Audio Series Review: The Royals by Erin Watt

Series:
Narrator: Angela Goethals, Zachary Webber
  • The Royals Series by Erin Watts

Title: Paper Princess (Book 1); Broken Prince (Book 2); Twisted Palace (Book 3) by Erin Watt
Series: The Royals
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Format: Audiobook (about 9 hours each)
Published By: Everafter Romance; Audible
Purchase Links:
• •

four-half-stars

What a page turner. These books were so engaging, full of angst so be prepared to read the entire series without coming up for air. I must say that Erin Watt impressed me with their versatility as authors. This book featured a solid character building, plot development and completely absorbing story. What I liked best about this series written by Erin Watt (the duo Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick) was the fact that this new adult romance was uncomfortable, disconcerting but yet incredibly addicting. The characters were developed in such a way that you both liked and disliked them but you were secretly hoping for them to be redeemed. It was a wild ride.


In Book 1 can best be described as a sort of rags to riches, but with a touch of Pretty woman, Cinderella, Beauty & the Beast. the reader is introduced to Ella’s past and shown how she came to be a fighter and street smart. The heroine Ella Harper has been through a lot but when it seems like she can’t be in a worse situation, an angel named Callum Royal appears. Ella is rescued from her life of poverty and transported to castle where Royals reign supreme.
Then Ella is rescued by her father’s best friend Callum Royal where she comes to live with his family, including five sons. Book 1 illustrates the transition of the Royal brothers hating Ella and treat her abominably to Ella eventually gaining their acceptance and esteem as a sister. Ella’s transition from public school into a highly prestigious prep school called Park Prep was full of teenage drama. In fact, that school was mean girls meets the old Eastside High from the movie Lean on Me starring Morgan Freeman. Their school theme song should have been “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns-n-Roses. I’m not sure what would be harder, Park Prep or prison. Both institutions had bullies, hardened criminals and administrators that look the other way. It was a good thing Ella had experience from her days working at the strip club or she would have been destroyed by those rich kids. I could see the “good guys” lurking behind every mean word and action aimed at extinguishing Ella’s esteem, well from the Royals, not so much the school kids. Eventually, Ella and Reed Royal make a love connection, which puts them in a precarious position.
By the end of the book, Battle lines and alliances were revealed between the major players, Callum, Reed, Ella, Easton versus Brooke (Callum’s ex), Dinah (Ella’s stepmother), the Delacorte family from Park Prep school. It was intense to say the least. This book ends in a wicked cliffhanger so make sure to have book two ready to go.


Book 2 presented a change in narration, where the story was primarily told from Reed’s perspective as opposed to the first book where Ella was the primary story teller. It gives Reed the opportunity to introduce himself to the readers and attempt to explain his behavior.
The bulk of the story focused on the rebuilding of the broken trust between Ella Harper and Reed Royal as well as the unveiling of more family secrets. Ella’s father Steve who had been presumed dead returned so that shifts the battle lines a bit.
I didn’t feel like the authors really fleshed out Brooke and Dinah’s relationship as well as motivations at all. Plus, I can’t help but wonder if the real love relationship is between Callum and Steve. Again, this book ends in a cliffhanger as a major character is murdered.


In the third and final book in this angst-filled trilogy, I expected many of my long-standing questions to be address. I was somewhat disappointed because now I felt strung along for a long time.
In this book 3, The Royals are the town pariah right now, with the murder charge still shining a negative light on the Royals and more specifically Reed. I never doubted that Reed and Ella would figure out how to keep their relationship afloat. I knew the Royals would end up on top but I wanted to know who was getting the best of them and why. I also like the ceasefire with Jordan, but I would have liked to know that Jordan was turning over a new leaf in general. Most importantly, I wanted to know how the murderer got away for so long and who aided the murderer. I was right about the murderer but correct on the why and how. I was still confused as the nature of everyone’s relationships. These unanswered questions have left me dangling on but I still enjoyed this screwed up Royal Family.

With all that said, I need these questions answered.
Did Brooke not share with Dinah what she learned, or did Dinah know it before?
Did Steve erase the videos because Reed wasn’t the only one there?
Did Dinah know what really happened to her bestfriend?
What really happened with Steve?
How was Callum so oblivious about Steve?
What was the real deal with Gideon and Dinah? How could an intelligent guy like Gideon not seek easily available legal advice regarding Dinah?
How could Callum know about Reed & Brooke and not Gideon & Dinah, especially with all the cameras in the house?
So is Easton an addict and what’s the family going to do about it?
And Steve…I don’t understand Steve’s motivations at all.

