Series I Might Continue Reading

Almost three weeks ago, I wrote an article about the Series I Won’t Be Finishing and today I’m revealing the article about the series I might continue reading. Now, you know how I feel about book series in general and there are two first instalments I really enjoyed and hope to explore more when I’m in the mood for fantasy and contemporary romance. The titles of these books are Enchanted (The Summer Solstice) by K. K. Allen and The Rocker Who Holds Me (The Rocker) by Terri Anne Browning. On the other hand, there are four series I’m on the fence about, either because the first book wasn’t intriguing enough or I didn’t particularly like the author’s writing style. Only time will tell whether I pick up their sequels or not, in the future.

The Prince’s Special Bride (Royal Romance) by Devika Fernando

I know that modern Cinderella stories appeal to women of all ages and Devika Fernando does a pretty good job building the imaginary Kingdom of Taragonia and the sumptuous atmosphere of the royal court with its glamour and code of conduct. However, I felt that the story needed a little more depth as well as the main characters: Marie and Prince Christian. The sequel follows Princess Olivia, Christian’s sister, and her struggles to become a stronger woman and queen and to find true love. The excerpt I read seemed better written than the previous book, but I’m still not sure if it’s my type of story.

Passion, Powe & Sin by Mike Wells

This is a financial thriller in which themes like poverty vs wealth, family, addiction, love, morality and the thin line between truth and lie are woven into a realistic story whose protagonist can be anyone in dire need of money. How far can a person go to get money fast enough to save one’s parental house from foreclosure? Is it moral to accept the help and instructions of an online friend whose identity is unknown to you? The psychology of addiction was well-written and intriguing, but the first book ends a bit abruptly and the twist I was anticipating didn’t actually happen here. Will I read the next book? That’s a very good question I don’t know the answer to.

Forbidden by Mike Wells and Devika Fernando

Forbidden is a romantic thriller comprising of two plot lines: one is set in the past and it follows Lady Sotheby’s early life, while the other focuses on the present and it follows Jayne whose life changes drastically after hearing the truth about her real family. I loved the way Eleanore Sotheby’s story unfolds with all the suspenseful elements specific to Mike Wells’ writing style. However, the story set in the present reminds me a bit of soap opera I’ve watched in the 90s due to some elements I found in the book. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading a good romance, but in this case, I‘ve pretty much anticipated what’s going to happen; therefore. I’m on the fence about giving the sequel a go.

Song At Dawn (The Troubadours Quartet) by Jean Gill

This book is a romantic thriller as well, but it is set in medieval times during the reign of Eleanore of Aquitaine. Though I thought that this book would be something I would definitely enjoy because it has troubadours, court intrigues and a runaway girl whose talent can help her become a trobairitz. However, I was disappointed because I found the story hard to get into, the pacing was very slow, the characters were interesting, but I couldn’t warm up to them and I was pretty confused with all the conspiracies involving people from the court and beyond.  Now, this doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy anything, but besides a few well-done scenes, I didn’t feel that much the tension of a true thriller. The synopsis of the second book sounds more appealing, but if I didn’t enjoy the first instalment, is it worth continuing the series?

Before I wrap it up, I would like to know which are the series you are on the fence about.

Review: The Prince’s Special Bride by Devika Fernando

Book 1 of Royal Romance

 

Title: The Prince’s Special Bride

Author: Devika Fernando

Genre: Romance

First Published in 2016

Self-Published

Series: Royal Romance

Rating: 3/5 stars

“Even during the fitful bouts of sleep, her mind had been filled with a suave, secretive seducer in a princely uniform who spoke endearments in an unknown language and caressed her body in all the right ways.” (Loc. 1201-1203)

For today’s post, I wrote a book review for author Devika Fernando’s first book in the Royal Romance series, The Prince’s Special Bride. Before I start, I just want to warn you that the novel triggered some mixed feeling inside me, so bear in mind that there will be also some negative aspects I will outline from an honest reader’s point of view. If you have different opinions, at least respect mine.

