Review: After We Fell (After, #3), by Anna Todd

After We Fell (After #3)After We Fell by Anna Todd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like the first two books in the series, ‘After We Fell’ was completely consuming. Although the back and forth drama between Hardin and Tessa gets to be very irritating, I can’t seem to turn away from it. It’s like I’m stuck in an abusive relationship with this couple. I know it isn’t healthy. I know I should remove myself from the situation…but I just can’t do it. After all, maybe they’ll change.

Picking up where ‘After We Collided’ left off, Tessa’s father has reappeared in her life. Only, her father is not the man that she remembered from her childhood. He is homeless and has some serious addiction issues.

While Tessa wants to give her father a chance, Hardin cautions her against it. Hardin is an ass all of the time, but I really thought that he took it to a whole new level when her father was introduced. I couldn’t believe how incredibly insensitive and cruel he was. Even though he was absolutely correct to be concerned, he responded in a manner that showed absolutely no regard for Tessa’s feelings. I couldn’t believe some of the things he said about her father to her. Of course, like always, Tessa gets over it like it was hardly a blip on her radar.

More than the first two books, Hardin’s own issues with addiction were very apparent. Interestingly, the author seemed to avoid addressing this issue head on. I kept waiting for some sort of intervention, but it never really happened. I guess there was already enough drama in this story without tackling Hardin’s drinking problem.

This book also features plenty of fighting, breaking up and making up between Hardin and Tessa. If you expected Hardin and Tessa to settle down and start acting like a mature, committed couple, prepare to be disappointed. ‘After We Fell’ is full of the same angst-filled cycle of jealousy, acting out and game playing that were in previous books. Betrayals are around every corner and there is no shortage of drama.

From disastrous family vacations, to secrets, there is plenty of deceit to go around. Zed is back on scene again, playing a big role in the tension between Hardin and Tessa. Of course, he is only involved because Tessa pulled him in again. Meanwhile, there are more revelations about Tessa’s “friends”. I swear, they never learn their lessons!

Like the first two books, this book ends with a huge upset. If I ever thought that I would have the strength to quit this dysfunctional couple, the ending sucked me right back in. I absolutely had to see where the next book would lead.

I love to hate, and hate to love, this series! It is like watching a bad train wreck in slow motion. You know it’s going to be a disaster, but you just can’t turn away.

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Review: After We Collided (After, #2), by Anna Todd

After We Collided (After, #2)After We Collided by Anna Todd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After finishing the first book in the ‘After’ series, I immediately jumped into this second book. There was no way that I was going to quit this series with the way things ended at the end of ‘After’–absolutely, no way! I had to know how things were going to play out for this disastrous couple. They are like crack! It might kill me. I know it’s really not healthy…but I just can’t seem to pull myself away from it!

If I thought that Hardin and Tessa were going to grow up and start treating each other better, I would’ve been sorely disappointed. These two are every bit as toxic as they were the first time around. The back and forth, break-up and make-up, abusive cycle continues, strong as ever. Of course, I’m such a glutton for punishment that I had to have a front row seat for all of it!

Picking up right where the first book ended, Tessa does her best to try and piece her life back together. She has been betrayed by everyone that she thought were her friends — most of all, Hardin. Unfortunately, the manipulative jackass succeeded in tying her to him when he tricked her into moving into an apartment with him and away from the dorms. This will make distancing herself from him more difficult than she had hoped.

While Tessa makes a weak attempt at moving on, Hardin sets out to prove that his feelings for her are genuine. Of course, every time he starts to make any progress in that regard he does something that sabotages all of his efforts. They truly are their own worst enemies.

For what it’s worth, Hardin does seem to show some actual emotions in this book. Mainly, his regret and heartache shines through. It’s hard to feel sorry for him though, since all of his pain is entirely the result of his own cruel actions. To make matters worse, every time he starts to gain a little “nice guy” stock, he goes and does something abhorrent again, reminding me of what a despicable asshat he is. Some big revelations about his past only further prove that he is not to be trusted. He really is deplorable…but I love to hate him!

I also found myself feeling a little more irritated with Tessa’s weakness this time around. Can you say “doormat”? How many times is this girl going to fall for his crap? She also played the same childish games over and over, using other guys to make Hardin jealous, only to play the victim when she got the reaction she was looking for all along.