Ezi

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9 by Colleen Hooveron 2015-11-10
Pages: 320
AmazonB&NNarrator: Angela Goethals, Zachary Webber
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist. Can Ben’s relationship with Fallon—and simultaneously his novel—be considered a love story if it ends in heartbreak?
three-half-stars

I was completely engrossed in this book.
The writing was sweet, suspenseful and just so intriguing. Colleen Hoover has a way with words and I couldn’t stop listening to this audio. I smiled a lot and thought the Ben is was just too good to be true, but it was okay because good guys rule and Fallon deserved a good guy. This book was a solid 4-5 stars until about 65% in when the twist was revealed.
And then it was balloon pop photo: boom 1238064149bubble9108489.gif The bubble popped.
Of course I was enjoying this book. I had read it already. Or rather, a very similar version of this book Ten Tiny Breathes by K.A. Tucker.

At this point, I obviously know how it plays out. But my mind immediately began making comparisons. Which book did I prefer? Which author told this story better? So on and so forth.
Upon reflection, I decided that I liked the other book better for a few reasons. First, I read it first so now it’s not an original concept. Second, the pain in the other book was more palpable and realistic. That made more sense to me and worked better. The events that transpired were life altering and book 1 portrayed it better. Third, the resolution and ending in the other book seemed more appropriate because extensive therapy should really be incorporated for the characters to get  to place of healing and forgiveness, even before the HEA. Fourth, the relationship in the other book was developed in a more realistic manner and secondary characters were incorporated better.

With that said, I do like the way Colleen Hoover told this story and how she incorporated the date. I really did like it a lot. I love the way everything revolved around the date. I wish we just had a little more focus on Fallon’s life outside the dates, by herself at her new life in NY. We didn’t really get to see her journey and the changes she was making in her bid for a career comeback.

Overall, Colleen Hoover is still one of the best writers in this genre. I just experienced this story done slightly better.

About Colleen Hoover

#1 NYT bestselling author of books that will destroy you, then put you back together.

Colleen Hoover is the author of ten New York Times bestselling novels. She self-published her first novel, SLAMMED, in 2012. Five months later it debuted on The New York Times. Colleen has since signed with Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.

The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar @TantorAudio

The Paper Swan by Leylah Attar @TantorAudioon November 17, 2015
Pages: 390 pages
AmazonNarrator: Shirl Rae, Zachary Webber
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
They lie.
For 21 days she held on.
But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.
Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.


A haunting tale of passion, loss, and redemption, The Paper Swan is a darkly intense yet heartwarming love story, textured with grit, intrigue, and suspense. Please note: This is NOT a love triangle.

A full-length, standalone novel, intended for mature audiences due to violence, sex and language. Subject matter may be disturbing for some readers.
three-stars

This book had few enjoyable moments for me as the Revenge portion lasted about 80% of the book and the Forgiveness portion the last 20%. I will give it credit to remaining real and gritty throughout most of the book. ★★★½ for the writing, ★★ for the characters.
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The book starts with a kidnapping, which is quickly revealed a revenge plot. Damian Caballero is exacting revenge against the man who robbed him of a loved one using the eye-for-an-eye rationale. Damian kidnapped Skye Sedgewick, a pampered rich girl, whose father Damian blamed for his loss.

We soon learned that a decade or so ago, mob employee Warren Sedgewick made some hard choices for the protection and safety of his loved ones. In the same manner, his nanny Mama Lou made some choices to protect her young son and those decisions set events in motion pitting Damien against the mobsters for retribution.

I am sure many people ultimately had forgiveness for the brutal ways Damian went about to gain his pound of flesh. Maybe he was even justified but I had sympathy for the widow Warren Sedgewick. I had a hard time with Damian’s actions. As a parent, I felt that while as Warren made some selfish choices, I would wager that most parents make similar sacrifices when faced with real possibility of losing a child. Warren had already lost his wife to the life. Now, he was being threatened with his young daughter’s life. I am not sure what other choice he could have made.