Marie Kemei works as a night manager at a resort on Kuramathi Island, in the Maldives, but her life is about to change drastically when she finds Olivia, the runaway Crown Princess of Taragonia. She was hiding from her family because they were forcing her to enter an arranged marriage with the Crown Prince of Visteria. If this wasn’t bad enough, Crown Prince Christian of Taragonia, Liv’s brother, shows up and the salty air becomes heavier with the mutual attraction between Marie and Christian. Later on, Princess Olivia arranges a trip for Marie to come to Taragonia to assist the future bride as a dear friend and bride’s maid, but this also means that Christian and Marie will meet again. How will this modern Cinderella adapt to royal life in order to find her ‘happily ever after’ by Prince Christian’s side?

The positive aspects are about the writing. I love Devika’s writing and the way she uses the English vocabulary makes the dialogue feel real and dynamic. The setting is gorgeous, from the beach and the sunset in the Maldives to the majestic Taragonian palace and its lavish gardens. The rooms and the elegant dresses and jewels are depicted clearly as if you can see or even feel the fabrics and other objects. The royal events and campaigns are described well and, along with the strict presence of the Queen Mother, they made me think of the British Royal Family and their charitable work around the world. The writing is easy to follow, witty and the tension and suspense are just right.

If you ask me which was my favourite character, I would answer that it’s the Queen of Taragonia. Why? Because she is dignified, strict, conservative and she puts Marie to the test because no monarch would allow an outsider to enter a royal family without one’s consent. The way this royal lady talks, her body language and even her looks made me associate her with a middle-aged version of HRH Queen Elisabeth II. Then I liked Olivia, who preferred to run away than to become the bride of a self-centred playboy prince just for political reasons. She is stubborn and in desperate need of freedom because of the rules imposed by royal tradition suffocate her. She loves her country and her subjects like her brother Christian does and her love shines through the charity work.

Christian, Crown Prince of Taragonia is strict like his mother because he was raised to become a king one day. At first glance, he seems very severe, conservative and even cold, but this changes when Marie steals his heart. Christian cares a lot about the etiquette and his family’s reputation; he is a workaholic and an intelligent young man, who has learned a little bit of everything – from economics, politics and wine industry to charity work and so on. He becomes angry and lectures Olivia for acting unladylike and despite the fact that the prince tries not to show his feelings, Marie can easily read him like an open book, so most of the time he cannot fool her. Christian is an okay character but, as well as in Marie’s case, I didn’t feel that connection with him. I hate to say it, but he seems to be Mr Perfect who cares about his country, the royal rules, tradition and, on top of all that, he is the well-bred workaholic and eligible bachelor of Taragonia. Yes, Christian gets angry, quarrels or lusts for Marie like a normal human being would, but I think he needed more depth as an important character and Marie’s love interest.

And last but not least, let’s talk about Marie, the night manager who shows Liv what it feels like to live like an ordinary person for a day or so. Marie is also a workaholic who had a hard life as a child, but her back-story is very inconsistent if you ask me. I personally needed more details about her life because she is the protagonist. Even if it hurt, Marie should have been able to remember a little more about her mother than what actually appears in the book. As a character, Marie is professional when it comes to her job, a witty and quirky friend to Olivia, but she’s a bit silly while she is around Christian, blurting things she doesn’t actually want to say and making a fool of herself at the royal court. Who wouldn’t? I wouldn’t do a better job at a royal court either.

Marie is caring and loves being around people, though she notices that she is perceived as an outsider and she is constantly afraid that people will judge her by the colour of her skin because she is half-African. Honestly, I wanted Marie to have a little more depth as a character because, despite Christian’s fascination with her intelligence, I found her… not necessarily superficial, but pretty colourless for a protagonist. I really wished to feel more attached to her since the story revolves around her, but I couldn’t.

Overall, the story is sweet and perfect to be read at the beach, but it didn’t work for me that much because of the reasons mentioned above, but also because the climax didn’t have all the ingredients to blow my mind. I liked the instant friendship between Marie and Olivia and I loved the sexual tension between Marie and Christian when they went for a swim into the spring and the library scene, but the romance between the main characters wasn’t always that great.