Review: An Unconditional Freedom by Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Jen

Wow. What an engrossing and powerful book. This is the third installment in Alyssa Cole’s Loyal League series, but the first for me. And it holds up completely as a standalone.

If you’ve read even a handful of my reviews, you know I am a sucker for a tortured hero, and my gosh, Daniel Cumberland is certainly tortured. He was a black man born free who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. He spent months being subjugated and abused, until the day he was rescued and delivered to the Loyal League. Their mission: to help take down the Confederacy. Daniel joins their cause, but he does it more for vengeance then altruism.

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Review: Once Ghosted Twice Shy by Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Sara

Part of Alyssa Cole’s wildly successful Reluctant Royals series, Once Ghosted, Twice Shy, follows aid to the prince of Thesolo, Likotsi, as she spends a rare day off in New York City trying to forget the woman who left her behind. In most cases the odds of meeting Fabiola, the girl who got away, in a city of millions would be lousy, but Likotsi’s goddess seems to be feeling mischievous and a chance encounter on a stalled subway leads to a day of spontaneous discovery, answered questions and a chance at joy.

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Joint Review: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Sara and Caitlin

Sara: A Princess in Theory was one of my favorite books of 2018 and yet, somehow I forgot to review it. Caitlin also listed it as one of her favorites and also didn’t review it. Luckily, there’s no expiration dates on great books. Enjoy our joint review below.

A fresh retelling of the classic Cinderella story, A Princess in Theory begins with our heroine Naledi “Ledi” Smith receiving some spam in her inbox. Ledi isn’t dumb enough to believe the email claiming she’s the long lost and Goddess ordained princess of Thesolo, a small African nation, but it brings up feelings and desires that she can’t ignore. Passed around in the foster care system after the death of her parents, stuck at two jobs in which she’s not appreciated and living out of a shoebox apartment while she completes her Epidemiology Masters degree, Ledi struggles with belonging and fitting in. Being a princess, even if it’s too good to be true, would be a vast improvement to the life Ledi’s been living.

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Sara’s Favorites of 2018

by Sara

Overall, 2018 was not a great year for me as far as books and reading went. I felt like I struggled to be interested in a lot of the books that came out this year and then was let down by some favorite authors whose books elicited little more than a “Meh, it was ok” from me. These books, listed below, are the books that broke through my reading malaise and wowed me.

Thirsty by Mia Hopkins – I’ll be honest, I was prepared to hate this book. However, what I found when I got down to reading it was an original and sexy redemption story.

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole – This Contemporary Romance is one of the times when it’s safe to judge a book by its cover. Just like its cover art, A Princess in Theory is a vibrant and beautiful romance. Funny and heart-felt it, it warmed my heart to see the geeky girl get the prince and be able to use her enormous and sexy brain.

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Caitlin’s Favorites of 2018

by Caitlin

I read some really wonderful romances (and some romances that I did not love quite so much) in 2018. Some of them were novels that came out this year, while sometimes I caught up on an author’s backlog (Jennifer Ashley and Elizabeth Hoyt come to mind for that).

There were also a few books that got some much-deserved heat this year – like Cat Sebastian’s Unmasked by the Marquess and Talia Hibbert’s A Girl Like Her – but both of those authors made my list for different books they published this year.

For my money, the most underrated romance this year was Meredith Duran’s The Sins of Lord Lockwood. Duran’s books are all incredible, but I’m especially floored this came and went without the pomp and circumstance it deserved. A sort of retelling of Count of Monte Cristo with a heroine who needs an heir (as opposed to the hero who needs it) and a historical romance where the heroine inherits her own lands and is genuinely powerful in her own right, Lockwood was an angsty masterpiece. Lord Liam Lockwood is brooding and a little broken and very sexy when the book starts and a sweet little puppy dog during the flashbacks. He is the best of both worlds. Lady Anna Lockwood is a role model with close female friendships and the weight of the world on her shoulders. I would recommend this book to literally anyone.

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Review: A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Sara

A Duke by Default is the fantastic second book in Alyssa Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. The book’s main female character is Portia, a wealthy former party girl from New York City who has decided to turn over a new leaf. No drinking, no random hook-ups and she’s taken an internship with a sword maker in Scotland. She is determined to show her friends and family that she’s not flaky and that she can commit to a career path just like her extraordinary twin sister. This becomes difficult when she meets her hot boss and he doesn’t trust her enough to let her use her expertise to help the business.

Tavish MacKenzie doesn’t have time for an American woman who’s constantly looking at her phone. With a failed marriage and a business that’s going the same way he’s doing everything in his power to shut down Portia’s ideas for the business and his attraction to her. When he discovers he’s up for a Dukedom, his entire world turns upside and the fledgling romance between himself and Portia will either withstand the new realities of his life or go the way of history. [Read more…]

Review: Hamilton’s Battalion by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, Alyssa Cole

Reviewed by Jen

This anthology cashes in on the popularity of Hamilton with a trio of love stories against the backdrop of characters marginalized by race, religion, and sexuality. I haven’t seen the musical that has captured the hearts of so many, but you really don’t need to be familiar with it to understand what’s going on here. Eliza Hamilton is collecting stories from her husband’s soldiers after his death about their history with him. Hamilton, the Yorktown, and the Revolutionary are the threads that hold the novellas together. [Read more…]

Review: Mixed Signals by Alyssa Cole

mixed signalsReviewed by Janell

This is the third book in a post-apocalyptic series. I still haven’t read the first, but I reviewed (and enjoyed) the second book here. It’s been a few years since the Flare knocked out all the electricity. Long enough for small power grids to come back on. Long enough for Maggie, the youngest Seong sibling, to get her GED, learn to play the guitar really well, and head off to college.

As the story opens, Maggie is chopping off all of her hair. It’s been her most complimented feature, and she hid behind it a lot. Now that she’s going away to college, she’s ready for a new, more powerful identity. [Read more…]

Review: Signal Boost by Alyssa Cole

signal boostReviewed by Janell

This is a sequel to a book I haven’t read, but I heard great things about it so I gave it a go. I haven’t even read post-apocalyptic romance in a while, and I was pleased that the focus in this series is more about the people than the situation.

In the first book, Radio Silence, all of the electricity stopped working. John and his best friend, Arden, made their way to his parents’ cabin. As Signal Boost opens, the makeshift family has settled into a quiet routine, and everyone is reasonably happy. But John (or Jang-wan, as his mother calls him) feels unsettled, like his progress as a person has stalled, and he can’t appreciate his circumstances in the present because he worries that he will always be stuck there. [Read more…]