Book Review – Cheeky Royal by Nana Malone

This was another Book of Faces rec. I swear they target me so well, and I can’t even be mad anymore. Most of my ads are about books and coffee. It’s like they’ve finally figured me out. So I downloaded this book, the first in a six book series, on Kindle and I guess I should have paid more attention because this book was sooo good that as soon as I was done, I went looking for the next one, only to discover that she’d put only the first book on Kindle Unlimited, the rest were only available in physical copies and audiobook. You bet your ass I ordered that second book.

When searching for the cover for this book for the review, I found out I’m a little late to the party, I mean there’s six books in the series, I’m not surprised, but hey, there used to be different covers for this series, the old cover looked like this.

I honestly can’t tell you which one I prefer. So here’s what I understand about this series. There are two books per character. This one, and the next in the series, Cheeky King, are about Prince Sebastian. It’s a really good story. Which, after reading the Amazon reviews, I was worried I wouldn’t like the writing style. Then again, most of the reviews are people mad because it’s a “story ripped in half” like yeah…. it says Book One on the front of it, on both covers. That usually indicates to me that it’s part of a series, otherwise why include it? Others were mad that it ended on a cliffhanger and felt they should have been warned. I personally hate it if I’m warned of a cliffhanger. Don’t tell me that. Cliffhangers are powerful tools. Kind of like putting the first book on KU and then making me buy the rest. I’m gonna do it, but that was smart from the author perspective.

So, with those mixed reviews on Amazon, and knowing it’s a cliffhanger, and part of a series, here’s what I think.

Penny is a Royal Guard, just like the rest of her family, but it’s not where he passion lies. Her passion is in art. As a Royal Guard, she’s too clumsy, and she doesn’t have a very good opinion of herself. Prince Sebastian, the heir, has been “missing” for six months. No one is quite sure where he really is because he’s employed body doubles, who look enough like him to fool people, to travel the globe and keep up the drinking and womanizing that his reputation expects, only he isn’t going to do those things. He’s looking for his long lost brother. A brother he didn’t even know he had.

King Cassius assigns Penelope a special job, to go undercover, pose as Sebastian’s neighbor and convince him to come home before his birthday in six weeks. Penelope initially turns down the job, thinking she’s not the best one for it. After talking to her best friend, Ariel, and an argument with her boyfriend, she decides to take the assignment after all, if for no other reason than a change in scenery. The plan is simple, her and Ariel form a two man team to watch the Prince, keep him safe, and Penelope has to convince him to come home, all without him realizing who she is. She goes by the name Len, something her parents used to call her when she was young, and moves in next door.

It’s a romance, so hijinks ensue and there’s a lot of ups and downs. They’re both trying to resist the romance of it all for their own reasons. Sebastian is trying to track down his brother and convince him to come back to the Winston Isles. Penelope is a Royal Guard, even though she breaks up with her boyfriend (for a scandalous reason i might add!), she can’t let herself get close to the Prince for obvious reasons. It was good. Really good. I highly recommend, but do yourself a favor, order the second book before you start the first otherwise you’ll be stuck in limbo while you wait for it!

Book Club for Complicated House Plants

Did you think think the first sentence of the book was effective?
Oh yeah. It sets us up perfectly. In one sentence, we understand a little bit about the relationship she has with her parents, and how other people see her. It sets us up to understand her low self-confidence.

How do you feel about the books pacing?
The pacing was good. I felt like it went at the speed it was supposed to go at.

Did you feel the narrator of this book was reliable?
I really liked the dual POV. I think that Sebastian and Penelope were able to give us the reality as they saw it, and that was helpful so that the reader understood what was going on.

Was there a moment when you disagreed with the protagonist’s decisions?
Yes. It’s toward the end of the book, and they both decide they have to tell each other the truth. But they keep letting themselves put it off. They should have had the difficult conversation, even if they didn’t want to.

Did you guess the ending of the book?
I did not see that coming. If you guessed it, you’re a wizard, because I didn’t see it coming at all.

Did you race to the end or was it more of a slow burn?
I’m not gonna lie. I raced there. It was so good I didn’t want to put it down. I kept wanting to know what happened next.

Which character did you like best?
If I’m being completely honest, as much as I loved the two main characters, Sebastian more than Penelope but only a little bit, my favorite character was Ariel. She’s such a great friend. She’s always got Penelope’s back. She’s amazing in her own right as well and that makes me super happy.

Are there any characters you’d like to deliver a lecture to?
Yes. Penelope’s brother Michael and his best friend Robert. They need a very stern talking too, starting with HOW DARE YOU! on so many counts.

Did you like the “heat” level of the book?
Please excuse me while I pull out a fan because damn. It was good. I liked it, and it didn’t feel forced or put in for shock value or anything else. It was good for the story. Especially given what the characters were feeling.

Was the couple’s connection believable?
Yes. On a number of levels. It’s cute that they both remember one another from childhood, even if it’s vaguely. Then to have the relationship they do later on in the book. I love that they start as friends, they encourage each other in their passions, it’s simple. Easy. Without the other titles hanging over their heads. I hope that they remember that after their secrets are revealed.

Well, that’s all I’ve got this time around folks. Trust me, after I get the second book, I’ll let you know how that one was too. I can’t wait. I’m sure this is a series that I will read every book for. I hope you enjoyed this review. Tune in next week for another. Have a fantastic day my dears!