I felt sorry for Tessa at first. By the end of this book, I was marveling at the fact that she hadn’t been weeded out as part of the process of natural selection. Surely, this girl is too stupid to live!

That being said, I still can’t pull myself away from this angsty, infuriating story. It is like watching a trashy talk show or soap opera. It’s unrealistic. The relationships are toxic. It probably kills off brain cells. However, I can’t get enough of it. It is my latest guilty pleasure. I’m kind of ashamed to admit it, but I’m completely hooked on this series.

Like the first book, ‘After We Collided’ ends with a huge cliffhanger. Anna Todd certainly knows how to pull me back in. At this point, I think my relationship with this series is much like the relationship between Hardin and Tessa. I should probably cut all ties and get out while I can, but I just can’t seem to resist the pull. I’m on to the third book in this addictive, dysfunctional romance.

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Review: After (After, #1), by Anna Todd

After (After, #1)After by Anna Todd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you thought the ‘Fallen Crest High’ series was full of angst and teenage melodrama, you haven’t seen anything yet! ‘After’ is like many other teenage/college-aged romances, with all the “end of the world” dramatics…on steroids. I found this book to be equal parts irritating and addicting.

The “adult” part of me has to acknowledge the truth in much of the criticism I’ve seen regarding this story. Hardin and Tessa’s relationship was a train wreck. I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes and thinking “hang it up already”. However, I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy this story. It was a total guilty pleasure. Even though I was often annoyed, or even infuriated, by the goings on in this book, I couldn’t turn away. I really enjoyed this book, despite the responsible adult in me saying I should run far in the other direction.

The story centers on Theresa “Tessa” Young and her relationship with Hardin Scott. Tessa is portrayed as the quintessential sheltered prude. She is a sweet virgin, who dresses conservatively and arrives at her dorm with her over-bearing mother and high school sweetheart in-tow. Immediately, Tessa stands out and becomes a target for her roommate’s hard-partying group of friends.

More so than anyone else, Hardin seems to take extreme pleasure in tormenting Tessa. He is constantly toying with her and trying to humiliate her. He goes out of his way to put her down, but he’s always there. Despite all of his insults, he is constantly showing up in her daily life.

Little by little, Tessa and Hardin form a tenuous friendship. Eventually, it grows into more. There are plenty of obstacles along the way — none larger than Hardin’s broody, closed-off, and often volatile nature. Time and time again, Tessa forgives Hardin for his reprehensible behavior.

These two might take the prize for the number of times a single couple can go back and forth, breaking up and making up, in a single book. It did start to wear on my nerves, even as I couldn’t turn away. They were the perfect example of everything that only works in fiction. In real life, these two needed some serious counselling and intervention. They were toxic, to an extreme degree. No way would I ever want to be any where near a couple like this in real life. However, for a smutty romance, they definitely kept things interesting.

While I don’t want to give anything away, I will say that the ending of this book gutted me. I actually cried. I was so furious, I think I might have felt the betrayal as acutely as Tessa did!

So many times, I told myself that when this book was over that I wouldn’t be diving back in for another round of their melodramatic, childish antics. I was kidding myself. There was no way that I was going to skip the next book after that ending. It’s on to the next book for me.

As an aside, this book was apparently written as fan-fiction originally. It is supposed to be based on the lives of the boy band “One Direction”. Since I’m not very familiar with this group, I don’t have anything to offer in terms of how closely this book follows any of those band members. If it does closely follow one of the bandmate’s lives, God help the poor girls that are his prey.

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Review: Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! There was so much about this book that I really loved. ‘Eleanor & Park’ was touching and beautiful in it’s simplicity. This book captured the essence of first love and the perils of high school, while also tackling some serious issues, like abuse.

I listened to the Audible version and I have to give kudos to the narrator(s). The narration was extremely well done. The voices of the characters really drew you in and made you feel like you were right there in the moment with the characters. It says a lot about the narration when it can pull you into a story so completely.

As I was listening to this story, my heart broke for Eleanor. She had such a horrible home life and her school life wasn’t any better. The poor girl couldn’t escape bullying wherever she went. I felt so bad for her as she tried to navigate her difficult teenage years while trying to stand proud in the face of such cruelty. She was so smart, but trapped by the life she was dealt.

Park’s life stood out in stark contrast to Eleanor’s. He was raised in a home that was pretty much “ideal”. Of course, he had the typical teenage concerns and conflict with his parents. However, his petty problems only served to highlight how fortunate he was to have loving parents when contrasted with Eleanor’s reality.

