The Royals Next Door by Karina Halle
08/31/21 by Berkley
This author is hit or miss for me, but I couldn’t pass up a romantic comedy where the heroine’s new neighbors are Meghan and Harry-inspired royals and her love interest is their bodyguard. That’s just catnip for me as a reader.
Piper Evans is a school teacher with a lot on her plate. When royalty moves in next door her life gets a whole lot more complicated. Despite living in a small town there isn’t a real sense of community unless you’ve lived there your whole life. So she’s kind of an outsider now residing next door to a famous couple and having to put up with their exasperating bodyguard.
Harrison Cole comes across as pretty uptight and cold at the beginning when Piper and he first meet, and their back and forth sniping at each other is pretty amusing. But after a while, I wondered when the spark of romance would hit them and they would jump each other’s bones. It takes a bit, but when it does happen whoo boy.
There are some dark undertones to this book. Harrison’s revelations of a past with drugs and alcohol, Piper’s mother’s mental health issues, and the ravenous, hounding tabloids just to name a few. But I would say those things don’t really overshadow what is supposed to be, and does come across, as a lighter romance.
This was a quick, easy read, and would recommend it for fans who enjoy opposite attract and bodyguard tropes in their romances.
Final grade- B-/C+
Battle Royal by Lucy Parker
Palace Insiders #1
8/17/21 by Avon
This book is so good. An opposites attract, enemies to lovers, grumpy/sunshine romance that pretty much hit every one of my romance-loving heart’s buttons.
This is the story of two bakers who are complete opposites in pretty much every way. She’s the sunshiney, sprinkles and rainbows, up-and-coming baker who first appeared on a famous British baking competition, Operation Cake. He’s the staid, uptight, vanilla man who inherited a baking empire from his grandfather and is the judge who voted her off the above-mentioned baking show. Now they own bakeries across the street from each other and are direct competitors for quite a few big commissions. Including the wedding cake of the newly engaged Princess Rose.
Dominic and Sylvie are complete enemies… until they aren’t anymore. And y’all, it’s so damn romantic.
This book has everything. Banter, sexy times, great chemistry between the main characters, two secondary romances (one sweet and the other heartbreaking, yet touching), some pretty great foreshadowing for future romances in the series, siblings getting to know each other again, and there is this overall theme of grief, yet finding joy in everyday memories and cherishing the people who are important today. And this author balances all of it beautifully.
Highly, highly recommend. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
Final grade- A