Book Review: Princess & Prejudice (Devgarh Royals Book 2) by Alicia Kay

About the Book:

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A not-so-fairy-tale romance!

They say opposites attract, but when Yuvarajkumari Jayshree Singh, Princess of Devgarh, and Dr Aryan Sharma meet, it’s more like opposites combust.

He thinks she is a bratty and entitled princess, while she thinks he is an uptight pain-in-the-ass, who needs to have the stick surgically removed from his rather delectable posterior.

When Aryan’s sister gets engaged to Jessie’s brother, they are forced to declare a reluctant ceasefire.

But the hostilities don’t cease. Instead, they erupt in an unexpected and unlikely gush of desire and longing.

With their families set to merge, Aryan and Jessie need to decide if his prejudice and her pride can be set aside long enough for the love they feel to blossom. Or will they spend eternity wondering if they’d missed their chance at happiness?

My Thoughts:

Princess and Prejudice by author Alicia Kay is the second book in the series. I haven’t read the first one but that did not affect the flow of this book. This can indeed be read as a standalone and enough of the back story for the characters is present for the reader to catch on to the plot.

The story focuses on Princess Jayshree better known as Jessie and Dr. Aryan. They have known each other for a long time and Jessie is best friends with Aryan’s sister. This is a typical love story where the characters try to run from each other, fight a lot and take time to accept that they have feelings for the other. Written in the style of the original pride and prejudice, the story reminds me of the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy.

Jessie is a strong character and though a princess, she is quite grounded. I liked how she handled things and even made an effort to be independent. She navigates a world of entitlement and power in a very simple manner. I think the author has handled her interactions with all the other characters in the story very well and brought out the essence of each character.

This is a quick read and I loved how the story developed. Even though it is a cliché, I enjoyed every moment including the rapport and banter between the characters. The story flows well and is quite well written. I enjoyed the story and am sure fans of romance will love this story as much as I did. This is indeed a fairytale romance that will appeal to all fans of the genre and of the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice.

Book Review: Love Letters by the Sea (The Siren’s Retreat Quartet #4) by Erica Ridley

About the Book:

What happens when the proprietress of Siren’s Retreat discovers the charming romantic she’s been corresponding with is same villain turning her beloved property into a gaming hell?

When not responding to advice column letters, entrepreneurial widow Mrs. Deborah Cartwright runs bright, beautiful Siren’s Retreat, legendary for helping her lovelorn guests find their perfect match. Deborah experienced love years before, and lightning does not strike twice. Although there might be a light flirtation with a certain anonymous letter-writer she’s definitely not falling for, there’s no time for romance. Not whilst a heartless blackguard is in town to wrest her beloved inn out from under her!

Clever, career-minded Mr. Patrick Gretham is the trusted man-of-business for a powerful lord, who is eager to turn this perfectly situated property wasted on lovebirds into a gambling hell the likes of which no one leaves with their fortunes intact. Over Deborah’s dead body! The beautiful proprietress hates everything Patrick stands for and will fight him every step of the way. Except when they find themselves on opposite sides of a plume. Or falling into each other’s embrace…

My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of Erica Ridley’s books for some time now and so it was inevitable that I would pick up this book to read next. I have been reading the books in this series out of order, but the best part is that they can also be read as a standalone with only a little backstory running through. This is explained in some way during the story making it easy for the reader to follow the many characters and situations.

The story follows widow Deborah Cartwright, the proprietress of the Siren’s Retreat, a place known to bring people together through love. Having lost her one true love many years ago, she takes pleasure in watching other people find love without any expectations for herself. She devotes her time to the running of Siren’s Retreat and corresponding with a secret someone through letters.

I really enjoyed this part of the story which built up the romance and kept it intriguing. Once Deborah meets Mr. Patrick Gretham, all things change and the inklings of love starts stirring. This entire story is well written and being a novella is a rather quick read! The story is uplifting and full of simple and fun moments and is definitely worth reading!

