November 10, 2014

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Suddenly Royal (Suddenly Royal #1)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Suddenly Royal (Suddenly Royal #1), by Nicole Chase
Published April 23, 2013
Publisher: self-published
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.

Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.

While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

I remember when Suddenly Royal came out. I initially passed it up because I wasn't sure it was for me. It seemed a little... cutsey. But, as the other books in the series came out, I became more and more curious about this series that seems to pick up more fans every week. When my next Audible credit became available, I went for it and ended up being so glad I did. I wasn't always crazy about the audio version, but this book was exactly what I needed.

Samantha's world comes to a screeching halt when she finds out she's descended from royalty and is invited to return to her family's homeland to reclaim her land and title. Thing is, Samantha has a real life here in the states. She's getting ready to graduate with her master's degree, she's taking care of her dad who is sick, and she has no idea what to do with money and power or with a certain hottie prince who is quickly wearing down her defenses.

One of the hallmarks of the new adult genre is intense drama and angst. There's usually at least one tragic past or traumatic event that defines the couple in question and causes them to come together through either shared sadness or a hero-complex. Amazingly and refreshingly, there is NONE of that in Suddenly Royal.

So, you might ask yourself, what is left? I mean, sure - there has to be some sort of drama or conflict. Otherwise, what sort of story is there to tell? I assure you - there is still drama and angst in Suddenly Royal. It just doesn't come from tragedy. It's much more organic, which is a nice change of pace. Above all else, this was a book about two people trying to figure out their place in each others' lives.

Samantha is a stubborn girl. She is a good student, studying to become an expert in birds of prey. She lives with her BFF and helps take care of her dad who has cancer. She's content and has no desire to change anything. Not even when gorgeous prince Alex lands in her back yard and starts actively pursuing her. Sam held out for a long time - waaaaaay longer than I ever would have. Alex was completely and utterly perfect. He was beautiful and kind and smart and charismatic. Oh yeah - and, he's a prince of a foreign country, so that means he's loaded and has a pretty sexy accent. That Sam held him off for a day, much less weeks and weeks was sorta frustrating.

Samantha does go to Lilaria to reclaim her title. That's when the story really picked up. It's a fictional country, yet I loved how well Nicole Chase painted it. They have their own language and government. The story for how Samantha is a part of it all was completely believable and not contrived in any way. Samantha's hang-ups to getting involved with Alex were understandable, even if her reticence became intensely frustrating after a time.

But, when Samantha finally gave in and she and Alex had their moment - OMG, it was so fantastic. The chemistry that had been building for so many chapters absolutely exploded. Those two were amazing together, and it was way hotter than I expected it would be. The ending couldn't have been more perfect, with loose ends for Samantha, Alex, and even all the side characters being tied up nicely.

I listened to the audio version of Suddenly Royal. It wasn't my favorite, but it certainly wasn't the worst I'd ever listened to either. I thought the narrator, Caitlin Davies, sounded kind of sleepy. She did do a nice job with Alex's voice, though. I'm looking forward to reading the other books in this series. Not sure I'll do the audio versions this time around, but I can't wait to read Catherine's story. Especially if it contains more glimpses of Sam and Prince Yummy.   

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