Although Park initially avoided any association with Eleanor, succumbing to peer pressure, he eventually opened up to the girl that sat beside him on the school bus. That took a great deal of bravery on his part. Let’s face it, teenagers can be very cruel. Park risked joining Eleanor at the bottom of the social hierarchy when he decided to go against the grain and be kind to her. Little by little, they formed a friendship. Eventually, that friendship grew into more.

Park became the single most positive part of Eleanor’s daily life. He was the only person that showed her concern and treated her kindly. As the two grew closer, his family also served as a safe haven for Eleanor. For these reasons, I grew to love Park also.

This is a coming of age story and a story of first love. Rainbow Rowell managed to transport me right back to high school. Everyone who has been a teenager can relate to the experiences and emotions of these characters. This is the type of story that serves to remind us of the consequences of our actions and the effect of our words.

From start to finish, I was enthralled with ‘Eleanor & Park’. I was sure that this would be a 5-star read for me right up until about the 90% mark. Then, the story ended rather abruptly and I was left wanting. I couldn’t believe that the author that wrote such a beautiful story would end it in that way. It just didn’t seem fair or right. After everything, I was furious to see it close in the manner it did.

Overall, it was still a fabulous story. I won’t lie. I hated the way that the story ended. I just don’t need my fiction to be that true to life.

In fairness, the ending doesn’t seem to be an issue for most of my friends that have read this book. For me, it was upsetting enough to knock a star off the rating. The ending wrecked me and I went in search of a second book or an extra something that would provide closure. It didn’t happen and I’m still reeling. So, I loved it….right up until the ending.

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Review: The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story (Wonder, #1.5), by R. J. Palacio

The Julian Chapter: A Wonder StoryThe Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved ‘Wonder’ and think that everyone should read/listen to it at least once. However, with all of the different viewpoints offered, I felt like one of the most important POVs had been skipped. As much as I detested Julian in ‘Wonder’, I really wanted to know exactly what made him such a mean kid. How does a child learn to behave so hatefully?

Apparently, I wasn’t the only person that felt that Julian’s POV was needed. Immediately upon finishing ‘Wonder’, I went in search of Julian’s POV and I lucked out. The author wrote a separate short story to tell Julian’s side of the story. Of course, I dived right into Julian’s story right away and it proved to be a great decision.

I have to admit that as much as I wanted to hear Julian’s side of events and learn about what motivated him, I was a bit hesitant. Julian was a character that made me feel anger and rage at his actions. I had to keep reminding myself while reading ‘Wonder’ that he was just a child and that he probably didn’t fully grasp the impact of his words. Starting this book, I was worried that I wouldn’t find any redeeming qualities in Julian and that I would spend hours being upset by his callous behavior. Thankfully, my fears were unwarranted.

‘The Julian Chapter: A Wonder Story’ takes place toward the end of the school year and the following summer. It begins when Julian is caught leaving mean notes for Auggie and Jack in their lockers. The Principal and school counselor are tipped off and are able to intervene, finding an especially cruel note before Auggie does.

While Julian’s actions were inexcusable, his family dynamics spoke volumes. I was immediately taken aback by his parents lack of concern for his behavior and their obsession with public image. It was clear to me that this is where Julian’s troubles really started. As a parent, I was appalled by these shallow individuals. Julian’s mother even went so far as to photo-shop Auggie out of the class photo! I just have no words.

Initially, Julian is defensive and doesn’t really grasp the severity of his actions. However, as the story progresses – and with no help from his parents – he comes to see the error of his ways. His grandmother, whom he spends his summer vacation with in France, is instrumental in this.

Julian’s grandmother tells him about a boy that she knew when she was younger. He was disabled and often treated cruelly by the children in the village because they were afraid of him. As a young Jewish girl, hunted by the Nazis, it was this boy that ended up saving her life. Despite the mistreatment that he had endured, he showed kindness and bravery. He risked his own life to save a girl that had never paid him much attention, except to avoid him.

After hearing his grandmother’s story, Julian is able to connect the empathize with Auggie. Finally, he feels genuine remorse for his actions and understands exactly what he did. It was like he turned a new leaf and I really liked this new Julian.

I’m very glad that I read Julian’s story. I was worried about what I would get when I started it, but it did not disappoint. I especially liked Julian’s grandmother. She provided the guidance and wisdom that Julian’s parents failed to.