Release Blitz: Rudrabaan (Cursed Elements) by Nitya Neelakantan

A café owner who is haughty and entitled. An event planner who is earnest and acquiescent. A curse that was cast an eternity ago…

Shruthakeerthi Urs aka. Shruti is the client from hell. Jaideep Rai is the hot new event planner who bring out the shrew in Shruti. Tempers fly and egos clash even as they attempt to work together on an event.
Fate brings them face to face again when they both sign up for the same Jungle Challenge adventure, traversing the mountains and forests of the Western Ghats of India. Forced to work together they snarl and spar at every given chance, refusing to admit that they may be hankering for something amorous with the other…a simmering undercurrent of passion!
And what happens when one of them is cursed? Can they put aside their differences and come together to break a curse that has sounded the death knell for generations of one of their families? Amidst surprise revelations, mystic mendicants, and repressed memories, can the two work out the pieces of the puzzle that can break the curse?
Will Shruti and Jaideep survive this epic adventure and find love, or will they remain ships passing in the night…

Rudrabaan is an adventure filled story peppered with magical realism and hued with some regular hate to love drama.
Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon.in * Amazon.com

Read an Excerpt from Rudrabaan

Jaideep was now definitely staring at the two of them. How does Bobby do this? How does he just win people over? Jaideep was feeling confused and irritated. If it wasn’t for the fact that Bobby was his best friend and that he was gay, Jaideep might have just ripped his limbs apart for hugging Shruti. He wanted to be in Bobby’s place right now, smelling her hair and gently kissing her forehead as she leaned in. He pictured himself pushing his fingers into her curly knots and bringing her head closer to his chest.
Thwack! Prashant’s broad hand landed on Jaideep’s back. ‘Let’s go, buddy. Did you not hear your name?’
Participants were now divided into two groups and given logs of wood and thick ropes. They had to make rafts that would take them across the stream. Lunch was being served on the other side of the stream. Eager to have lunch, the teams put their backs into making the rafts.
Shruti and Jaideep sat on opposite sides of the raft as they were part of the same group. About a meter from the bank, the ropes of their raft began to come undone, and the logs of wood separated, toppling the team into water. The other team who had reached the bank began laughing as they stepped into the water to pull people out.
‘It’s all your fault. If you didn’t know how to tie ropes you should have left it to the experts,’ Shruti shouted at Jaideep.
‘Like you are an expert on everything?’, he retorted as he looked at her wet cotton shirt. It was clinging to her skin and the water had made it see-through. Jaideep was looking at the clear outline of a yellow bra as he spoke.
‘I wasn’t talking about myself. But if you took the time to pull your head out of your ass, you would know that!’ she said and stomped away, water dripping from her clothes as she walked onto the bank of the stream.
The rest of the group had already gone ahead to where lunch was being served and didn’t notice the exchange of words between them.
Jaideep grabbed Shruti’s arm and pulled her close. They looked at each other with daggers in their eyes but kindred embers in their souls. He wanted to bite her lower lip as he glared at her, his eyes lingering a second longer than intended on her luscious lips and moving furtively down her neck.
He tore his eyes away from her and forced himself to look away as he said, ‘What is your problem? Why do you hate me? I am just trying to have a decent, hard-earned holiday. Please!’
Shruti wrestled her arm out of his grasp. She tried hard not to focus on why her body was melting in response to his touch,  like a smitten kitten and she said, ‘Don’t you dare touch me again. I don’t know you enough to hate you. You are not that important to me. Please enjoy your holiday and stay the hell away from me!’
Shruti walked away huffing, but her body seemed to be yearning for that fervour she felt a few seconds ago when Jaideep had clutched her wrist. She had been so afraid that he would feel her pulse quicken and hear how loudly her heart thumped inside her chest when he touched her.
Neither of them saw that a flaming arrow had landed right next to the riverbank that they had stepped onto. The flames flickered and the arrow disappeared once again.