I didn’t feel this consuming love between the characters as their initial relationship felt more like a sibling relationship to me. The time an attraction began to bloom was during the captor-captive situation, which made it feel more like Stockholm syndrome than romantic love.
Skye wasn’t a strong heroine to me, but I admire her courage to forgive. Damien went from an unfeeling criminal to in love with his captive after 1 week in a boat, which didn’t fit for such a scrupulous, grudging holding guy.
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The pace of the story was a bit slow and but I did find that both characters grew up during the latter 25% of the book. Both Damien and Skye ended up letting go of their pain and anger, which gave way to redemption. They made consistent efforts to rebuild their lives, but aid others to have a safe haven and an out from criminal life.

I think the author did a realistic portrayal of how people hold on to pain and anger. A lot of times finding love doesn’t erase past hurts. So I thank the author for not being predictable and making Damian go soft overnight. In the end, while I was pleased with the happy ending. I wasn’t engaged to the story as I felt part of my empathy was cut off like finger during the initial kidnapping.

Special thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook, which was given in exchange for an honest review

The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy Harmon

The Song of David (The Law of Moses #2) by Amy HarmonSeries: The Law of Moses #2
on 2013-03-22
Pages: 320
AmazonNarrator: JD Jackson, Zachary Webber
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Blue Echohawk doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know her real name or when she was born. Abandoned at two and raised by a drifter, she didn't attend school until she was ten years old. At nineteen, when most kids her age are attending college or moving on with life, she is just a senior in high school. With no mother, no father, no faith, and no future, Blue Echohawk is a difficult student, to say the least. Tough, hard and overtly sexy, she is the complete opposite of the young British teacher who decides he is up for the challenge, and takes the troublemaker under his wing. This is the story of a nobody who becomes somebody. It is the story of an unlikely friendship, where hope fosters healing and redemption becomes love. But falling in love can be hard when you don't know who you are. Falling in love with someone who knows exactly who they are and exactly why they can't love you back might be impossible.
four-stars

I know the author said this book was a standalone but it’s not. It’s important to follow Tag and Moses’s journey in book 1, the Law of Moses, to truly appreciate their bromance.

This story was told from a current and past perspective. Amelie “Millie” Anderson in the current, David (“Tag”) Taggert from the past and it ended with a peek into the future. Like all Amy Harmon stories, it was powerful, emotional and it was inspirational. Her style of writing is so fluid and poetic. I liked Tag, I liked Millie and I loved her little brother Henry, the Guinness World Record book of sports facts. Henry was autistic, but he was just so loveable.

Mille just exuded strength. Life gave her lemons, but she made lemonade. She was just Tag needed. He wanted to be needed and wanted. Millie and Henry gave him both things. They gave him something to live for until the past came knocking.

This book isn’t fluffy. It is has great character and story development. The author has a gift and I love how she subtly weaves spiritual lessons without making the reader feel bashed over the head with her morality. This story did move a slower pace than I normally enjoy and it was pretty sad for most of the book as the reader tried to figure out what was going on with Tag. Still, this book touched me. It was yet another Amy Harmon book that made me cry. You will feel like you know the characters personally by the time you finish the book.

*Special thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook, which was given in exchange for an honest review.

About Amy Harmon

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Amy knew at an early age that writing was something she wanted to do, and she divided her time between writing songs and stories as she grew. Having grown up in the middle of wheat fields without a television, with only her books and her siblings to entertain her, she developed a strong sense of what made a good story. Her books are now being published in thirteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Levan, Utah.

Amy Harmon has written ten novels – including the USA Today Bestsellers, Making Faces and Running Barefoot, as well as The Law of Moses, Infinity + One and the New York Times Bestseller, A Different Blue. Her recent release, The Bird and the Sword, is a Goodreads Choice finalist in Fantasy.

This entry was posted in Review.

The Secret (Irin Chronicles, #3) by Elizabeth Hunter

The Secret (Irin Chronicles, #3) by Elizabeth HunterSeries: Irin Chronicles, #3
on March 17th 2015
Pages: 373 pages
AmazonNarrator: Zachary Webber
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)four-half-stars

Elizabeth Hunter saved the best for the last. This book finally delivered the answers to the questions that I have grappled with since book 1. It’s nice to have a story finally draw together all the loose ends.

Ava and Malachi experience a role reversal, as Ava found herself trying to help Malachi rediscover his past and his history. It was nice to finally see them as a couple and dreaming together. My favorite sentence was “I am for Ava!” I think that sentence encompassed all!

