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review 2019-01-14 12:51
entertaining
A Duke by Default - Alyssa Cole

Portia Hobbs from the previous story (and this works alone, there are some references to the previous book but it's not necessary to have read it to get this) gets an apprenticeship with a swordmaker in Edinburgh, Scotland. There she starts to try to help him turn things around and it's all complicated by their feelings for each other.

And then she finds out that he's the heir to a dukedom.

Complicated things make things complicated and make relationships difficult.

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text 2019-01-02 19:57
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole $1.99!
A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals - Alyssa Cole

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

 

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

 

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

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review 2018-12-10 17:27
when first you practice to deceive...
A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals - Alyssa Cole

... expect to be called on it.

 

Naledi Smith has been recently getting emails from someone who claims to be from an African country, who has a prince that she's supposed to marry.  Yeah, right.  She's too busy trying to work two jobs, fend off her co-worker that wants to give her all the work and take all the glory himself and trying to keep her friend Portia happy too.

 

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo and he wants to track Naledi down and convince her to do her duty, not realising that her family died when she was quite young and all of this is news.  She thinks he's a new hire in her catering job and it's easier to go with the flow..  

 

Now they're both attracted and he has no idea how to tell her the truth.  Her friend Portia forces the issue and everything starts to get more complicated.  There are people from her home village dying, as an epidemeoplogist she has a chance to save people's lives.

 

It was a fun read, you could see where the problems were coming from.

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text 2018-12-05 21:24
24 Festive Tasks, Door 9 - Thanksgiving UPDATED to include Task 2
Amelia: An Autumn Bride - Hildie McQueen
To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 - Adam Hochschild
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Alyssa Cole,Rose Lerner,Courtney Milan
Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story - Kurt Eichenwald
The Lotus Palace - Jeannie Lin
The Jade Temptress - Jeannie Lin
Once Upon a Spine - Kate Carlisle
Bitch Planet Volume 1 - Kelly Sue DeConnick,Robert Wilson IV,Valentine De Landro
Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch - Kelly Sue DeConnick
Nightingales Under the Mistletoe: (Nightingales 7) - Donna Douglas

Thanksgiving

 

Book: Today, I read Amelia: An Autumn Bride (Brides for All Seasons #7) by Hildie McQueen (autumn colors).

 

Task #1

The three books I am most thankful for reading this year are:

 

1. To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild

          This is what I would recommend to anyone, but especially non-history readers, if they wanted to read one book about World War I. 

 

2. Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole

              I'm not a fangirl of Hamilton or his musical (although I do listen and enjoy the soundtrack), but getting new material from these authors was enough for me to buy it. Courtney Milan's story was my favorite, but Rose Lerner's and Alyssa Cole's stories were wonderful as well. 

 

3. Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story by Kurt Eichenwald

             This book was a door stopper, but read so much like a novel that it didn't feel over long at all. This is the true story of the rise and fall of Enron.

 

Honorable mention: The Lotus Palace and The Jade Temptress (Pingkang Li Mysteries #1 and 2) by Jeannie Lin.

 

Task #2

My perfect meal, created by a chef and his/her/their team, is inspired by my Italian heritage. It would be time and resource intensive, ergo I would never make it for myself.

1. Starters - Caprese salad and friend calamari

2. Main - Zuppa di Pesce e Frutti de Mare (just a ton of seafood in a clear broth)

3. Sides - Baked Fennel with Parmesan and Mushroom risotto

4. Dessert - Tiramisu

 

Task #3

The book I read this year with the most "stuffing" was Once Upon a Spine (A Bibliophile Mystery #11) by Kate Carlisle. Details about the most mundane things with boring vanilla characters and constant wedding talk - and the murder mystery was an afterthought until the very end. 

 

Task #4

Honestly, I can't remember all the freebies I download in a single month, let alone in a year. So here is what I bought this month:

 

1. Bitch Planet Volume 1 and 2 by Kelly Sue DeConnick et al (from Foyles)

2. A Nightingale Christmas Carol and Nightingales Under the Mistletoe by Donna Douglas (from a charity shop)

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review 2018-11-10 06:50
I Knight Thee Good Fun
A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals - Alyssa Cole
A Duke by Default - Alyssa Cole

I started reading Alyssa Cole sometime last year. I think I saw her name on a list of women of color writing contemporary romance, and given how tragically white much romance is, I thought I should give her a shot. I read her Off the Grid series, which, in addition to being both science fictional and post-apocalyptic (these things are not necessarily the same things, a distinction I'm happy to fight about), also include a gay romance and one with and Asian dude as the hottie. Oh, and Cole is clearly a nerd and a geek, and she is not afraid of some pop cultural jokes. Really good stuff. 

 

I didn't read more, at the time, because I'm, like, not as interested in modern day princess stories. I once went regularly to this open mic at an Irish bar run by a Welshman, and there was this woman who showed up regularly in full on tartan explosion. (Yes, I recognize that's all very Celticly confused, but this is America; deal). She tended to sit in the booth behind mine, and we were nodding acquaintances. She drove me absolutely fucking bananas with her bullshit.

 

See, she claimed to be some sort of Scottish royalty, like maybe not a duchess, exactly, but more like a countess? Honestly, I find it hard to give a fig about titles so none of that stuff is going to track for me. Anyway, she had this younger dude who liked to do sweeping bows and a bunch of hand-kissing, probably because he spent too much time at the Ren Fest. Once, he tried to drag me into it, and I was like, sorry, I live in a representational democracy and have zero interest in kowtowing to someone because of who their grandparents are.

 

There was a record scratch noise and some people got pissed at me, but fuck royalty. Some of my people were hapless drunks, others were fleeing various wars, some just hated their hometowns. I feel neither pride nor shame about my ancestors; they were just people: good, bad, and indifferent.

 

Point being, I have something of a chip when it comes to the concept of hereditary monarchy. Sure, fine, if they're figureheads like in Denmark (though I'm still not bowing and scraping), but actual ruling dynasties like the al Saud family are monsters, as one recently brutally murdered journalist could attest if he hadn't been dismembered and murdered, not exactly in that order. 

 

Which is to say, I'm a fucking crank about a little subgenre of romance novels with lighthearted wish fulfillment about being a princess. I recognize I have issues. 

 

So, it came as something of a surprise when I actually earnestly enjoyed Duke by Default. Cole dives right into the class issues of the peerage, and doesn't cut those assholes any slack. Her Duke character is actually the child of a Scottish Duke and a refugee, raised by a step-father and with half siblings who are straight up black. He's not some ponce, and more's the better. Oh, and his love interest is coming to terms with an ADHD diagnosis, which was sensitively written. All told, well done. 

 

Princess in Theory, less so. (Note: I read these books out of order.) The main character, who has aged out of the foster care system and is struggling to make it in the STEM field as a black woman of no means, was a fucking great character. Prince what's his face from an imaginary African country, him I did not like much at all. Sure, some of this is intentional: he's to have a redemption arc from being a rich dickhead to monarch with a heart of gold. But I just couldn't get on board, though of course some of this is my aforementioned issues. And Princess in Theory is still a well written novel with an admirable heroine, so do not credit my bitching too much. 

 

Anyway! So, one which didn't work so great for me (due mostly to me), and one which knocked it out the park. I would totally read number three. Alyssa Cole is pretty great. 

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