Audio Series Review: The Royals by Erin Watt

  • 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:
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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

The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spaulding

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

The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spauldingon 2016-04-05
Pages: 320
Amazon
A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It's practically every girl's dream. But not Jules McCallister-Morgan's. I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn't get to be the editor of my school's long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to
three-stars

Jules McAllister-Morgan was a senior at Eagle Vista Academy when a former teen heartthrob named Alex Powell enrolled at her school. While Jules has a crush on Alex as every teenager has on boy band members, Jules is very determined to attend Brown University. In her pursuit of academy excellence, Jules becomes slightly fixated on certain extra-curricular activities such as the school paper.

As Jules and Alex began spending time together, the newspaper faltered and a rival started to disseminate school news via other avenues such as using email or school televisions. Jules became obsessed with beating her rival. It began exposing Jules relationship with others, more specifically how she never really spend time getting to know others and what was important to others.

I get that the author was trying to portray a flawed young senior, but I found Jules to be self-centered and difficult to connect with. I could tell that the writing was supposed to be humorous but it felt lost in translation. I would have liked more attention focused on how Alex brought out the better side of Jules instead of the super competitive self-absorbed Jules that was prevalent in the book. This teen romance fell flat for me as I never quite warmed up to Jules. I was looking for a book with more depth to the characters and this book didn’t deliver that.

*Special Thanks to  Little, Brown Books for Young Readers via Netgalley for the e-book.

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oram

Cinder & Ella by Kelly Oramon October 1, 2014
Pages: 322 pages
Amazon
What would you do if your anonymous Internet best friend turned out to be Hollywood’s hottest celebrity?

It’s been almost a year since eighteen-year-old Ella Rodriguez was in a car accident that left her crippled, scarred, and without a mother. After a very difficult recovery, she’s been uprooted across the country and forced into the custody of a father that abandoned her when she was a young child. If Ella wants to escape her father’s home and her awful new stepfamily, she must convince her doctors that she’s capable, both physically and emotionally, of living on her own. The problem is, she’s not ready yet. The only way she can think of to start healing is by reconnecting with the one person left in the world who’s ever meant anything to her—her anonymous Internet best friend, Cinder.

Hollywood sensation Brian Oliver has a reputation for being trouble. There’s major buzz around his performance in his upcoming film The Druid Prince, but his management team says he won’t make the transition from teen heartthrob to serious A-list actor unless he can prove he’s left his wild days behind and become a mature adult. In order to douse the flames on Brian’s bad-boy reputation, his management stages a fake engagement for him to his co-star Kaylee. Brian isn’t thrilled with the arrangement—or his fake fiancée—but decides he’ll suffer through it if it means he’ll get an Oscar nomination. Then a surprise email from an old Internet friend changes everything.
five-stars

This book was all that. It was well written, with great characters. I appreciate that the characters were not ALL good or all bad, they were human with different emotions.

I think I took to Ella immediately because she was a lover of books and a blogger. That made me smile immediately. I could picture her hoarding ARCs and the whole interaction online. It made me think of goodreads.

Ella is so impressive as was Cinder (Brian Oliver). I really empathized wit Ella and what she had been through. I was mad at her father for a while, but I saw there was genuine effort to be better. The sisters were trying even though some of the comments were biting. Ella was highly sensitive, understandably so, so I could see where her step sister Juliet and step mother Jennifer were coming from.

I couldn’t stop listening to this book as I was waiting for Ella to heal emotionally and physically. I wanted her to find that joy of life again. This book was truly a joy because the writing was so visceral and I was just entranced with the story. This is the best cinderella YA retellings I’ve read. I will definitely check out more work by this author

Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2) by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2) by Jessica Parkon 2014-05-22
Pages: 336
Amazon
For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she's too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she'll let him.Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.
four-half-stars

This one was just as good as book 1, Flat out Love. I just wished I had gotten to enjoy it on audiobook.

In this sequel, Celeste Watkins is finally a high school senior, but everyday is still an exercise in social ineptness. She still uses thesaurus words in her everyday diction. In fact, her understanding of colloquialisms is hilarious. For instance, when a classmate gave her a high five, she told her brother that she engaged in a “bitch slap”. Clearly Celeste doesn’t watch MTV nor does she listen to contemporary music. But to keep her parents from worrying about her, she invented a social life full of friends and events, but of course big brother Matt knew the truth.

