American Royalty by Tracey Livesay

Thank you @harpercollinsinternational for sending me an ARC of American Royalty!

Sexy, driven rapper Danielle “Duchess” Nelson is on the verge of signing a deal that’ll make her one of the richest women in hip hop. More importantly, it’ll grant her control over her life, something she’s craved for years. But an incident with a rising pop star has gone viral, unfairly putting her deal in jeopardy. Concerned about her image, she’s instructed to work on generating some positive publicity… or else.

A brilliant professor and reclusive royal, Prince Jameson prefers life out of the spotlight, only leaving his ivory tower to attend weddings or funerals. But with the Queen’s children involved in one scandal after another, and Parliament questioning the viability of the monarchy, the Queen is desperate. In a quest for good press, she puts Jameson in charge of a tribute concert in her late husband’s honor. Out of his depth, and resentful of being called to service, he takes the advice of a student. After all, what’s more appropriate for a royal concert than a performer named “Duchess”?

Too late, Jameson discovers the American rapper is popular, sexy, raunchy and not what the Queen wanted, although he’s having an entirely different reaction. Dani knows this is the good exposure she needs to cement her deal and it doesn’t hurt that the royal running things is fine as hell. Thrown together, they give in to the explosive attraction flaring between them. But as the glare of the limelight intensifies and outside forces try to interfere, will the Prince and Duchess be a fairy tale romance for the ages or a disaster of palatial proportions?

Rating: 2 out of 5.

This review took me a while to write. I just wasn’t sure how to put into words how I felt about this book. Let me start by saying that before starting this book, I was a bit unsure of WHAT AGE RANGE this belonged to. The cover gave me adult romance vibes, but it could have just as well have been mature YA or NA. I also saw the book was promoted in the UK by a YA publisher. So, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But as someone who reads YA, NA & Adult books… I wasn’t too bothered by not knowing where this fit. Let me just clarify that this is in fact an ADULT book. If you’re looking for a fade-to-black type book, this is NOT for you!! It featured multiple detailed sex scenes.

Anyway, I really wanted to love this book. And at first, I really thought I would too!! I was enjoying the beginning, and then it all kind of went downhill the moment our main characters met. I guess this book just wasn’t for me. The romance failed this book, which is extremely unfortunate since this is a ROMANCE book.

So, let’s get into WHY this book was such a let down for me. I am a big fan of anything to do with royals & royalty in fiction. I will always devour books relating to the monarchy, whether in modern settings, fantastical or historical ones. So obviously I was very intrigued by this book.

Up to about page 100, I was fairly enjoying myself. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but I was enjoying learning about Dani & Jameson’s individual lives and struggles. It was interesting to see Dani’s scandal and her trying to deal with it. As well as intriguing to read about Jameson’s ordinary-ish life and him being suddenly thrust into his royal responsibilities. Anyway, THEN THEY MET. (Yes, it really did take almost 100 pages for our main characters to meet) In the meeting I was thrown off. It was insta-lust, which I was not expecting. But moreover, it felt forced. I didn’t feel like there was any chemistry between the two.

The animosity between them at the beginning felt completely forced for the sake of making it more angsty. And it shows cause within 50 pages of meeting they’re already making out? And within 80 pages already having sex? What’s more absurd is that when they’re kissing for the first time, Jameson says to Dani something along the lines of- aren’t you tired of fighting this attraction between us?? And I’m like WHAT? At that point they have been staying at the same house for 2-3 days!! Like, I understand that intense attraction is hard to fight off in close quarters and all… but y’all don’t know each other long enough to talk this way. Aren’t you TIRED of fighting this?? DUDE WHAT🙃

And let’s talk about the sex scenes themselves shall we?

There were three FULL sex scenes as well as a BJ scene and a makeout scene that advanced to third base. I was honestly surprised by the amount of spicy scenes that were included in this book, and the amount of sexual undertones in the novel overall. And I read way spicier books, ok? I was just kind of surprised cause this wasn’t what I expected I suppose.

But I digress, I wouldn’t have minded the amount of sex scenes… had they been written well? They felt very awkward. Beyond the fact that I personally think that the physical aspect of their relationship advanced way too quickly- the scenes themselves were also completely weird??

The first scene (fingering for lack of a better word) was somewhat ok… except that comment from Jameson that is. But the second sex scene… that one made me uncomfortable. There were certain details that were overly detailed to the point that it just felt… icky for a lack of a better word. There were things done that I was so weirded out by. Like, he licked her belly button… WHY.

She was in the bath when they started getting hot & heavy. And when she got out so they can have sex, she HAD to moisturize. Now, I get that skin care is very important to Dani (especially as a woman with a skin care products company), but it was just so AWKWARD. He then of course proceeded to apply the moisturizer to her body… and THEN they had sex. SO AWKWARD. Plus, wouldn’t that make the sex sticky??? I was not having fun reading all of that… I would have honestly preferred no spicy sex scenes than THESE scenes. I generally find it odd that it took more pages for the characters to meet, than for them to have sex once they had met…

Dani and Jameson just had no chemistry in my opinion. Their dialogue felt very very forced. They were talking about things at points in their relationship where it didn’t feel believable that they were discussing these topics. There was also nothing interesting happening in the dialogue that kept me hooked to their relationship. The progression of their relationship overall was all over the place. They had sex too soon after meeting, the sexual attraction was instantaneous and it felt like it was also the focal point of their entire relationship. The emotional aspect of their relationship was completely overlooked and neglected and it made it so I was incredibly not invested in their romance! By the time they actually confessed their feelings, I was confused as to WHEN they even developed these feelings.

Also, can we just talk about the fact that they dropped pet name during sex that were soooo out of place?? What with calling each other baby?? Where is this coming from??????? It felt so out of character!

Anyway, this was just not for me…

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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