Review: The Crown Prince’s Bride

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Crown Prince’s BrideThe Crown Prince's Bride (Royal Duology #2) by Donna Alward
Series: Princes of Marazur #2
Published by Swerve on January 9th 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 250
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: Lovely, lovely story of two adults working through their relationship. I loved how these two talked and addressed the difficulties of their relationship as adults. Sweet and sexy read.

THE STORY: Stephani loves her job as the assistant to the Crown Prince of Marazur. But she also has a secret — she has been in love with Raoul for years. Stephani was able to live with her unrequited love when Raoul was married to Stephani’s cousin. Now that Raoul is a widower, however, Stephani realizes that she cannot spend the rest of her life pining for Raoul. Raoul doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life alone, but falling in love again seems impossible. But a chance kiss with his assistant is something that he cannot stop thinking about.

OPINION: I loved this book which is a friends to lovers story and the story of how someone can learn to love again after loss. The story is about mature people making mature decisions and (apart from one dramatic plot twist) is mostly about these two talking through their problems.

In a characterization that gives one relief about who is running the governments of the world, Raoul is a mature, serious heir and father. Indeed, his problem is that he is too responsible and too concerned about things being figured out and right. Although he is attracted to Stephani, he worries a lot about every move they make in their relationship.

Stephani is also a mature adult who has a career that she is good at (her job as Raoul’s assistant isn’t just an excuse for these two to be in close contact). The book takes seriously both of these characters concerns about getting involved in a relationship.

I liked these characters and their exploration of their relationship. My one complaint is that I wish we had gotten more with Stephani and Raoul’s children. Most of the story is getting the kids of out of the way in order to progress their relationship, but I wish we could have seen more of them together rather than being told how good Stephani’s relationship is with his kids.

Enjoyable without getting too dark and serious, this book also satisfies a romantic heart.

WORTH MENTIONING: The romance is on the sweeter side as most of the sex scenes occur behind closed doors (and between chapters).

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE CROWN PRINCE’S BRIDE is the second book in the Princes of Marazur series. The books operates as a standalone but because of the overlapping characters it reads better after the first book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to be able to write a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: The Playboy Prince and the Nanny

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Playboy Prince and the NannyThe Playboy Prince and the Nanny (Royal Duology #1) by Donna Alward
Published by Swerve on August 1st 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A sweet romance that harkens back to my days devouring category romances.  The story is pretty clean and focused on the couple. Sweet read that I enjoyed because of the characters.  This was a book I finished with a warm heart.

THE STORY:  Rose Walters comes to Marazur to take over being nanny for the two royal children whose mother just died.  While there, she ends up spending time with “the spare” Prince Diego.  Diego has been known as a playboy who flits around the world, but the family tragedy brings him back home and gives him a purpose to help his family including his brother and niece and nephew heal.  Of course, it also brings him in constant contact with the new nanny.  A woman he can’t get off his mind.

OPINION:  I found this an enjoyable read. The characters and the story was uncomplicated and really focuses on these nice people navigating external events that threaten their potential relationship.

Years before I became obsessed with dark and angst filled dramatic romances, I read just about every Silhouette, Loveswept, Harlequin, Second Chance at Love, and numerous other category romances.  The stories were mostly simple and focused on the couple overcoming plot devices that threatened their relationship.  I read hundreds, maybe thousands, of those stories and was happy with those stories.

This book is a slightly more sophisticated version of those stories.  The characters are nice and the romance is sweet.  I enjoyed the connection between the characters and the fairy tale quality of the nanny falling for the prince.  (And the playboy prince falling head over heels for the slightly wallflower nanny!!) Rose and Diego are such nice people and the real complication is their relative positions (prince versus nanny) and some external threats that I don’t want to give away.

While the story is definitely on the sweet side, I so much enjoyed the interaction between Diego and Rose which was romantic and gentle and warmed my heart.

I look forward to the companion book in this series about Diego’s brother because this book left me with good feelings.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is a pretty clean romance with some kisses and one act of premarital sex off screen.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE PLAYBOY PRINCE AND THE NANNY is the first book in the Princes of Marazur series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a review or write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: The Rancher’s Runaway Princess

Review: The Rancher’s Runaway PrincessThe Rancher's Runaway Princess (Larch Valley #1) by Donna Alward
Series: Larch Valley #1, Princes of Marazur #0.5
Published by Harlequin Enterprises LTD on April 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 187
Goodreads
two-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Nice story, but it was uneven.  I liked the second half much more than the first half.

THE STORY: Lucy Farnsworth has come to Canada to check out a horse farm for the royal family of Marazur.  She becomes attracted to rancher Brody Hamilton, but Lucy is keeping a secret.  She is actually Princess Luciana, the daughter of the King of Marazur.  Lucy discovered this only as her mother was dying and Lucy has had her world turned upside down.  Her father has offered her the opportunity to perform this task in order to give herself some space from her new life.  But as she falls for Brody, her deception becomes more of a problem.

OPINION:  The story here was nice and for those who are looking for a sweet read, this is a nice one.  For me, however, I want more passion between the characters.  Both Brody and Lucy are too nice.  Their conflicts didn’t feel like they were something that could not be overcome.

Brody is a brooding and hurt man.  He has been burned before so as he becomes more and more attracted to Lucy, he acts out in response.  Lucy is confused about her own life and she is keeping the secret of her true identity as a princess.  (Thus, it is perfectly reasonable that Brody doesn’t trust her).

I’m not against sweet books without sex, but I didn’t think there was enough emotional passion to keep the story going.  Rather, the story is premised primarily on the secrets that both Brody and Lucy are keeping.

The story picked up in the second half and if the entire book was as compelling as the first half, I would have given it a better rating.  I thought in the second half as the two get closer, there was a more interesting and personal story.

I liked this story but there was not enough meat here to make this a book that I will think about in a month.  Rather, this is a sweet one time read.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is definitely a book in the sweet category.  There is nothing more than kissing between the characters.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE RANCHER’S RUNAWAY PRINCESS is the first book in the Larch Valley series.  It is also the prequel to the Princes of Marazur series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 2.5 stars.

two-half-stars