Series: Reluctant Royals #3
Publication date : April 30st, 2019
Publisher : Avon Books| Harpercollins
Genre : Adult | Romance
Page Count: 384
Synopsis : The Reluctant Royals series returns with a good girl searching for the life that’s not too big, and not too small, and the bad boy prince who might be just right for her…
Nya Jerami fled Thesolo for the glitz and glamour of NYC but discovered that her Prince Charming only exists in her virtual dating games. When Nya returns home for a royal wedding, she accidentally finds herself up close and personal—in bed—with the real-life celebrity prince who she loves to hate.
For Johan von Braustein, the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourg, acting as paparazzi bait is a ruse that protects his brother—the heir to the throne—and his own heart. When a royal referendum threatens his brother’s future, a fake engagement is the perfect way to keep the cameras on him.
Nya and Johan both have good reasons to avoid love, but as desires are laid bare behind palace doors, they must decide if their fake romance will lead to a happily-ever-after. (From Goodreads)
*I received an eArc of this book through Edelweiss in exchange of an honest review*
CW: Abusive father, discussion of parental death, on page sex.
*flailing* *squealing* *swooning* THIS BOOK WAS SO GOOD I WANT TO CRY! No but seriously, A Prince on Paper turned out being so different from everything I expected to be but…for the better. It was so soft and tender and gentle, the kind of romance books that makes you tear up and want to hold it close to your heart forever, it was so very close to beat A Princess in Theory as my favourite in the series but it didn’t quite do that. It nonetheless got a strong hold on my heart and I adored it with every bit of it.
I feel like I’ve waxed poetry about Alyssa Cole’s writing time and time again because that’s one of the main things that quickly made her climb to the top of my favourite romance authors’ list. So if you want to see me talk about how gorgeous, in turns funny and emotional it is and how the way she threads words together gives her stories a fairytale like vibe, head on to my reviews for both A Princess in Theory and A Duke by Default. A Prince on Paper is written, like its predecessors and a lot of romance books, in dual perspective, starring Nya, Naledi’s cousin from book 1 whom I fell in love with almost instantly, and Johan, who’s Thabiso’s best friend, also from book 1.
Like I said, Nya is a character I fell in love with from her first appearance in A Princess in Theory so imagine my excitement when it was announced that A Prince on Paper would star her. She starts off as a pushover, someone people disregard and base their interactions with her on this image of her as a weakling her abusive father built of her all throughout her life and she’s SICK of not being seen as the woman she is and the person she wants to be. From the start of the book onward though, we see her break out of her shell and bloom into someone who’s self-assured, assertive and honestly just…kick-ass, which are all things she’s always been but that were stifled and crushed under her father’s manipulations and lies. And I loved witnessing that change in her so much. All that happened while she stayed true to her sweet, kind, optimistic self who was honest, and so very open about her feelings, I was in awe.
Speaking of her father. He reminded me so much of mother Gothel (from Rapunzel) and it was honestly terrifying. And fact of the matter is people think that parents (or people in general) like him don’t exist, that it’s exaggerated but the sad truth is that it’s not, they exist and so many people live in similar circumstances to Nya’s and I appreciated how Cole explored the subtle nuances of manipulation and emotional abuse, how it’s fed over years and years, how it can be disguised as love and “doing what’s best for you” when in truth it’s what’s best for them, keeping the people they abuse on a tight leash for whatever they can think of. This also showed that even when you’re abused that doesn’t always negate the love you have for whoever your abuser is and that walking away doesn’t just make that love go away (hence the quote above). It was so hard to read but ultimately amazing, especially seeing Nya free herself of him but still struggle.
Johan has his own set of struggles too. He has this façade of a playboy he carefully crafted for himself to direct attention away from his sibling, the crowned princx when in truth he’s soft and mushy but rarely lets people in because due to his mom dying, he’s been equating love to pain and the solution he found to protect himself is to never let people close enough to risk losing them. He’s a sweet goofball who’s canonically bisexual!! Everyone thinks that all his business (literally) is in the tabloids, but besides hiis carefully crafted image, he was very secretive and protective of his life and the few things he was truly passionate about.
I also loved the exploration of his relationship with his sibling, who is referred to with he/him pronouns for most of the book but then comes out as non-binary towards the end (they/them pronouns). There was an entire side plot dedicate to not only them navigating that relationship but also his sibling figuring out how they want to handle their coming out, and who to come out to as the next monarch of their small country.
Now to my favourite part of the book: Nya and Johan as a couple. I LIVED FOR THEIR INTERACTION. It was shots of love straight to my heart and I couldn’t help but squeal and beam like the fool I am at every interaction of theirs. I loved how both of them were very straight forward about their attraction to each other and later on their feelings, how Johan acknowledged the issues he had to work through and how Nya knew her value and that she deserved better and called him out when he stepped out of line. Their banter is playful and easy with some of the silliest and yet cutest back and forths and situations I’ve ever read in a romance book and that made me heart SWELL!!
Last but not least, being kept in a somewhat of a virtual fortress until her late twenties, Nya is inexperienced in the sex department, although she knows exactly what she likes and how to get it, she has never been with anyone before Johan. So I really, and I mean REALLY, appreciated how slow they took things and how the author made even the most seemingly “tame” scenes sexy and steamy. This woman knows how to write not only her romance but also her smut.
I think that sums up all I had to say about A Prince on Paper. I read it with Melanie @ Mel to the Any, and that made my reading experience even better because I has her to swoon with and share thoughts with and I couldn’t have asked for a better buddy reading partner ❤
That’s it until next time.
Did you read A Prince on Paper? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.