The Princess Deception by Nell Stark

Nell Stark is back with another book in her Princess series. Deception is the name of the game here. Based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, we have a princess pretending to be her brother and a journalist trying to uncover the sordid tale.

Viola is the Princess of Belguim. An accomplished artist who prefers to stay out of the family’s limelight. Unfortunately for Viola, her twin brother Sebastian overdoses on heroin right before Belguim begins its rally to win the bid on the next FIFA men’s World Cup. As in the Twelfth Night, Viola takes on pretending to be Sebastian to fool everyone into believing everything is on the up and up. She doesn’t want to let her family or her country down.

Missy Duke was the face of USA women’s soccer. Her career was ended before she was ready with a catastrophic knee injury. Duk” doesn’t know what to do with herself, emotionally she is a mess and now she has settled for a job she really doesn’t want because she has no idea what to do not being on the pitch. Taken a job as a gift from a brother of a teammate, Duke sets off to cover Belguim’s bid for the cup.

Unlike in the Twelfth Night, Viola doesn’t totally sell her alternate identity as her twin. Duke picks up on it pretty quick by seeing little tells Viola has. Tucking her hear behind her ears, little things here and there. So a good portion of the story is the newbie journalist trying to figure out the why and see if it’s newsworthy. Of course, she is attracted to Viola so this makes her problem even larger.

Overall the book is q good read, Nell Stark always delivers a quality product. My only hangup is that I wish our two mains spent more time together. The reuse of pretending to be Sebastian takes up so much of the storyline that you don’t get enough Duke and Viola time. The relationship/romance portion of the book is smaller than I would have liked. Still a great read!

3 out of 5 stars

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The Last First Time (Norfolk Coast Investigation Story #3) by Andrea Bramhall

The third installment of the Norfolk Coast Investigation Story series is gruesome, gory, violent, enchanting and heartfelt. So many feelings all rolled into one magnetic story. Kate and Gina are back and life keeps throwing them into chaos and danger. It also brings them closer than ever before.

The book starts with a bang. Literally, unfortunately. Gina and Kate’s co-worker Stella are shopping for Christmas presents at the local mall. While deciding on presents and Stella notices something off about two of the other shoppers. By the time she relays the message to Gina, the bombers have set off a massive explosion that takes the lives of many. Terrifying, gut-churning fear jumps right off the page and lands in the pit of your stomach. You feel and see the horror of the crime scene.

Kate joins the scene quickly, only to find out in the midst of the rubble that Gina and Stella were in the very store where the bomb was detonated. These ladies cannot catch a break! This is where the story begins to weave one of the many subplots into the story.

Bramhall brings the past and present to life. History is weaved throughout the story while Kate and Gina conquer the demons of both their past and present. While emotions rocket all over the place there is still time for that beautiful romance between the two leading ladies amidst the craziness and danger. Everything about this book is done very well. Even when it was hard to read, I wanted more. Kate and Gina’s softness was the perfect anecdote to the scary heart-wrenching crime portion of the book. I cannot wait till the next book.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Forget Me Not by Kris Bryant

Grace Danner a marketing executive from Dallas heads to Ireland to complete the sale of her great-aunt’s flower shop. Only meeting the aunt a handful of times she was left everything in the will. Grace arrives in Ireland to find a thriving business, an adorable rooftop apartment and a whole lot of amazing acquaintances. Grace is all work so even taking a week off to head across the pond is a hardship.

Kerry Mulligan is Grace’s real estate agent. This fiery redhead will gladly take the commission from the sale of Aunt Nola’s shop, but in her heart or hearts, she doesn’t want it sold. She’s conflicted about the loss of the shop to this tight-knit community. Add to the misery, her friends and sister-in-law will be out of work as soon as the deal is signed.

I had a few issues with this one. I felt like I was reading the same chapter later in the book time and time again. What makes this especially frustrating is you had a great premise, beautiful setting and enough heat from the two mains getting off on the wrong foot to have a fantastic story. As the book progressed, that story actually regressed. Once Grace and Kerry see each other’s naughty bits that’s all you have. Sex scene after sex scene. They were hot sex scenes don’t get me wrong, but that was it. Then you have a lack of depth in the plot, the dialogue, and the angst. The angst should be there, it should be there in spades, but it wasn’t, it was just flat. I

Another issue was Grace Danner being a Texan. I despise Texas stereotypes because you always get the cowgirl bs. A female marketing executive that lives in a high rise condo in downtown Dallas does not walk around in Ariat boots every day. That is not her footwear of choice. Sure maybe if she goes to a western theme gala, but in jeans and in daily life, this is a big no. This would not happen, it doesn’t fit the look of the area at all. Now if you went over to Fort Worth, you may see more boots, if you went out to West Texas, that would be the footwear of choice for many, as those folks are real-life ranchers and live a western influenced lifestyle. You might as well say Grace rides her horse to town. Okay, maybe Grace Danner is the one Dallasite that does wear boots every day, but 99% of the rest of us do not. I’m getting down on off my over-sized Texan soap-box now.

Overall, the book had a good start, hot sexy time but was lacking depth and dialogue to make it really amazing.

2.5 out of 5 stars

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The Princess and the Prix by Nell Stark

I was enthusiastic about reading this book months ago when I found out there would be another in the Princess Affair series. Nell Stark consistently puts out quality books that have been well researched and have exciting characters. I am a fan of the way she gives significant background information, without it taking over the story and stifling the romance. The Princess and the Prix is no exception, it is a quality read.

Alix is a princess who totally does not act like a “princess”. She is Serene Highness Pommelina Alix Louise Canella of Monaco, but more importantly she is a highly intellectual woman who cares deeply for the plight of those less fortunate. Alix’s life has been 100% focused on her studies and then pursing her humanitarian efforts in East Africa. She has never given much thought to love or relationship.

Thalia d’Angelis is all about fast cars, fast women and not giving a damn about what anyone else thinks. She is an unapologetic cad. Thalia is an up and coming Formula One driver, who wants to be the first woman in history to stand atop the podium.

I thought the book was good, but it left me wanting in the romantic fuzzy feeling kind of way. While I adored Alix and her transformation, I was really drawn to how smart and cognizant she was. Alix’s mental wheels were always turning and evaluating the interactions with other characters, especially Thalia. Thalia, while I enjoyed her character as an athlete who is consumed with the need to win and perform, I couldn’t really connect with her outside of that. It seemed a little artificial to me when she fell in love with the Princess, and was ready to change her ways. This is definitely a worthy book, and I enjoyed my time with it.

3.75 out of 5 stars

The Princess and the Prix
by Nell Stark
Link: http://amzn.com/B017862E4I