When it’s time to apply to college, her professor had his alumni Barton contact her and the college representative was sophomore Justine Milano. Talk about two peas in a pod. Meeting Justin and developing that friendship finally gave Celeste the strength to take control of her life. So this book was like busting out of jail for everyone and embracing the freedom to be happy.

the writing was great, funny, sad and all those emotions a good book evokes. I am so proud of Matt, he has sacrificed a lot and I am proud of Celeste’s journey. I am not proud of their parents who don’t seem to have achieved any significant growth. Their continued obliviousness is still disappointing, but I guess the fact that FF has been laid to rest is enough for me.

Justin was an awesome character and giving Celeste the friends like Dallas made me feel really good. I had been worried about Bullying or some hidden deception when the offer of friendship was extended to Celeste. I was pleasantly surprised and I got what I had hoped for in this book

Review: Rush by Nyrae Dawn

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

Review: Rush by Nyrae Dawnon May 6th 2014
Pages: 272 pages
Amazon
Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he's desperately tried to put behind him.

Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can't deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.

Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he's a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives.
three-stars

It was okay. Minimal angst for this Coming of the closet book.

Brandon Chase was a young high school football player with aspirations to play college football, and possibly the NFL. The problem though is that he has been nursing an attraction to his best friend Alec Andrews. Everyone around him, including Brandon, has made his life synonymous with football, so Brandon’s identity is wrapped up in being a football player.

Brandon was afraid that if people knew he was gay, the guys on his team wouldn’t trust him on the field and he would lose the one thing that was his life. So he broke up with Alec and went on to college. But a year and half later, they were reunited when Brandon had a near fatal car accident. During his recovery period, Brandon started questioning things in his life and who he was.
Alec wanted to be with Brandon, but he also didn’t want to be thing that kept Brandon from achieving his dream. So Alec had to decide if being a secret would be enough for him.

Both Brandon and Alec had to make tough choices and face their fears in order not to lose their connection to each other. Because they both understood the football world enough to know that their relationship would not be celebrated. Can Alec honestly make Brandon chose?

This one was a tame story, a bit cliche actually. I found Brandon’s constant declaration about football being his life to be annoying and kind of childish. It’s like he was trying to give himself a reason as to why he couldn’t hold Alec’s hand in public or make any decision in life.
He was afraid for most of the book, but I understood his fear.

Alec seemed to be passive agressive to me. He loved Brandon and didn’t want to interefere with football, but he also was angry they could be out, so he lashed out. I also didn’t like his family. It’s hard to really explain but this book didn’t hit an emotional nerve for me. I didn’t feel good or bad about their relationship and that’s sad that I couldn’t engage.

It was an okay read but I thought Dawn could have done this YA-ish m-m much better.

Special thanks to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via Netgalley for e-ARC

Review: Something like Summer (Seasons, Book 1) by Jay Bell

Review: Something like Summer (Seasons, Book 1) by Jay Bellon January 8, 2011
Pages: 290
Amazon
Love, like everything in the universe, cannot be destroyed. But over time it can change.

The hot Texas nights were lonely for Ben before his heart began beating to the rhythm of two words; Tim Wyman. By all appearances, Tim had the perfect body and ideal life, but when a not-so-accidental collision brings them together, Ben discovers that the truth is rarely so simple. If winning Tim’s heart was an impossible quest, keeping it would prove even harder as family, society, and emotion threaten to tear them apart.

Something Like Summer is a love story spanning a decade and beyond as two boys discover what it means to be friends, lovers, and sometimes even enemies.
five-stars

This book was really amazing. It exceeded my expectations. This book was a journey of self discovery and love. It wasn’t easy or comfortable but it was authentic.
Bravo Jay Bell.
This book featured Ben Bentley, a high schooler that came out at 14. He found love with a closeted jock but it ended abruptly as fear of real life forced Tim Wyman to make a painful choice to remain closeted. Fast forward to College and Ben has a mature relationship with Jace. This new relationship is 3 years strong until the past, specifically Tim comes back and wants Ben back. Past & young love versus Current & mature love, who will be Ben’s future? Can he have both men in his life without hurting anyone? Tough choice!

Well written, engaging characters, loved the best friend Allison, loved the pace. I found myself fully inverted in Ben. Awesome coming of age book and a book about a subsequent chance at getting love right. Everyone in this book really evolved and matured. That is one of the things I enjoy, witnessing growth in the characters. I really want to read the subsequent book soon.

Ezi