November 2, 2016

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: Royally Screwed (Royally #1)

Royally Screwed (Royally #1), by Emma Chase
Publish Date:
October 18, 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Format: audiobook, purchased
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 5 STARS

(Synopsis) Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka His Royal Hotness, is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant; hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you. 

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn't bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn't what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be.

There's a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they've traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces, and haven't chopped anyone's head off lately, the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia, Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

I have not enjoyed an audiobook more this year than Royally Screwed. It was one of those audiobooks that causes you to take an extra loop around the block before pulling into the garage just so you can listen for a few more minutes. I found myself excitedly shooing my family out of the kitchen just so I could do the dishes. And I took my daily walk without fail - even when it was raining. 

It goes without saying that the story was magnificent. It's everything every girl with even a fraction of romanticism in her heart loves - a prince falls in love with a common, ordinary American girl (and a brash New Yorker to boot) and whisks her away to his foreign castle to wine, dine and screw. And, like every good story, the relationship is doomed to fail from the beginning. Seriously, it was perfect. 

But, the real icing on the cake for me was the narration. Shane East doesn't have to fake his foreign accent. And I love Andy Arndt's other work (she's great in Meghan March's Beneath series). Together, they made this story come to life. Truly - their performances were brilliant, and they made Olivia and Nicholas seem so real for me. As much as it killed me to wait until the end - because, honestly, if I had read the book instead of listened, I know I would've been done in 24 hours or less - the wait ended up being as much fun as the actual story. 

So, let's talk about the story for a moment. I love books that have no clear path to an HEA. And this was one of those. Nicholas is forbidden by law to marry any woman who is not some sort of royalty. It would've been trite to have Nicholas easily alter the law or to have someone dig up an old relative of Olivia's that happened to be royalty. I'm so glad Emma Chase chose to not go either of those routes. 

Instead, what we got was a book with this mounting tension that built and built as you moved toward the end. As Olivia and Nicholas go from New York to Wesco and spend month after month together learning secrets and habits, they fall so desperately in love. We're talking serious swooning here. Since Royally Screwed is in dual POV, we get to hear both characters' thoughts about the other and the moments when each realizes they're... screwed. 

They can't be together, yet they can't be apart either. And it's that impossibility that made this story so wonderful. Because I knew Emma Chase wouldn't let me down. But, I had no idea how she would pull it off either. 

I didn't miss the set up for Henry's story, which is next. Nicholas' adorable younger brother's book will be no less amazing, I'm sure. Is it 2017 yet? 

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