Ms. Clare’s other series: The Mortal Instruments. I simply could not get enough of these books.

This addition to the series was both heartbreaking and endearing. I will admit that I nearly broke into tears near the end. It was tragic, and yet full of hope in the final pages of the book, and it felt like I were seeing old friends again as the story wound down and began to close the gaps in the both series with small tidbits and glimpses into what became of the characters. I refuse to give spoilers to this series because I want everyone to experience it as I did. I was pleasantly surprised by Tessa’s actions in the final battle with the Infernal Devices, and surprised again at how the story closed out, but endlessly grateful for the choices the author made in wrapping up the series.

I finally learned to love the secondary characters, even weak Henry and musical Bridget (I finally learned her name and remembered it!) who filled the pages with endless sonnets of tragedy and death. It’s going to be a long time before I find another series I love as much as I did this.

I would highly recommend this series to anyone who even remotely likes Cassandra Clare’s work. Even if you just vaguely enjoyed the Mortal Instruments, I think you’ll love this series. It is so much better, and so much less frustrating–and if you haven’t read her other work, pick it up anyways. It is F A N T A S T I C.

Book Review: Poison Princess

cover-poisonprincessTitle: Poison Princess [The Arcana Chronicles]

Author: Kresley Cole

Genre: Dystopian, Apocalyptic, Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis: Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Last month for my Romance Book-Club, we had two books we were asked to read, and Poison Princess by Kresley Cole was the second of them. To be honest, I was so busy that I didn’t get to it, so this month the first thing I did was read the two books we’d been asked to. Out of the two, I think Poison Princess certainly had the best world building. The book starts with a girl, Evangeline, who has recently  returned to school after spending the summer in a mental institution. For as long as she can remember she’s had visions and hallucinations of the end of the world, and other terrifying images of death and destruction. What she doesn’t realize, is that all of her visions are true. The world is about to end, and Evangeline may be the only person who can save the remnants of what’s left. So starts the journey of Evangeline, her mother, a cajun boy from the wrong side of town, and two wayward teens from another part of the country as the seek out the truth of Evie’s visions, what truly happened when the great flash scorched the Earth to cinders, and what their purpose is in the upcoming battle of the Arcana.

I actually really enjoyed the world building in this book. A great flash that scorches the crust of the Earth in a manner of minutes isn’t an entirely new concept to the end of the world, but it’s certainly a lesser used one. Scientists have been saying for years that if a very large sunflare (which we’re due for in the next 5 years) were to happen, one of two outcomes would become reality. The first, is that all electronic equipment on the face of the Earth would be fried… leaving us back in the stone-age (yes, we are currently preparing for this situation in the US. It’s going to happen.) The second, is that if the sunflare were large enough, it could very well burn up the Earth and make it nearly uninhabitable (This should happen in the next 10,000 years). Kresley Cole went with the second option. It’s a terrifying reality where plants, animals, and water are nearly non-existent, and humans aren’t destined to survive long. Once the few non-perishable supplies are gone, that’s the end of humanity. We can’t live without an ecosystem or sufficient water. I thought Ms. Cole did an excellent job of showing the true desperation of such a situation through her characters and the brutality of how they lived their lives.

As for the characters, well, they irked me a bit. Evangeline was your typical clueless, snobby, teen. It’s almost unfortunate that she was one of the popular kids. She seemed to have a very shallow personality for the majority, if not all, of the book. Generally I like my main characters to be a bit less air-headed, and a lot more determined. Evangeline seemed ready to give up at every turn, and let her teenage angst get in the way of some really critical decisions. She worried more about boys than her own survival, and I found that really irritating.

Jack, on the other hand, was extremely determined, practical, and had a no-nonsense attitude when it came to survival. I really enjoyed him as a character for the most part, except one major character flaw: he was totally in love with Evie… I couldn’t understand it.  He even said at one point that he found her snobbish and useless, and yet he refused to leave her behind. I would have.  I guess overall, I did enjoy the other characters, and they each seemed unique and consistent. Mainly, it was Evie I couldn’t stand.

That aside, The narrative moved fast, was clearly written, and had a fun dark undertone to the story. The use of tarot cards as a basis for the main characters of the story was a unique and interesting way of setting things up that I did like, but I’m not sure I fully understood. Why did the tarot cards have superhero/villain counterparts? I don’t know. Why did they feel the need to battle it out at the end of the world? No idea. Either way, it was still fun, and I really enjoyed it.

I do have to admit though, that I greatly disliked the ending of the story. (SPOILERS AHEAD) It seemed like, the entire story I was rooting for Evie to not turn into the red witch. She tried so hard to be good and avoid killing people… and then at the end.. she turned wholly evil. What? How did this happen? Why did this happen? Jack was terrified of her, and it just seems to me that she threw everything she’d been working towards during the course of the book out the window. I was NOT happy.(End of spoilers)

Overall, I really liked the story. It was engaging, well written, and a unique take on the apocalypse. It wasn’t what I was expecting (I don’t know why I was expecting an actual princess to be in a book called Poison Princess!) but it was fun all the same. I’d certainly recommend it to anyone who likes Dystopian, Fantasy, or angsty teen novels.