About the Author:

Nitya Neelakantan is a writer and yoga teacher from Bangalore. She has three paperback novels that are awaiting publication with Rupa Publications and Readomania.

Nitya graduated with a degree in Hotel Management before moving into the learning space as a technical trainer and then a soft skills trainer. Her writing and yoga journey began simultaneously as she hung up her corporate boots in exchange for more time with her two and four-legged family.
When not teaching or reading, Nitya enjoys travelling with her husband, son, and two fluffy dog-babies.  She is an amateur blogger who is also passionate about composting, slow fashion, and conscious living.

Keep in touch with Nitya:

Book Review: The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

About the Book:

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A wedding in Spain. The most infuriating man. Three days to convince your family you’re actually in love. . .

Catalina Martín desperately needs a date to her sister’s wedding. Especially when her little white lie about her American boyfriend has spiraled out of control. Now everyone she knows – including her ex-boyfriend and his fiancée – will be there.

She only has four weeks to find someone willing to cross the Atlantic for her and aid in her deception. NYC to Spain is no short flight and her family won’t be easy to fool. . . But even then, when Aaron Blackford – the 6’4″, blue-eyed pain in the arse – offers to step in, she’s not tempted even for a second. Never has there been a more aggravating, blood-boiling and insufferable man.

But Catalina is desperate and as the wedding gets closer the more desirable an option Aaron Blackford becomes. . .

The Spanish Love Deception is an enemies-to-lovers, fake-dating romance. Perfect for those looking for a steamy slow-burn with the promise of a sweet happy-ever-after.

“Everything you could want in a romance is right here.”
Helen Hoang, author of The Kiss Quotient

My Thoughts:

The Spanish Love Deception is one of the most talked about books of 2021 and based on a multitude of reviews, I decided to pick up the book. I definitely was not disappointed. I quite enjoyed the slow-burn romance and how the plot developed right from the beginning.

The story follows Catalina, Lina as she prefers to be called, as she enters into a rather reluctant fake relationship with Aaron in the hopes of fooling her family. She has always disliked Aaron for some reason and as the story progresses, it becomes clear that her ideas might be misplaced. The characters are interesting and even funny at times. I enjoyed reading about them and how their various relationships develop. The story reads like the perfect rom-com and is entertaining all the way.

Aaron is the perfect guy (well that is how he is portrayed and just for the duration of the book it’s okay to believe that he exists!), attentive and attuned to Lina’s needs. I liked the author’s style of writing and the flow of the story until the end. I was indeed hooked and I think that was partly due to the fact that I was looking for a light and fun read and this turned out to be the perfect combination.

This book has the complete package: enemies to lovers, workplace romance, fake dating and all the fun that happens in between. The ending is just perfect and the book is definitely worth reading!

Book Review: Rise of the Wild Moon by Nina Walker and Kimberly Loth

Rise of the Wild Moon is Book 3 in the New World Shifters series by Nina Walker and Kimberly Loth. The book will be released on 18.01.2021.

I was provided with an eARC of the book in exchange for my honest review. Read on to know what I thought about this book.

(Hint: I loved this book and I love the series! The authors have done a magical job!)

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My Thoughts:
I must admit that with each book, the plot only gets better and better! This book picks up where Book 2 left off after the Lycans attack at the festival. Poppy escapes with help from Ryne who also sends Knox with her to take care of her. Having been bitten, Poppy is yet to discover how it will affect her.

In this book, we meet more of the shifters and get to know them better. We get to spend time among the Lycans as Poppy and Knox end up among a group of them. They have their own ways, but seem to be more concerned about the humans and about saving them (or so they say!). Can you truly ever trust anyone and assume that they do not have a secret agenda? This forms the crux of the plot as the story progresses.

As Poppy navigates her way with the Lycans, she ends up with the resistance and meets many of the players involved. We also learn more about the Lycans as Poppy learns to handle the transitions every Moon cycle. Thus ensues a journey to rescue someone and exact revenge while also trying to save the humans from their fate among the werewolves. I enjoyed reading about the various characters and I like how the authors have worked to develop them. They are well rounded and believable. I also like how Poppy grows as a character reaching a point where she takes strong decisions and initiative while also assuming the role of a leader. She is caring and compassionate and this turns out to be the best part of who she is.