What I loved best about this book was that Love and Family was front and center. Everything boiled down to relationships. I was so engaged in the audiobook. I finally saw what others have been saying about Elizabeth Hunter’s storytelling. This book delivered action, romance, great plot etc. I was pleased with the conclusion, but even more so with the fact that I know it’s not the end. I can’t wait for the other Irin to find their mates.

Bravo!!

About Elizabeth Hunter

ELIZABETH HUNTER is a contemporary fantasy, paranormal romance, and contemporary romance writer. She is a graduate of the University of Houston Honors College and a former English teacher. She once substitute taught a kindergarten class, but decided that middle school was far less frightening. Thankfully, people now pay her to write books and eighth-graders everywhere rejoice.

She currently lives in Central California with her son, two dogs, many plants, and a sadly dwindling fish tank. She is the author of the Elemental Mysteries and Elemental World series, the Cambio Springs series, the Irin Chronicles, and other works of fiction.

We Review: Maybe Someday by @colleenhoover

We Review: Maybe Someday by @colleenhooveron March 18, 2014
Pages: 320 pages
AmazonNarrator: Angela Goethals, Zachary Webber
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
At twenty-two years old, aspiring musician Sydney Blake has a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her good friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers Hunter cheating on her with Tori—and she is left trying to decide what to do next.

Sydney becomes captivated by her mysterious neighbor, Ridge Lawson. She can’t take her eyes off him or stop listening to the daily guitar playing he does out on his balcony. She can feel the harmony and vibrations in his music. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either: He seems to have finally found his muse. When their inevitable encounter happens, they soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one…
four-half-stars

 

Nika Review: 5 Stars

Colleen Hoover sure knows how to reel in readers and get them stuck. I was telling everyone I knew about this book before I even was half way through because when I read that opening scene I knew I was holding a gem.

Colleen has a way of writing characters that are flawed but rightfully so and what I love so much is these characters didn’t start off that way. We watched Sydney and Ridge grow and it was amazing to see the struggle between these two as they developed a connection and deeper feelings for each other.

This book was full of surprises about Ridge and I loved every one of them. The music that was featured in this book was amazing I just loved how original everything pertaining to this book is. I loved the additional characters and the lightness that brought to this emotional story.

All in all this was a romance that evoked every single emotion and left me wanting more.

 

Ezi Review: 4.5 Stars

 WOW. Seriously Colleen Hoover sure knows how to keep a reader glued to the edge of her seat. Who else could make you fall in love with such flawed characters?

College student Sydney Blake had a decent life. She lived with her best friend Tori and had a 2 year relationship until she discovers that said boyfriend Hunter was sleeping with said BF Tori. That double betrayal left her reeling and she ended up moving in with her neighbors Ridge Lawson, his BF Warren and Warren’s special friend Bridgette.

Ridge Lawson is a musician and Sydney began writing lyrics to go with Ridge’s guitar melody. As they spent time together, their attraction for each other grew. But Ridge has a five year relationship with a beautiful and nice girl named Maggie and Sydney was determined NOT to be a “Tori” to some other girl. The problem was that every day, it got harder and harder for Sydney and Ridge to ignore what was happening between them and each day their will power grew less and less. What do you do when you want someone who belongs to someone else?

Colleen Hoover made this triangle work. You just couldn’t hate anyone because it just happened. The heart wants what it wants but bravo to those who are brave enough to maintain their integrity in such a situation.
this book has very decent people, people who cared about the feelings of others and are worthy of respect. This book is also full of love and angsty. I am pleased with how everything worked out. Love can be messy sometimes, but it can also be such a joy to experience.

The only reason i docked this book a half star was because after Sydney found herself in “Tori” land just 3-4 months after she was betrayed, I thought she would have enough empathy to listen to Tori give her an apology. Not necessarily forgive her, but hear what Tori and/or Hunter had to say. She straddled hypocrisy here even though the situation was slightly different. I would have liked to have some resolution on that end of Sydney’s life.

 

 

 

About Colleen Hoover

#1 NYT bestselling author of books that will destroy you, then put you back together.

Colleen Hoover is the author of ten New York Times bestselling novels. She self-published her first novel, SLAMMED, in 2012. Five months later it debuted on The New York Times. Colleen has since signed with Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster.