In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. In The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.
Bubby: The plot was good, the characters were great but the best part of The Kiss of Deception was definitely the way Mary E. Pearson structured the novel. We’d have a segment from Lia’s point of view, a section from the prince’s side of things and then one from Mr. Assassin Boy. And the kicker was that for most of the book you have absolutely no idea which boy is which. We only know them as Kaden and Rafe. Is Kaden the prince? Or is it Rafe? Only one way to find out!
Sissy: I totally didn’t know who was the prince and who was the assassin until it was revealed when the assassin kidnaps Lia. I got it all wrong and was surprised but glad. This tale leads you on a merry chase, literally and figuratively. First of all, when Lia flees on her wedding day with her maid Pauline, she knows where she’s going but not how to get there or what she’s going to do when she arrives. She has to take on a whole new persona and hide from unknown villains. She doesn’t know who to trust, even though her heart is trying to give her clues.
Bubby: Her heart is doing her no favors. It tells her to trust BOTH of the boys – even the one who’s been sent to kill her.
Sissy: But her heart definitely makes her lean in a certain direction. Her new life as a hard-working bar maid prepares her for the rough road ahead when she gets kidnapped and her life takes on a decidedly un-princess-like turn.
Bubby: You’d think there would be a clear-cut bad guy in this story but there really isn’t, except for the shadowy leader of the barbarians who we really don’t get to know much about. And there is one other big nasty scumbucket but I can’t reveal who. You’ll know him when you see him. You’d think the assassin would be the bad guy, but even as you hate what the assassin is doing, you still feel for him and wonder what he could have been under different circumstances.
Sissy: There are lots of delightful side plots and characters that fill out the story and make it so delectable. When I got 95% into the book and realized that things weren’t going to resolve, I threw myself onto the floor, banged my fists and said “Fie!” And when is book 2 coming out? Quick, Bubby, google it and tell me!
Bubby: She’s working on it, but no publication date yet. Boo.
Sissy: The way Mary E Pearson did end this first book was so yummy. So poetic, so fateful. So clever. You must read it!
Bubby: I must admire Mary E Pearson for her versatility as an author. She has written several other YA books but they are all very modern or even futuristic. The Jenna Fox series is really well done and my teens just ate it up but I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite. Just not quite my thing. But this book. Is. Magic. Everything I am looking for in a YA Fantasy novel.
Sissy: The Kiss of Deception is a delicious romantic adventure saga with a touch of magic. All you have to do is look at the fantastic cover art and you will have a preview of the wondrous story ahead. 4.5 bubbles.
Bubby: Practically perfect in every way. 4.75 bubbles.
Regina Beswick never dreamed of faraway places. She’s happy with her life as a classic car mechanic and owner of a restoration shop. But an unexpected visitor and the discovery of a fairytale, drawn by her great-grandma, causes Regina to wonder if she might be destined for something more. Tanner Burkhardt, Minister of Culture for the Grand Duchy of Hessenberg, must convince the strong-willed Southerner, Miss Beswick, that she is his country’s long-lost princess. Failure could destroy his reputation and change his nation forever. As Regina and Tanner face the challenges before them, neither are prepared for love to invade their hearts and change every thing they believe about themselves. (From Goodreads.com)
Bubby: Remember A Year of Weddings series that we recently reviewed? Well, A March Bride is also by Rachel Hauck. The characters in the two stories do overlap slightly, but either book can stand alone nicely.
Sissy: Princess Ever After actually comes out before A March Bride. It’s scheduled for publication on February 4th, 2014. I thought it was a delightful story and I enjoyed it a bit more than A March Bride. It is a little fluffy but in a good way and there are all sorts of little hidden secrets and treasures to be found in the plot line. I love things like that.
Bubby: Definitely a fun twist on the “Princess Diaries” type of plot. I fell completely in love with the dashing romantic character of Tanner. Totally worth moving to another country for!
Sissy: Which is why Bubby has a man in every port (in her dreams)! The story goes back and forth between past and present, the past being the story of Reggie’s great-grandma Alice as told in her journal. So you just get little bits of tantalizing information about Alice at any one time. Definitely worth a read. Go reserve it on Amazon right now.
Click HERE to buy Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
We received a copy of Princess Ever After from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.