I devoured this book in one night, enjoying the story completely and now eagerly waiting for the next book in the series. This is indeed a wonderfully written book with a new spin on the supernatural with a dash of romance that will have the reader hoping for more!

WWW Wednesday – 05/01/2022

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This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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Currently Reading

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Recently finished reading

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Read the review here.

Reading Next (hopefully! :))

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Do share your thoughts on the books, leave a link to your review if you have read them or just share your blog post links for the meme!

Book Review: The Wedding Setup by Sonali Dev

About the Book:

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From USA Today bestselling author Sonali Dev comes a heartfelt short story about one woman’s journey of self-discovery and what it means to be happy.

Ayesha Shetty lost her brother seven years ago, the same time she lost everything else important to her: her dreams, her fierce independence, and the man she loved. Not wanting to see her mother hurt anymore, she put her wild self away and became the dutiful daughter her mother needed and took on her brother’s role in the family business.

Now her best friend’s big, fat Indian wedding is a chance to get away from her endless duties at the restaurant and maybe even have some fun (if she remembers how). But a setup arranged by her mother, with a doctor no less, is the last thing she needs. The fact that he checks all her mother’s boxes just makes everything better…and worse.

Then Emmitt Hughes shows up. Her brother’s best friend. The love she once chose over family duties and her responsibilities. The one she asked to leave, and who did. The one who knows the real Ayesha. Torn between a love from the past that could cost her the only person she has left and her sense of obligation to her mother, will Ayesha find the strength to stop thinking about what everyone else wants and finally put herself first? Or is the old Ayesha truly gone for good?

My Thoughts:

The Wedding Setup is a short story that reads in the style of a Bollywood movie. It is a quick and interesting read considering the theme that is handled by the author. Ayesha suppresses her dreams and stays to help her mother at their family restaurant after her brother dies. She calms down and becomes the opposite of who she used to be. In an attempt to keep her mother happy, she starts to accept and agree with her without question.

The author handles the storyline very well and in this short story brings out a ton of emotions. The mother-daughter relationship, how it changed, Ayesha’s friendships, past love and the current arranged marriage setup. With the prospect of an arranged match and her ex turning up at her best friend’s wedding, Ayesha is torn between choosing what she wants and what would make her mother happy.

I enjoyed reading this book and I admire how the author has handled both the plot and her characters. Overall this is definitely a book that I would recommend for those who love second chance romances and an overload of different emotions!

Book Review: The Best Kept Secret by Tawna Fenske

About the Book:

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Nurse Nyla Franklin knows three things to be true. Taking care of others brings more joy than a basket full of kittens. A triple-fudge sundae can cure just about anything. And no good ever comes from keeping a secret… So when her best friend spills his biggest one ever, Nyla knows she’s not just holding a secret. She’s holding a ticking time bomb.

Mr. Always Does the Right Thing Leo Sayre knows three things to be true. Piloting smokejumpers over burning forests is the best job in the world. His best friend Nyla is the smartest, funniest, and okay, sexiest woman ever. And pain meds are apparently his truth serum. Now his post-surgery confession has everything flipped upside down and turned inside out… including his relationship with Nyla.

Secrets have a way of piling up, and it’s just a matter of time before someone lights a match. Because while the truth can set you free, it can also burn completely out of control…

Each book in the Where There’s Smoke series is STANDALONE:
* The Two-Date Rule
* Just a Little Bet
* The Best Kept Secret

My Thoughts:

Note: I received an eARC through NetGalley. The review reflects my honest opinion.

The Best Kept Secret is a romance between Nyla and Leo, who come together as a result of an unexpected secret that is revealed by Leo. Nyla has difficulties keeping secrets and usually ends up revealing everything. The book is a part of a series but can also be read as a stand alone. This is the first book that I am reading by the author.

