Royal Romance for THIRD DAUGHTER–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a YA fantasy/adventure/romance that I just adore from Susan Kaye Quinn. THIRD DAUGHTER is the first book in a series that follows the path of a young princess who’s determined to save her country from war, and marry the love of her heart. It’s a sweet series and, with THIRD DAUGHTER currently FREE in ebook form on Amazon, it’s a great way to get started. I’ve read and LOVED both SECOND DAUGHTER and FIRST DAUGHTER, which continue this adventure and love story to completion.

third-daughterAbout the book:
Sneaking out of the palace wasn’t one of Aniri’s best ideas.
But she’s the Third Daughter of the Queen of Dharia—zero responsibilities and zero royal duties. She’s just the backup daughter, in case her older sisters’ arranged marriages—to take the crown or broker an alliance—don’t quite work out. But once Aniri reaches her 18th birthday, she’ll be truly free, and then she can marry the charming fencing instructor she meets for fevered kisses in the forest.

But then the impossible happens—a marriage proposal. From a barbarian prince in the north, no less. And if Aniri refuses, the threat of their new flying weapon might bring war.

So she agrees to the young prince’s proposal, but only as a subterfuge to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she doesn’t love. But once she arrives in the sweeping mountains of the north, she discovers the prince has his own secrets… and saving her country may end up breaking her heart.

This Bollywood-style royal romance takes you to an alternate East Indian world filled with skyships, saber duels, and lots of royal intrigue.

How about a little taste?

“I love you, Aniri,” Devesh whispered.

When he pulled back, she smiled. “I hate to tell you this, Dev, but I already knew that.”

“If you go off with this Prince Malik, and anything happens to you, the Queen may dispense an army to come after you, but I will beat them there.”

Aniri drew in a shaky breath. Prince Malik said he would allow her a lover, even though arranged marriages were expected to be true marriages, especially among royalty. But could she live that kind of life? A secret love on the side while performing the duties of Queen in a foreign land? The idea made her shudder. It pained her every day her love for Devesh was kept hidden. She couldn’t imagine a lifetime of it. Nor could she picture Devesh, with his love of the court and all things political, banished to the frozen wastelands of the north simply to be her consort.

He must have seen the emotions warring across her face. “Tell him no, Aniri. Refuse him and come away with me. We could leave today.”

“Dev—”

He cut her off with a kiss. “We could return to Samir,” he whispered against her lips. “We won’t be rich, but we could travel anywhere you wished, all the places your father would have taken you. We would have all the time in the world. To be together. To learn the truth about your father’s killers. To make a family of our own.”

It was precisely what they had planned. Now it all seemed like a hopeless fantasy. “Dev, I can’t simply abandon my country. If I refuse Malik, and there is war to pay, I cannot just run away… Is this the confidence you wanted to tell me?”

Devesh looked torn, like there was something more he wanted to say but was holding it back. “I cannot offer you a Queendom, Aniri. My love is all I can promise. I hope it is enough to convince you to refuse Prince Malik’s offer.”

He stepped back, and with clasped hands and a short bow, he turned and strode away. Her heart tried to beat its way out of her chest to follow him. If she accepted Prince Malik’s offer, she would lose the man she loved.

Unlike the Jungali prince, she wasn’t sure that was a price she was willing to pay.

My Review:
If you had to marry for love or marry for peace, what would you choose? That’s the question facing Princess Aniri, Third Daughter to the Queen of Dharia.

It’s two weeks until Aniri turns eighteen and can choose to marry her beau–Devesh, a courtesan and emissary from Samir, a neighboring nation and trade partner. Her two older sisters have already married men that complement their station, even when love is not present, and Aniri is determined to follow her heart, not her duty.

Especially when her duty involves marrying Prince Malik, heir to the throne of the barbarous northern Jungali provinces. No. No! NO!

Except, Aniri knows she can’t decline outright–and rumors of a Jungali airship weapon are serious indeed. If Aniri accepts the prince’s proposal she can get close enough to find out if the airship is real–and maybe she can help her homeland and her mother’s Queendom figure out how to avoid a war.

Prince Malik makes it easy on Aniri–he tells her their marriage would be one of business. That she could (discreetly) take a lover if she wished. Hmm… And her mother, the Queen, assures her that the choice is hers.

Aniri does what she must–becomes a spy. I loved her reactions to the “barbarians” she encounters on her journey north! Oh, how sweet to have her realize, “Hey, they’re pretty awesome in their own way!” Then Devesh shows up and tells her the airship is a ruse–a trick to get her to marry Malik. After which she will be killed and her beloved country Dharia overrun by Samir and Jungali. Aniri doesn’t know whom to believe, and espionage is not her strong suit. The political intrigue is high and Aniri barely escapes an attempt on her life.

The tension is fierce throughout. Each new chapter brings Aniri closer to either love, or death. We get a fantastic steampunk world, with an East Indian flair, and a strong female main character who picks up the ball and runs her hardest. Even when she fumbles, Aniri is worthy of cheers because she learns from her mistakes and never quits.

