So, I really, really LOVE me some Tessa Dare. Now, I’m a bigger fan of her contemporary romances, but I still enjoy the historical romances for what they are. That being said, all I can say about this one is that it was just okay. Seriously, I started and finished the quick read yesterday, so it wasn’t tough to get through, but I already can’t remember the storyline. I guess that means the novel is pretty much forgettable, and that’s what makes it just okay.
Since I must offer a summary, I quickly looked back at the book and now I remember! Tessa Dare gives us a rather likeable heroine in Izzy Goodnight, the daughter of the recently-deceased and much-loved author of The Goodnight Tales, a popular serial novel that has taken England by storm. Izzy has been struggling financially since her father’s death, but she ends up inheriting a decrepit castle from her pseudo godfather. Unfortunately (well, really fortunately), this castle is inhabited by handsome Random, the Duke of Rothbury, who was blinded the previous year in a duel. What else is there to say? They bicker during a number of fairly minor complications and end up falling passionately in love. What else do we expect? Nothing, for an average, just okay, historical romance, and that’s what we get.
Yes, it’s predictable, but Izzy is sweet, funny, and endearingly desperate. Random is wounded, gruff, and hiding a big heart. See, the clichés do certainly continue. Tessa Dare does manage to weave in the story-within-a-story element with The Goodnight Tales, which reminds me a bit of The Princess Bride. The Tales has such a following that poor Izzy has to deal with role-playing fans (19th century LARPers) dressed as knights and handmaidens following her around. Needless to say, the Duke is not a fan of their disruptions.
No need for a real spoiler alert here. Everything ends up just as every reader expects. ***TINY SPOILER ALERT*** However, I was slightly surprised when it turns out that the actual author of The Goodnight Tales is and always has been Izzy, not her father. However, I shouldn’t have been surprised. When I thought back on the story, Dare actually gives countless hints. No one, except this sleep-deprived mom, should be shocked by the twist. ***SPOILER OVER***
If you want a little candy for your brain, Romancing the Duke will offer some satisfaction, but it won’t likely fully relieve your craving.
If you like sweet love/redemption stories with bad boys and good girls, this is totally for you.
So, Lanie’s back. (Remember her? The Russian mob murdered her fiancée and nearly her back in Motorcycle Man) It’s been seven years since she was shot when her fiancée used her as a shield in a rain of gunfire—I know, total douchebag move, but he was already mixed with some bad dudes just because he wanted to give her the wedding of the century. He’s not exactly known for great decision making. Anyway, after a long dry spell, she’d like to get back into the dating scene. Sort of. Really she just wants one night of hot biker sex with Hop Kincaid (Tack’s lieutenant). Hop is more than willing to help out. There’s only one problem: he’s falling fast for her, and she’s doing everything she can to back away.
This story sort of breaks the typical Kristen Ashley plot rules. First of all, there aren’t really any bad guys going in the story. I mean there are plenty of characters who aren’t going to win awards for pleasant behavior, but no one is actively trying to physically hurt Lanie or Hop. (I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop with the whole Benito situation, but I guess that’s for the next book.) This is a simple, straight love story. Hop isn’t the typical alpha male lead I’m used to, either. He’s still super bossy, but he lets Lanie take the lead in almost every aspect of their relationship. Hop also enjoys Lanie’s dramatic overreactions. Lanie, on the other hand, is a typical KA heroine. She’s smart, strong, and sassy. Still, her past has stunted her emotionally, and she’s fighting tooth and nail to keep Hop out of her heart. Ultimately, the plot line wasn’t as fast paced as usual. Still it was a sweet love story where I found myself rooting for both main characters about two chapters in.
Plot: (2.5 / 5)
I liked the story, but I wanted more action. I’m used to lots of it when it comes to Kristen Ashley books. I feel like this was maybe just a set up book for the next action packed Chaos MC book.
Writing: (3 / 5)
The fighting between the main characters in this book is where it’s at. They get down and dirty quickly. The other dialogue is dead-on funny. I love that I get to see Hop’s thoughts every once in a while. Still, there’s a lot (a lot) of description that could be left out.
Characters: (4 / 5)
Characters are always the best part in Kristen Ashley books. Lanie is heart wrenchingly broken. You feel for her from the moment you start reading, especially if you read Motorcycle Man first. Hop is sweet and sexy. I loved seeing more of Tack and Tyra. I wish I had seen a little bit of Shy and Tab. It would have been awesome to see Shy confront Hop over his ridiculously bad behavior in Own The Wind.
(4 / 5)
Okay, so Sander, Mattias, and Chey are all back, and holy heck, if you thought there was drama before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
The story picks up just a few days after King and Kingdom left off. Sander has decided to bring Chey out of hiding and deal with his parents head on. The king and queen swiftly (and rudely, I might add) decline Sander’s invitation to accept Chey as his newly betrothed. Within days, the nefarious rulers have figured out a way to exile not just Chey but also Sander, permanently. Sander and Mattias must work together quickly to uncover their father’s secrets. Chey isn’t sitting on the sidelines either, and what she discovers might be the biggest secret of all.