After having her heart broken twice, Alicia Dayne has sworn off men, decided to concentrate on her career, and is delighted to win a lucrative contract to make a commercial for Highborn Mattresses. She could make the most awesome fairytale commercial ever, except for Jonas Highborn, who isn’t exactly thrilled with her Princess and the Pea ideas, and really doesn’t want a prince in tights representing his company. Though he’s trying to keep his grieving mother happy by letting her have charge of the commercial shoot, and though Alicia’s trying to keep in mind that this annoying guy is her boss for the moment, they can’t seem to keep from clashing. Throw in an overly-handsome prince, a matchmaking mama, and a stunning rose garden, and maybe, just maybe, Alicia can be convinced they have a chance at something real. Because while she might not be a real princess, sometimes an ordinary girl’s got to take a chance, even when it seems too good to be true. (Synopsis from Goodreads.Com)
Sissy: Sometimes after having a rousing good political discussion with my daughter or trying not to be worried about the state of things on Capital Hill, I just want to read something so happy and non-threatening that I turn to a fluffy bit of literary froth like The Princess Problem by Diane Darcy. This soothes the savage beast and takes me away from the tragic turnings of reality. A delightfully creative reworking of The Princess and The Pea.
Bubby: You know when it’s cold outside and not the good kind of cold but the nasty drizzly I-live-in-a-snowcone kind of cold? And you are grumpy and can’t get warm? And then someone (like Sissy) makes you a cup of cocoa and brings you a blankie? And then you feel all better? Yep. That’s how this book made me feel. All warm and snuggly and happy. I do have a major issue with this story, however. It’s too short! I needed just a bit more. It was like having only half a chocolate bar. I need the whole bar! The whole entire bar, people!
Sissy: I was just about to say that The Princess Problem was almost too fluffy for me and then I glanced down at my hands, which I just polished with my 8-year-old niece’s pink glitter polish, complete with sparkling flower jewel, and noticed the eight strand seed pearl bracelet wrapped around my wrist and I realized that if I were a stripper, my name would be Fluffy GlitterSparkles. The prospective mother-in-law Willa Highborn is my favorite character because she is glamorous and elegant but at the same time warm and mischievous in her matchmaking. She reminds me of myself, really.
Bubby: Seriously? Must every review include how a main character “reminds you of yourself”? Especially when you describe her as elegant – right after your stripper name. Heavens.
Sissy: Don’t be jealous of my great depth of character that is similar to –
Bubby: Great depths of sewage treatment ponds?
Sissy: Your rudeness is unbecoming the sister of someone who resembles literary giants, which is how I was going to end my previous sentence. Anyway, there was some tongue-in-cheek cleverness in Diane Darcy’s writing which I enjoyed, such as the last name Highborn.
Bubby: The cleverness of the writing is really what saves The Princess Problem from being a complete sugar overload. There is just enough snark and sass to balance out the sweetness. Alicia and Jonas have delightful chemistry and it was fun to watch the relationship develop. I also enjoyed the fact that no one was ridiculously stupid in this storyline. Too often a major character (usually the female lead, unfortunately) overdramatically and self-abasingly undervalues herself and overvalues the inappropriate guy with whom she has fallen desperately in love. “I know he is the spawn of Satan and turns into a werewolf on alternate Thursdays and only wants me for my blood plasma, but I LOVE him!!!” None of that here. Alicia has some issues with commitment, but resolves them quickly and moves on with life! And Jonas is a good guy. Not the spawn of Satan.
Sissy: I generally like retellings of fairy tales. I have read hundreds of them. However, I just finished reading a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin and it was the most stupid book of all time. Made me want to pull out my uvula.
Bubby: Oh, that’s uvula. That hangy-down thing in one’s throat. I thought for a moment you said ukulele. I was confused as to why you’d feel the need to pull out your ukulele . . .
Sissy: And what? You thought I’d pull out my ukulele and write a song about hideous fairytale retellings?
Bubby: Exactly. You see my confusion.
Sissy: Yes, I see it daily.
Bubby: Actually, it might be a good song. You know my little girls’ favorite lullaby is “Truck Squished”, written by none other than you, Sissy.
Sissy: Yes. The truth is out. Famous, elegant blogger + songwriter. Now to finish. This fairytale retelling is a good one. A relaxing, non-demanding read. I give in 3.75 bubbles.
Bubby: I agree, as always, with my famously elegantly creative sister. 3.5 iridescent and sparkly bubbles.
Click HERE to buy The Princess Problem at Amazon.com