What I hadn’t expected, and thoroughly adored, was Malik’s assistance. He realizes his only shot at peace is this marriage, and he’s willing to trust a confessed spy with the biggest military secret of his country. Aniri could never have learned what was necessary to save her people without Malik earning her forever trust. And Devesh? Well, perhaps an on-the-side lover isn’t the best place for him in the Jungali court. In the end, Aniri does choose her own husband. And she chooses very well indeed.

Three words to describe this Third Daughter? Indomitable. Passionate. Resourceful. She’s my kind of heroine.

And, can I say the cover is exquisite? The internal art (chapter headings and section breaks) is just as lovely, and speaks volumes about the care that went into making this book. I absolutely LOVED it, and would recommend it to any YA reader. Its smidgen of passion–some swoony kisses–won’t make you blush, but will get your heart beating.

Interested? You can find THIRD DAUGHTER at Goodreads, it’s currently FREE on Amazon, and on paperback through Barnes & Noble.

About the Author:
Susan Kaye Quinn is a rocket scientist turned speculative fiction author who now uses her PhD to invent cool stuff in books. Her works range from young adult science fiction to adult future-noir, with side trips into steampunk and middle grade fantasy. Her bestselling novels and short stories have been optioned for Virtual Reality, translated into German, and featured in several anthologies.

She writes full-time from Chicago, inventing mind powers and dreaming of the Singularity. You can find out what she’s up to by subscribing to her newsletter (hint: new subscribers get a free short story!).

Catch up with Susan on her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!

Now Available: ROYALLY SCREWED!

rs-fb-now-ad-2Hi there! Just getting out the word on a new contemporary romance from bestselling author Emma Chase. I absolutely loved TANGLED, and ROYALLY SCREWED sounds like the great start to a sexy-funny series.

royally-screwed-for-webAbout the book:
Emma Chase, New York Times bestselling author of the Tangled Series & Legal Briefs Series, returns with the first of three sizzling standalone books about a family of racy, irresistible Royals.
Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness”, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant—hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face. Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately—the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia—Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is, but more importantly, who he wants to be: a King… or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

How about a little taste?

“I have a plan.”

We’re in the library of the suite. Nicholas is behind the desk, his hair falling still damp over his forehead from a recent shower, while James and Tommy stand near the windows.

“Take off your clothes,” I say, dropping a stuffed backpack at my feet.

He stands, giving me a curious, dimple-flashing smile that makes my stomach tingle.

“I like this plan.”

He pulls his shirt over his head—and at the sight of that gorgeous chest and ripped abs, I have to close my mouth to stop the flow of drool.

“Should I send the lads to their room?” he asks.

I toss him a Beastie Boys T-shirt and ripped jeans from the backpack. “They can stay—I’ll get to them in a second.”

Nicholas puts on the outfit, his disguise for the day. I hold up a thick gold chain with a dangling cross, and he dips his head so I can loop it over his neck. Then I squirt gel into my hand and reach up on tiptoes to rub it through his hair—mussing it at the top and slicking the sides.

Perfect.

“Do you know how to drive a motorcycle?”

“Yes.”

“Excellent.” I pull a helmet with a full, tinted face shield out of the backpack and hold it up. “Marty’s bike is downstairs. He said to tell you: break it, you bought…a Ducati.”

Logan steps into the room from where he was stationed just outside the door, lifting his hand, like a traffic cop. “Hold on, now—”

Nicholas takes the helmet. “It’ll be fine, Logan.”

“And,” I say cautiously, turning to the three big, strong, probably-have-a-license-to-kill boys. “I want Nicholas and me to go on this outing alone. You guys stay here.”

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph.” Tommy says.

James makes the sign of the cross.

Logan takes another route. “No fuckin’ way. Not possible.”

But the look on Nicholas’s face says it’s definitely possible.

“No,” Logan insists again, his voice straining with a faint hint of desperation.

“I have an itinerary.” I take the sealed envelope out of the backpack and hand it to Logan. “I wrote everything down for you, just in case—exactly where we’ll be, every minute.” When he starts to tear it open I put my hand on his. “You can’t open it until after we’re gone—it’ll ruin the surprise. But I promise it will be all right. I swear on my life.”

My eyes drift from Logan to Nicholas. “Trust me.”

And I want him to—so much. I want to do this for him, give him something he hasn’t had. Something he’ll remember always: freedom.

Nicholas looks at the helmet, then at Logan. “What’s the worst that could happen?”

“Ah…you could get assassinated and the three of us will hang for treason.”

“Don’t be silly,” Nicholas scoffs. “We haven’t hung anyone in years.” He smacks Logan’s back. “It’d be the firing squad.”

This one sure sounds yummy!

Swoon!!
Interested? You can find ROYALLY SCREWED on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Audible, and IndieBound.

