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Adult, Review / August 16, 2016
His Royal Secret Duology by Lilah PaceHis Royal Secret
Date: July 19th, 2016
185 pages
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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James, the handsome, cosmopolitan Prince of Wales, is used to being in the public eye. But he's keeping a king-sized secret...James, next in line for the throne, is gay.

He’s been able to hide his sexual orientation with the help of his best friend and beard, Lady Cassandra. Sometimes he feels like a coward for not coming out, but he daren’t risk losing the crown. If he did, the succession would fall on his deeply troubled younger sister, Princess Amelia. To protect her, James is willing to live a lie.

While on holiday, he meets Benjamin Dahan—a rugged international reporter with a globe-trotting, unattached life—who catches far more than James's eye. And when Ben is transferred to London, it seems fate may finally be smiling on James.

But what began as a torrid fling grows into something far more intimate and powerful. Soon James will have decide who he is, what he wants from life and love, and what he’s willing to sacrifice for the truth...

This is quite the fairy tale m/m romance! I first read His Royal Secret back in July but waited to review it and His Royal Favorite together as it really is one story. The main focus is on James, Prince of Wales, who is unhappily in the closet due to his concerns regarding how much of a tailspin his sexuality would throw both the monarchy and his family in were it to be known. He has a number of decent reasons for this, ranging from a mentally ill younger sibling who does not want to inherit, a scheming uncle who does, and worries over what kind of stance The Church of England will take and how that will affect public support. Beyond all that, James as lived a very privileged but undeniably controlled and limited life in preparation for becoming king, loss of the crown would make the loss of a normal youth feel a waste in so many ways and he is a both tender and steely young man who takes the duty he was raised for seriously. On a trip to Kenya is encounters globe-trotting reporter Benjamin Dahan and their clandestine affair is the center of the first book. Since their coming together was with the original understanding that no one was to ever know, and that it would have an end date, the relationship in the first book is more physical than emotional. Especially on the part of Ben, as he typically avoids relationships after having a very negative, but impactful, one in his youth. Everything changes when James makes the decision to come out publicly and Ben has to either accept that the affair is over or face the limelight. The only real drawback I felt the first book had was that it did feel almost entirely sexual at times, but that was also a reflection of the fact that, at that point, out of necessity on the part of James (who knew he wished he could have a real relationship) and unwillingness for more from Ben, it was all they agreed to.

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By: Diane
Review, Young Adult / July 13, 2015
The Sea of Tranquility by Katja MillayThe Sea of Tranquility
Author: Katja Millay
Publisher: Atria Books, Simon & Schuster
Date: November 2012
434 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance
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I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

Please Note: This book contains mature content including profanity, drug/alcohol use, and sexual situations/language.

For the past couple of years, I’ve been in quite a contemporary rut! I tend to stay away from storylines that I know will have me ugly crying through the entire novel. When I’ve picked up a contemporary in the past, I’ve remained disconnected from the characters. I read the book at arms length through a fear of being emotionally unprepared. However, I know I’ve missed out on an abundance of beautiful stories, so I need to get out of this rut! Since many people hold The Sea of Tranquility as one of their favourite contemporary novels, I thought it would be a good place to start.

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By: Sarah
Adult, Review / July 21, 2012
Tempting the Best Man by J. LynnTempting the Best Man
Author: J. Lynn
Series: Gamble Brothers #1
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Date: April 2012
172 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother's best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can't stop bickering.

Forced together for her brother's wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they're forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of "accidents" as the family tries to prove their "spark" can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don't strangle each other first...

Tempting the Best Man is a wonderfully light contemporary romance that by the last page had me smiling from ear to ear. I really enjoyed it.

The basis for the storyline is simple. Maddie is the maid of honour at her brother’s wedding. The whole wedding party spends the days leading up to the wedding at a vinyards and that includes the Gamble brothers, the groom’s best friends. Chandler, Chad and Chase (can you get any more American than that? haha) Maddie has been head over heals in love with Chase since she was a young girl and is dreading spending the weekend with him as things between them recently have become complicated. And of course by an ‘unlucky’ mistake in the bookings they end up having to share a cabin together.

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By: Alison
Adult, Review / June 15, 2012
Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. JamesFifty Shades Darker
Author: E.L. James
Series: Fifty Shades #2
Publisher: Arrow, Cornerstone Publishing
Date: September 2011
532 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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Daunted by the singular sexual tastes and dark secrets of the beautiful, tormented young entrepreneur Christian Grey, Anastasia Steele has broken off their relationship to start a new career with a Seattle publishing house.

But desire for Christian still dominates her every waking thought, and when he proposes a new arrangement, Anastasia cannot resist. They rekindle their searing sensual affair, and Anastasia learns more about the harrowing past of her damaged, driven and demanding Fifty Shades.

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her, and make the most important decision of her life.

The second book in the Fifty Shades series, in my opinion is not quite as good as the first.

I still enjoyed it and I’m still looking forward to reading the third one but I just felt that it was missing a little something. And I also became a little exasperated with the two main characters.

What I did like about this book was the extra characters and storylines that are brought into play. The first book was very much about Christian and Ana getting to know each other and so it generally just focused on the two of them. And although the story in Fifty Shades Darker is also focused on Christian and Ana, there are other storylines and characters introduced too. Such as the evil ‘Mrs Robinson’, and Ana’s rather inappropriate boss. And it was great to have more chapters with Christian’s family in them.

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By: Alison
Adult, Review / May 3, 2012
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. JamesFifty Shades of Grey
Author: E.L. James
Series: Fifty Shades #1
Publisher: Arrow
Date: May 2011
552 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

So you may have heard about the hype surrounding this series. This of course is the Fifty Shades series by E.L. James. It’s all over the charts, it’s on the TV, in the news, and everyone is talking about it. And well, I just wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about.

And now I know. Christian Grey. THAT’s what all the fuss is about. Of course the story is compelling, interesting and different… but what it all boils down to is this unbelievably dominant, swoon worthy, deliciously hot alpha male character. He really is something else.

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By: Alison