On the flip side, I could not so easily forgive Julian’s parents. Yes, they too came around a bit at the end, but only with the grandmother twisting their arms. Some explanations were offered for Julian’s mother’s behavior, but I found them to be weak at best. Julian may have been a child, but his parents were not. They should’ve known better. I just couldn’t get past that.

Overall, this was a fantastic story. He isn’t an easy character to like, but this book serves as a reminder that even bullies are human. Despite his despicable behavior toward Auggie, Julian was only a child in need of some direction and positive role models. In the end, he becomes a better person. If you enjoyed ‘Wonder’, I would definitely recommend this one.

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Review: Wonder (Wonder, #1), by R. J. Palacio

WonderWonder by R.J. Palacio
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I am so glad that I finally got around to listening to this story. ‘Wonder’ had been sitting on my TBR list for a really long time, but I had been waiting for a time to listen to it with my daughters. That time finally arrived last weekend, when we had to spend a full day in the car on a trip.

I had read many great reviews for this book, so I had really high hopes going into it. In fact, I was worried that I would be disappointed, as I often am with a book that is surrounded by so much hype. However, I can say that this book did not let me down in any way. In fact, it exceeded every expectation that I had. I absolutely loved this story!

‘Wonder’ tells the story of a young boy, August Pullman aka “Auggie”, who is going to begin attending school for the first time ever. Auggie has been homeschooled for years by his mother because he was born with severe facial deformities, requiring multiple operations over the course of his young life. Despite the myriad of surgeries that he has undergone, he still lives with significant facial disfigurement. Now, Auggie will be entering the fifth grade at Beecher Prep.

Told from multiple POVs, this book provides a thorough account of Auggie’s experiences. I was especially impressed with the raw honesty of his sister’s POV. Growing up with Auggie wasn’t easy, as she always came second to his needs. She struggled with resentment and guilt over having those feelings, as she truly loved her brother but craved the attention of her parents also.

Auggie’s POV was also brutally honest. He was well aware of how other people viewed him. Yet, no amount of awareness can make a child immune to the stares and cruel words. His story was heartbreaking, but inspiring.

It was also easy to relate to the POVs of others, including Jack, the boy who befriends Auggie at school. Although some of his actions were upsetting, he was only human. I had to remind myself that he was just a young boy, battling his own insecurities and trying to fit in at a very impressionable age. Even good people do bad things sometimes.

As a parent, I both admired and sympathized with Auggie’s mother. My heart went out to her. I could only imagine how difficult it would be to enroll your child into school, wanting to provide as normal a life as possible, while also wanting to shelter and protect him. I don’t know what I would’ve done in her shoes.

Not surprisingly, this was an incredibly emotional story. At times, it was downright depressing. However, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Auggie and his resilience. This story broke my heart, but it also inspired me.

Most importantly, this story will make you reflect on your views and behaviors. This story highlights the cruelty of people’s actions, bred from ignorance and fear. Never have I read a story that so effectively prompts readers to examine the impact of their actions and words. For children, this was a wonderful lesson in empathy.

This book prompted some thoughtful discussion with my daughters (5 and 10) about bullying and the “golden rule”. Although some of the story went over the head of my 5 year-old, who was primarily hung-up on the hilarity of the “farting nurse”, my 10 year-old didn’t miss a beat. I have no doubt that this story will stick with her and make her more considerate and empathetic toward other children.

‘Wonder’ is the type of book that should be required reading in schools and I’m glad to hear that it is in some schools already. Just like ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ (Anne Frank’s Diary), this book is a book that guides you to be a better, more thoughtful, person. It is beautiful and engaging. No doubt about it, this book left it’s mark on me. I highly recommend this book to everyone, young and old!

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Review: Vicious (Sinners of Saint, #1), by L. J. Shen

Vicious (Sinners of Saint, #1)Vicious by L.J. Shen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first started seeing the fantastic reviews for this book from all of my friends, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. After all, I was one of the oddballs that didn’t love ‘Blood to Dust’ like most of my friends did. I wasn’t sure if maybe this just wasn’t the author for me. Luckily for me, my curiosity won out.

While I may not have fallen in love with ‘Blood to Dust’, ‘Vicious’ was a fantastic read for me. This book had one of the biggest a**holes ever to grace the pages of a romance novel…and I couldn’t get enough! I could not believe the stuff that this guy did!

