Title: A PRINCESS IN THEORY
Author: Alyssa Cole
Pub. Date: FEBRUARY 27TH 2018
Genre: CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .
Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.
Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.
The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?
Ledi is just what I needed in a main character 😍 she’s a black, independent, intelligent, sexy, NYC girl. Managing multiple jobs to pay off student loans while also pursuing a career in STEM, Ledi isn’t really open to entertaining men. Meeting Thabiso, a mystery man with incredible sex appeal seems a bit SUSPECT but she’s curious enough to see where it goes. I LOVED these characters so much, finding it very easy to get invested in their lives. Sure the romance was off the meters but the cast of supporting characters that are living their own lives were also easy to get hooked on. There’s also humor sprinkled throughout starting with the emails Likotsi (Thabiso’s right hand) sends to Ledi in an effort to get her to accept her real identity & Ledi’s own inner dialogue. There were also some serious subjects tackled along the way such as gaslighting, foster care issues, alcohol abuse, toxic behaviors & co-dependency within friendships. Overall I found this first book in the Reluctant Royals series to be highly enjoyable which of course led me to pick up the next book 🤗
Title: A DUKE BY DEFAULT (RELUCTANT ROYALS #2)
Author: Alyssa Cole
Pub. Date: JULY 31ST 2018
Genre: CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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?
This book had me smiling start to finish! I loved it even more than its predecessor & connected to the MC Portia on so many levels 🖤 Seeing a protagonist who struggles with finishing passion projects & as a result has disappointed family & friends along the way was tough but also very enlightening. I really connected with Portia (MC) as she started a new chapter in life, shedding many toxic behaviors & rebuilding bonds with those who have never left her side. The discussion of undiagnosed childhood disorders was something I greatly appreciated seeing on the page. Book 2 is set in Scotland & our love interest Tavish is a broody divorcé swordsman who runs an armory. Known by her family for being the twin with no follow through & no real focus in a career, she sets off to Scotland after responding to a ad for an apprentice swords-maker. For Portia, the opportunity to learn a new trade & get a change of scenery was all the motivation she needed.
Tavish is 100% focused on his armory & helping those he loves as well as the community. He also has a bit of a jerky attitude he dons as a shield to protect himself from getting hurt again. Meeting Portia & feeling sparks go off was the last thing he’d expect to happen. Gahhhh!!! Haha! Tav is by far my fave guy in a romance book simply because he never allowed Portia her self deprecating moments. He saw greatness in her & made sure to voice it even if it wasn’t in the smoothest of ways haha! I truly enjoyed seeing this relationship play out & last but not least…A+ on the steamiest scenes I’ve ever come across 🙌🏽
Title: LOCK EVERY DOOR
Author: RILEY SAGER
Pub. Date: JULY 2ND 2019
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.
As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid who disturbingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story—until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.
Ok it still stands that I prefer not to read synopsis for thriller/mystery books 😂 I included a partial snippet in the 411 above sans what I considered spoiler bits. This was my first Riley Sager book although I do own two others & I found it to be fairly enjoyable. I read & also listened to the audiobook since I’d heard rave reviews on narration. I agree, the audiobook is A+ & it’s super easy to digest. Set in NYC, we get this Gothic style mystery with an MC who sees herself in a tough predicament when we first meet her. A recent break-up due to a cheating boyfriend leads her to answer an ad for an apartment sitter. Three months at 4K per month sounds too good to be true but to Jules who found herself in debt it was worth looking into. She wasn’t expecting the gig to come with a ton of restrictions but accepted the job nonetheless. Befriending Ingrid at the Bartholomew made things a bit better until Ingrid went missing. We then follow Jules as she falls down the rabbit hole of mysteries that surround the Bart. Missing apartment sitters are actually quite common at the Bart & no one seems to want to talk about it. Told in past & present tense, we follow Jules as she uncovers & recollects the secrets that ultimately lead to a near death experience. One thing I really enjoyed was how every time I thought I had the mystery all figured out, I couldn’t be farther from the truth. Now, I don’t read a ton of mystery and thought that possibly I’m just terrible at picking up on the trail. However, after seeing/reading other reviews, I was comforted by the fact others also struggled figuring this one out before the end 😂 There were definitely some parts I felt dragged & therefore hindered my overall enjoyment. However, I loved the atmospheric vibes Sager brought to the page & I’m really curious to read their other books.
Content Warning: Cheating, abduction, death of a loved one, abandonment, violence, suicide, terminal illness