This book then follows the after effects of the “big secret” which Leo reveals to Nyla which leads to a whole lot of dragged out family drama. I did not fully enjoy this part of the book and also how the characters react when the secret(s) are revealed. I felt that a lot of the plot points fell into place too easily and this also made me think that characters were rather two dimensional.

I did enjoy the relationship that Nyla and her older sister, Leo’s ex-wife, share. I also liked how Nyla got along with her nephew. These were well depicted by the author. I felt a little awkward about the relationship that develops between Nyla and Leo, but eventually it does fall into place.

Overall this is a decent one time read especially for those who enjoy lots of family drama and a whole lot of romance.

Book Review: Fable by Adrienne Young

About the Book:

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Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely adored this book and couldn’t put it down once I started reading it! Fable is one of the most talked about books this year and I must admit to being quite intrigued by it. So many people were reading it and talking about it and I finally decided that I had to know why. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked the book and the plot and the characters.

Fable is strong willed and with a unique set of skills that sets her apart. We follow her as she tries to navigate the island where her father left her after her mother died and their ship sank. No-one knows who she really is and she has made a promise to keep it that way. As she works for a chance to get off the island, we are given a glimpse into her life and the world around her.

With a plan to get off the island and reach her father’s place, Fable enlists the help of West and by extension his crew on the ship. This leads to a fast paced adventure filled with secrets, villains, dangers of the sea, trust issues and eventually fast friendships that mean more than anything. I would also like to mention the budding romance that adds more flavor to the plot making it worth reading.

All the characters have their own story to tell and their own agenda, but when brought together, it feels as though the story is complete. The author has a wonderful way with words painting a picture of the seas and islands that the characters visit. It is also easy to imagine the scenes as they unfold and this is the kind of story telling that reminds me of reading Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings all over again. The story is rich in detail and brings to us a new plot and world that any reader would be pulled into.

I was invested in the book and highly recommend it for all fans of fantasy fiction out there! This is worth it! I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts on the second book too!

Book Review: Ivy League Liars by Grace Costello

About the Book:

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Teddy Jones is a one-upper. We grew up across the street from each other, always competing. When I got into Brown, he got into Harvard. When I dropped out early, he went on to law school. And when I ended up in a string of bad relationships, he started dating my old high school bully.

Now we’re all grown up and my sister’s getting married. Strangely enough, Teddy and Anika never dated, and now she’s marrying the perfect man and has insisted Teddy and I share the maid-of-honor duties. I’d rather stick a fork in my eye, but here we are.

So when Teddy challenges me on bringing a suitable date to Anika’s wedding, I decide it’s my turn to be the one-upper. My date is a sexy, rich, successful Yale alumni. We met on Legacy, the exclusive dating app for Ivy Leaguers, and now we’re madly in love. And he’d be perfect, if he actually existed.

That’s right, I made the guy up! Now I have to download the app and find this man before Teddy catches me in a lie.

My Thoughts:

Ivy League Liars is a fun-filled light and quick romance read that is based on the enemies to lovers trope. Emme is forced to share maid-of-honor duties for her sister’s wedding with Teddy. Everyone always thought that there was something between Teddy and Emme’s sister, but they are just best friends. Emme and Teddy have always tried to one up the other, always at opposite ends. They try to get along for Anika’s sake, but everyone can see that it is futile (or maybe not :D)

The story follows them as Emme finds a fake boyfriend from a dating app exclusive for Ivy Leaguers and tries to show everyone a side of her life that does not exist. What follows forms the crux of the plot as things start to unravel. Tell one lie and it can be managed but continue building on it and this leads to a whole bunch of lies whose story is difficult to sustain.

This is a fun read that has just the right amount of humor and romance that readers will enjoy. I also enjoyed the banter between the characters and how the author brought out their feelings in different situations. Though I was not able to fully connect with all the characters and some situations felt a little too unreal, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and definitely recommend it to all fans of romance!