On the other hand, Emilia, was one of the kindest and strongest heroines that I’ve ever encountered. I absolutely loved her inner-strength and her self-awareness when it came to her weakness for Vicious. She didn’t deserve his cruel treatment, but she endured it incredibly well.

Emilia’s parents take a job working for Vicious’ parents when she is in high school. He is the spoiled, but neglected, rich kid. As he frequently points out, she is the “Help”.

From their very first meeting, Vicious makes it a point to make Emilia’s life a living hell. He bullies her relentlessly, even as he is somewhat protective and possessive. She is his to torment and he makes it known.

When Emilia begins dating one of his closest friends, Vicious steps it up a notch. He is outraged at the defiance of Emilia and Dean, used to being in control of everyone and everything around him. Emilia is essentially ran out of town by Vicious and doesn’t see him again until their paths cross again a decade later.

From the start, I was intrigued by the relationship between Emilia and Vicious. There was a constant push and pull between the two of them, and a playfulness underlying their adversarial actions. Vicious, in particular, left me feeling confounded.

This story is a slow-burn and the history between the main characters is well-developed. I appreciated the thoroughly thought out back-story and the slow build-up of anticipation. I loved the pace that this story moved at.

As Vicious’ past comes to light, I grew to understand his actions a little better. Don’t get me wrong, he did some inexcusable things. However, it was hard to view him as a monster after everything he’d endured.

When Vicious screws things up – and he does, of course – Emilia makes him really work for forgiveness. You know how I feel about the necessity of groveling, and grovel he does! Emilia is no pushover and she’s been at the losing end of his games one too many times.

The only thing that I could’ve lived without was the whole pen-pal connection. It felt a little too similar to ‘Punk 57’ for me, especially when combined with the high school bullying theme, and I didn’t think it added much to the story. Both of these books were released so close together, that they were probably being written during the same period of time. However, the similarities were noticeable. They probably stand out to me more than usual since I read ‘Punk 57’ fairly recently.

All things considered, this was a “win” for me. This book was so much better than I expected and I’m so glad that I picked it up. I loved the angsty, back and forth relationship between Vicious and Emilia. I’m looking forward to seeing where the rest of this series will go.

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Can’t Get Enough of These Royals

Broken Prince (The Royals, #2)Broken Prince by Erin Watt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After finishing ‘Paper Princess’, I dived right into ‘Broken Prince’. I had to know what would become of Ella and all of the Royals after that ending. Talk about a cliffhanger!

I was pulling my hair out with the way the first book ended. Luckily, I didn’t start this series until all three books were out, so I didn’t have to wait for long. I feel for my friends that had to live with that anxious anticipation for long.

Picking up where ‘Paper Princess’ left off, Ella is on the run. This time around, the entire Royal household is furious with Reed. They’d grown to love Ella as much as they had originally despised her and nobody is happy to have her gone. No one feels her absence more than Reed, who knows that he is to blame for her disappearance. As angry as everyone is with him, it could never compare to the anger he feels toward himself.

In comparison to the first book, ‘Broken Prince’ is told primarily from Reed’s POV. It was nice to get his viewpoint and fitting for the situation. After everything he did in the first book, I needed validation of his feelings.

While ‘Paper Princess’ highlighted the unity of the Royal brothers, ‘Broken Prince’ spotlights their decline. Easton is falling deeper into his dangerous addictions. The twins have kind of broken away from their other brothers. Reed has stopped caring about school or anything other than finding Ella.

Meanwhile, the school has turned into a war zone. Without the Royal brothers to keep things in check, Jordan and the other bullies have unleashed a reign of terror on anyone they consider beneath them. In her absence, the rumors about Ella have been vicious and plentiful, ensuring that she’ll have her work cut out for her upon her return.

Eventually, Callum is able to locate Ella and bring her home. Although she’s not happy about it, she has to admit that she had begun to think of the Royals as her family and their home as hers. While she is not looking forward to facing Reed after his betrayal, she realizes that her actions have affected others as well.

Ella has to make amends for the pain that she caused when she left abruptly. Aside from Easton, Val was also hurt by her lack of communication. Not to mention that she up and left her bakery job without any notice.

Just as Ella has some pologizing to do, Reed is doing his best to work his way back into Ella’s good graces. As determined as he is to win her over again, she seems equally determined not to be fooled by him again. His betrayal is not something that she’s willing to easily forgive or forget.