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About the Author:
Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

You can catch up with Emma online on her website, Facebook and twitter.

Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!
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Reality Bites in HIS ROYAL FAVORITE-A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a fabulous contemporary M/M royalty romance from Lilah Pace. HIS ROYAL FAVORITE is the sequel to HIS ROYAL SECRET, but I found it easy to enjoy despite not having read the first book.

His Royal Favorite (His Royal Secret, #2)About the book:

The conclusion of Lilah Pace’s racy, romantic male/male duology following His Royal Secret…

James, Prince of Wales, is making history. He’s decided to come out to his subjects—and the world. However, telling the truth means exposing his relationship with lone-wolf reporter Benjamin Dahan. Although Ben never wanted commitment, the unexpected depth of his feelings leads him to join James in the media’s harsh spotlight.

When the news story explodes across the globe, Ben can endure the mockery and dirty jokes. But after his tragic past is cruelly revealed, his life begins to implode. Can even his love for James be worth this?

James has it no easier. His revelation divides the country and sparks turmoil within the royal family. He must struggle to defend not only himself and Ben, but also his younger sister, who hovers on the brink of a breakdown that could endanger her life.

Is Ben strong enough to survive the onslaught and stand by James’ side? And will James have to make a choice between Ben and the crown?

My Review: 

Ben and James met in Kenya, nearly six months ago. Ben is a financial reporter who has traveled the world and seen a lot, but suffered the deaths of his parents when he was young, and also the cruel manipulations of a much elder lover when he was just a boy. James is the Prince of Wales, next in  line for the throne. They reconnect in London, and their clandestine relationship has grown to the point of love. To risk a spoiler of the first book, James is now the Price Regent, leading the monarchy as his grandfather ails. His uncle, Prince Richard, is none-too-pleased to learn of James sexuality, and certainly sees how he can use this to his own benefit.

James has decided that he can no longer live in the closet, and he’s given Ben the opportunity to walk away–but both men feel a love deeper than either expected, and Ben agrees to come out by James’ side. And it’s horrible.

Yep. The tabloids. The royal in-fighting. Ben’s personal insecurities about all the beautiful young gay men being foisted at James, men more suitable partners for their aristocratic blood and genteel manners. Plus, Ben’s job is a source of stress, as a leak seems to be spilling into the papers, there. James is heartsick for all the Ben has lost, but joyous that he can love his man openly.

There are many bumps in this road, and not all of them are relationship based. James’ sister, Princess Amelia, is unwell, and has been since their parents died. Her self-harm is at the crisis stage, and James knows that once his “reign” ends, he’ll have no power to get her the psychiatric help she needs; the rest of their family would never institutionalize her for fear of the scandal. And, Richard’s been very chatty with the Archbishop regarding the impossibility of an openly gay man becoming the Governor of the Church of England, as James will, when his grandfather dies and he continues in succession. A grand objection from the church would nullify James’ coronation, and he’d not fight for the crown, if it came to that.

Beyond the political, the love story is one that simmers and boils. There are many questions for each man to face, and it’s new to each of them. Neither has had a stable adult relationship before, and they are terrifyingly in love, but is it enough to overcome all the stumbling blocks? Ben is an intensely private man, and he’s being plastered all over the tabloids. He’s fiercely independent, and the security needs relegate him to giving up his flat and essentially moving in with James. His job? Oh man, that’s the worst part.

So, it’s an HEA, but in a very realistic way. Life does not go back to “normal” as it cannot, but there are new expectations of normal, and new paths to forge, together. Ben must adapt to life in the spotlight, at least for now, and he gets assistance from some unlikely partners. I really liked how that part worked, because I wanted to see a bridge built between Ben and James’ friends. There is so much bittersweet going on, but the undercurrent of honest love and affection is the most delicious bit. The Epilogue sweeps up nicely all the leftover bits, and helps the reader know that this is a real and true happiness that lasts, not simply the giddiness of first love. No, we can expect that James and Ben make a life together.

The whole pomp and circumstance of the Royals is not really my thing, but this book gave it more than just a fantasy role. It’s hard work, and constant pressure, and a whole lot of protocol that keeps it all in order. While I hadn’t much interest previously, I definitely gained a larger appreciation for the institution and I surely loved James for all his selflessness in executing his duties. Ben did, too, and was a giant support when James needed him. Their tenderness was so beautiful, but their sexytimes were tons of fun, too.

Interested? You can find HIS ROYAL FAVORITE on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Author:

Lilah Pace is a pseudonym for a New York Times bestselling author, so she can’t give away too much about herself here, but she has lived everywhere from Italy to the United Kingdom before putting down roots in the American South.

She’s addicted to Diet Coke, loves her dog, and daydreams about several British movie stars (though usually no more than two at a time).

And while it took her a long while to get up the courage to write books, now she hopes she’ll never stop.

Catch up with Lilah online on her website, twitter, and Facebook.

Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!