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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.6 out of 5
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  • a fun romance, but makes you think too…

    How to Catch a Queen is the first in author Alyssa Cole’s Runaway Royals series, which is itself a spin-off from Cole’s Reluctant Royals series. I’ve read and enjoyed two of the three titles in that series, so I was happy to receive an advance copy of this title from the publisher to review. And I liked it a lot. To me, one of Cole’s strengths is creating a satisfyingly romantic storyline, while still having her characters act like real people, dealing with real life. Shanti Mohapi has dreamed of and trained to be a queen for almost her whole life, inspired by the queen of her own country, a living example of how much influence a queen can wield for the good of her people. But, as a commoner, there are a lot of barriers for Shanti to overcome along the way. On the other hand, as his father’s only child, and thus the only heir to the kingdom of Njaza, Prince Sanyu has had a pretty horrible upbringing (toxic masculinity, anyone?), which has left him feeling unworthy of assuming the throne. Add in a requirement for Prince Sanyu to marry before his father dies; an app called RoyalMatch.com that comes up with Shanti as a potential bride; and a nasty senior official, Musoke, to get in the way; and we’re off to the races! One of the things that really stands out about How to Catch a Queen is Cole’s depiction of the consequences of Sanyu’s difficult childhood relationships with his father and, perhaps even more, with Musoke. After his father passes away, Sanyu knows that his country has lots of problems, and needs him to be an engaged and effective king. But he feels that he can’t live up to his father’s legacy and as a result, just spends a lot of time depressed and stuck in his own head. Luckily for him, Shanti is more grounded, and together they have the potential to help both each other and Njaza. And there are sparks flying between them too! Of course, it’s not that easy (or there wouldn’t be a book), and they have troubles to overcome along the way, but I’ll stay silent on those to avoid being spoiler-ish. Finally, on a lighter note, the humorous touches of RoyalMatch.com and the royal chat groups, especially the guys’ group, “Relaxing LoFi Royal Beats”, were great. I did have two minor beefs with this book - neither of which was big enough to spoil my enjoyment of it, however. First, Cole depicts Sanyu’s childhood as so toxic that at times, it almost seemed over the top, and thus pulled me out of the story every now and then. For me, his past could have been a little less extreme and still gotten the message across. And second, Musoke’s turnaround and “blanket pardon/acceptance” at the end felt too facile, and thus was a little hard for me to really accept All-in-all, though, I really liked How To Catch a Queen, and reading it has reminded me that I want to go back and read the title in the earlier series that I’ve missed out on so far. Please note that I tend to be pretty conservative in awarding stars, only giving five stars to maybe one in thirty or forty books. So four stars is a solid rating from me and means I really recommend a book. And my thanks again to the Avon/Edelweiss for the ARC!

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    6 person found this review helpful

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  • Brilliant

    Shanti has achieved her childhood dream of becoming a queen—but there's a catch: there's a 4-month trial period. No queen in the country's history has been invited to stay permanently. Sanyu II is mourning the death of his father and convinced he has no chance of succeeding as absolute monarch of the kingdom he inherited. He agreed to the arranged marriage because it was his father's dying wish. Sanyu has no desire to get attached to his bride, when all the queens before her were forced to leave. But Shanti has different ideas. She doesn't need love, but she does want to help Sanyu come into his own as monarch, and bring his country into the twenty-first century. But will she get the chance, when the patriarchal system insists on her silence? Alyssa Cole has created a fascinating world in this fictional African kingdom. She did a brilliant job of depicting a despotic monarch who's driven by fear of failure—and the wise wife who helps him find his strength and his identity as a compassionate leader. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received.

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  • A Great Start to a New Series

    This was so fun. I loved the Reluctant Royals series, so when I saw this start of a new series, I knew I had to try it! First off the cover is gorgeous, I don't feel like there's enough yellow and orange covers out there. Second, I almost died laughing when the heroine was compared to a sexy Pikachu. It was a little slower than I typically like my romance - there was quite a bit of them by themselves at the beginning before we got to any real interactions (or to anything beyond a regular interaction), but otherwise I really enjoyed it and I'm excited for the second one!

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  • What are you waiting for? Go read it

    It's a great romance. The characters are deep and the story will imerge you in a new world.

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