Seriously, I read this novel in one sitting. The drama and intrigue of the royal family totally swept me away. The story is twisty and turny. I’m constantly surprised at what happens next. In this third installment, the king definitely ups his evil ante. Sander uncovers murders, mayhem, and many mommy issues. Luckily, his brother Mattias has his back. In the meantime, Chey seems to be going off the deep end emotionally. Despite that, she truly finds the key to ending the king’s reign of terror. In the end, of course, it all works out, but not nearly in the way you think it will. I can’t wait to read the fourth installment. What could possibly happen next?
Plot: (4 / 5)
It’s always a wild ride with the Latvala royals, and this book was no exception. The fast paced plot left my head spinning. As soon as I thought an issue was resolved, it imploded to become something much worse. That’s what makes these books so fun (besides the sweet love story).
Writing: (3 / 5)
Listen, I’d really like to give this four stars. Ms. Bourdon sets up wonderful plot twists and definitely keeps the reading exciting. Still, she includes even more diary entries in this book. That’s really the only place the writing falls flat. I’m guessing the diary might be important in the end, but for now I just don’t get it.
Characters: (5 / 5)
The characters totally make this series. I love Sander, Mattias, and Chey. They work well together. I was super happy to see more of Mattias in this book. (I think he gets his own book later. I definitely have to pick that up.) The introduction of Prince Gunner at the end of the story is interesting. I’m anxious to see where his story arc will go.
(4 / 5)
Chey and her Prince Charming are back!!! I love this couple and this series. I started the second book about 10 minutes after I finished the first in the series. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a fairy tale romance.
King and Kingdom picks up a few days after Heir Untamed leaves off. Chey has officially decided to stay in Latvala and be courted by the gorgeous and incredibly cunning Prince Dare. Guess who’s not happy? Every other royal (except Mattias, always except Mattias). After a last minute romantic getaway goes terribly wrong, Chey finds herself back in Seattle with no way to contact Sander. She and her best friend quickly come up with a scheme to win Sander back, but it seems someone more devious is just as determined to keep the lovers apart. Chey must decide if Sander is worth risking her life for one more time.
Like I said, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I didn’t think the last book wrapped up the mystery well enough, and I was totally right. There are some dark forces at play in the Latvala palace, and I’m still not sure I can pin them all down. Sander is super dreamy throughout the book. Chey is off her game but with good reason. She has to watch the love of her life do the unthinkable. The scene (you’ll know it when you read it) is killer. I had to stop myself from throwing my Kindle across the room. Don’t worry though. You can always count on Sander (and Mattias) to come through in the end. I can’t wait to read the next book.
Plot: (4 / 5)
This series has more twists and turns than a roller coaster. I’m always guessing until the end with these books, and that doesn’t happen often.
Writing: (3 / 5)
I really only take this down one star because of the sudden introduction of Chey’s best friend. Her omission from the first book seemingly calm reaction about Chey’s sudden disappearance to Latvala and mysterious return don’t ring true. However, once you get past the initial weirdness, it’s fine. She’s total best friend material.
Characters: (4 / 5)
I heart Sander and Chey. They are great together. They’re great apart. The villains are fabulous to hate. I only wish I got to see more Prince Mattias in this book.
This book is a dream come true for anyone girl who’s dreamed of falling in love with a prince.
Chey is desperate for a job when opportunity, literally, comes knocking at her door. With nothing to lose, she uproots her entire life and heads to the small country of Latvala to become the official photographer of the royal family. Chey is stunned by the beauty of the palace and royal family, especially the flirty Prince Mattias. But nothing is really as it seems. Within days, Chey is attacked in her own room. Is someone jealous of her budding relationship with the prince? Is Sander, the mysterious head of security, hiding information that may keep her safe? Chey needs to figure it out before she ends up dead.
Listen, I’m the kind of girl that reads the last three pages of a book before beginning it. This book still kept me guessing to the very end. The premise is a little sketchy, but once I was a chapter in I totally forgot. The mystery kept me on my toes, and my head was spinning as to which romantic interest I wanted to win out. The most delicious part of this book is the happy ending. Still, I’m not so sure this mystery is really solved. I’m very sure the royal family has a few more secrets up its sleeve, and I can’t wait to read about it in the next installment.
Plot: (3 / 5)
This story is clearly a set up book. The plot moves quickly, but the entire time, I knew it was setting me up for bigger, better (or badder as the case may be) things to come. The story line is a bit unbelievable, but it’s easy to suspend your disbelief and get wrapped up in the royal intrigue.
Writing: (3 / 5)
As I mentioned, there are a few plot holes, but the author makes up for it with witty banter throughout the book. I love how she writes the chemistry between Chey and Sander and Chey and Mattias. Also there’s hella good bitchy sister writing.
Characters: (4 / 5)
The characters are the highlight of the book. Chey is sweet but smart. Sander is super hot, and Prince Dare is quite the mystery. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love Mattias. If nothing else, read this book to meet these characters.