Like the first book, ‘Broken Prince’ ends with another huge cliffhanger. This book has several twists and turns that keep this story interesting. I never knew what would happen next, but I couldn’t wait to see.

Finishing this book, I immediately started ‘Twisted Palace’. This series has consumed me. I cannot get enough of the Royals and the dysfunction that surrounds them. They’re my latest guilty pleasure!

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Absolutely Addicting!

Paper Princess (The Royals, #1)Paper Princess by Erin Watt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I had been seeing reviews for this series pop up all over my friends’ pages. Knowing that I wanted to read this series and find out what all the fuss was about, I told myself I’d wait for the Audible version to be released. So I waited…and waited…and waited some more. When I started to see the glowing reviews for the third, and final, book in the series, and still there was no sign of an audiobook release, I knew I had to start this series. So, I downloaded the Kindle edition of ‘Paper Princess’ and never looked back.

Several days later, I’ve finished all three books and am suffering from a significant book hangover. Let me tell you, this series is addicting! From the moment I began reading ‘Paper Princess’, I was consumed with this story.

Every day is a struggle for Ella Harper. The daughter of a single mother, she has spent her childhood running from town to town as her mother jumps from one bad relationship to another. Although her upbringing was anything but stable, she always knew she had the love of her mother.

However, when Ella’s mother grows ill with cancer, Ella is forced to assume adult responsibilities as a young teenager. When her mother dies, Ella is left all alone. She does what she has to do to survive and stay out of the foster care system.

By the time Ella is seventeen, she has registered herself in high school by forging her mother’s signature. She is working three jobs and living in a rundown apartment. She’d kill to have the superficial “problems” that her classmates face.

Just when she doesn’t think her situation could get any worse, she is reduced to accepting a job dancing nude. She’d danced before, but never fully nude. Clinging to that tiny bit of modesty meant a lot to Ella, but she had to sacrifice it to survive.

Then, a man she’d never heard of before shows up and insists that he is her legal guardian. It is evident that Callum Royal is wealthy, but Ella has no intention of leaving with the man who claims to be the best friend of her recently deceased father. She never had any relationship with the sperm donor that gifted her life and then promptly left her mother in the dust, much less the stranger that claims to have custody of her.

Despite her best efforts to evade him, Callum persists until he has Ella on a jet and headed to his home. When they arrive at the mansion that is to be her new home, Ella is immediately made aware of the fact that she isn’t the only one that doesn’t want her there. In spite of Callum’s best efforts to make Ella feel welcomed, his five teenage sons make their distaste for Ella equally clear.

Reed, the second oldest son, but the oldest son still living at home, is clearly calling the shots. His younger brothers follow his lead and Ella finds herself fighting a losing battle against all of the Royal boys. They’re sure that she’s out for their father’s money, among other things, and they’re determined to make her life a living hell.

And so, Ella’s rags to riches journey begins…

She is submersed in a world of luxury and excess that she’d never imagined existed in real life. Enrolled in the same elite prep school as the Royal boys, she is constantly reminded that she doesn’t belong. Reed rules the school, just as he rules the Royal house. As she struggles to adjust to her new life and blend in, Reed is equally determined to push her out.

The bullying and cruelty that ensues was incredibly sad. I have to admit that I geared up several times as I read some of the things that poor Ella went through. Yet, despite everything she persevered.

Somewhere along the way, Reed gives up on his mission to terrorize Ella. The attraction between them keeps coming to the surface and they eventually make nice. Of course, once Reed decides to give Ella a shot, his brother’s follow suit. From that point forward, it is like somebody flipped a switch. Ella and Reed go from being enemies to being head-over-heels. It happened quick enough to leave my head spinning.

Despite my reservations, mainly that Reed never had to “pay” for his maltreatment of Ella, I still found myself completely addicted to this story. In so many ways, this story is reminiscent of another one of my favorite high school sagas, ‘Fallen Crest High’. The over-the-top lives of privilege and excess lived by these kids is unreal.

This story has definitely become a guilty pleasure of mine. Like so many of my friends, I am hooked! As expected, this first book ended with a huge cliffhanger. I started reading the second book immediately. You’ll want to do the same, so have ‘Broken Prince’ ready to go when you finish ‘Paper Princess’. Loved it!

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