Title: Paper Princess
(The Royals #1)
Author: Erin Watt (Elle Kennedy & Jen Frederick)
Publication Date: April 4th, 2016
Category/Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.
These Royals will ruin you…
Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.
Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.
Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.
He might be right.
Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.
Buy Links: Amazon
- Befriend: Ella
- Go out on a date & kiss: Easton.
- Take to a desert island and leave behind: Brooke
- Travel to Vegas and let Elvis Presley marry us: Easton and Reed because I can’t choose between them yet.
If I turned on the TV, I’d find Ella, the Royal Boys and their friends on:
- Gossip Girl
5 “Addictive & Hot & Perfect & I’m so in love” STARS
I have to say that after I read “A Court of Mist and Fury”, I thought I wouldn’t read another 5-star book this year. And that was true for a while – until this week’s “Top Five Wednesday” happened.
The theme for the week was “Books you want to read before the end of 2016” and “Paper Princess” was one of my top picks for that list. That was when I thought, “You know what? I’m having an okay-ish reading week and I need something really good”. This book was supposed to be really good, and then I bought it and guess what? It’s more than just good.
It’s perfect. It’s everything I wanted and more.
The main reason for that: Ella-freaking-Harper, my new book crush and best friend and the strong, funny and witty person I wish I was.
I’m so in love with Ella that it’s not even funny.
Here you have a seventeen-year-old who’s been working as a stripper, a waitress and anything she can find since she was fifteen to have enough to buy food, pay for a roof over her head and pay for her mother’s cancer treatment. Before that, she had to deal with her mom’s crappy boyfriends and the fact that they had to move around every time her mom got in trouble or lost her job.
This is a girl who lost her mom to cancer recently and is once again moving from town to town with one focus: graduate high school, go to college and find a good job. She’s not messing around, she’s not getting distracted by boys or gossip or anything else – she’s sacrificing her youth and her innocence because she wants a better future. Do I love her yet? Yep! Yep! Freaking yep!
Then, she learns her father (a man she never met) was a super-rich dude with a super-rich best friend who builds freaking airplanes. We’re talking multimillionaire here, and this father died leaving his best friend, Mr. Royal in charge of the daughter he never met.
So one day Ella is stripping for food, and the next she’s getting rushed into a private jet to fly to a mansion (or a palace, from the description) to live with Mr. Royal and his five hot, rich and jerk sons. Why did Ella go? Because she’s smart.
Mr. Royal (whom I love despite his many flaws, by the way) offers Ella 10 thousand dollars at the end of each month if she doesn’t run away. Being one of the smartest MC’s I’ve ever read, Ella sees this as the golden opportunity it is: she’ll have cash and the chance to have the academic life she’d always dreamed of.
Of course things aren’t perfect – Ella doesn’t believe in perfect, which also makes me love her. The Royal boys hate her and want her gone. Reed Royal, the leader of the brothers, hates her even more. Everyone is the preppy school (think Gossip Girl, but a little worse) she goes to hates her because they do whatever the Royal boys want them to. But Ella doesn’t give a crap about it (can you feel my love growing?).
When they threaten her, she threatens back. When they strike, she strikes twice as hard. When they tease her, she has an epic comeback. Do you want examples?
When Reed Royal, being the jackass he is, calls her mother a prostitute:
“Screw you, Royal. She was not a prostitute, unless dancing is your version of sex and if so, your sex life must suck”. I meet Reed’s hard eyes with defiant ones. “Do you worst. You’re an amateur compared to what I’ve been through.”
Then when the school’s queen Bee tries to shame her asking how does it feel  to get where she was:
I blink, pasting on an indifferent expression. “Your dad’s not bad, if that’s what you’re asking, but I find it super creepy that he wants to pull my hair and have me call him Daddy. Is everything okay at home?”
When queen Bee doesn’t give up and fills her locker with trash:
I pause in front of Jordan, one eyebrow arched, my own smirk forming on my lips. “Is that all you’ve got, Carrington? I’m trash? Tsk-tsk. I’m disappointed in your lack of creativity.”
And these are just three of the examples of how awesome and badass and perfect Ella Harper is. I won’t give more because you need to read it and fall in love with her yourself.
What really got me was that Ella didn’t let them see how broken she was inside and how much all of that crap hurt her – because it did hurt her. And the fact that she was hurt made her human and likable, and that she fought back made her special and badass. Perfection.
Her humanity and her vulnerability were even more pronounced when she was dealing with the Royals.
I love everything about her relationship with Mr. Royal – from the way she tried to antagonize him at first because she didn’t know she could trust him, to how they developed some sort of friendship to how she began to see him as a father figure.
She had a similar storyline with Easton – one of the Royal boys. Easton was a big jerk at first, but he was the first of the brothers to warm up to Ella and OMG, I loved Easton so much. I think I loved him more than I did Reed because I saw a vulnerability in him that I didn’t see in the leader of the group.
Easton went from Ella’s enemy to her fling (that dancing + kissing + making out scene was HOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTTTTT) to her first ally in the house to her big brother. It was messed up, disturbing at times, complicated and adorable. When he started calling her little sis I swooned. Hard. They were so freaking adorable!
But Ella’s worst tormentor in the beginning wasn’t Easton; it was Reed – the alpha boy, the leader, the one every other brother and all their friends looked at for directions. He was the biggest jerk ever and the hottest guy Ella had ever seen, and her body reacted to him in a way her mind despised. Ella tried to ignore her attraction to him, which was kind of easy since he pretty much did anything he could to make her leave, but attraction is attraction, and in a book co-written by freaking Elle Kennedy, attraction is something that drifts off the pages, holds you by the neck and makes breathing impossible.
This book was freaking hot. Ella and Reed were freaking hot, hot, so damn hot I might have burns all over my body just from reading this.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not sure Reed will be able to redeem himself after the stunt he pulled in the end (YES, CLIFFHANGER ENDING, BABY!), but I can’t deny he’s sexy AF.
For now, let’s just say my favorite Royal boy is Easton and the judge is still out on whether I’ll be able to forgive Reed or not. But since I can’t see Ella in a romantic relationship with Easton anymore, and Reed is a super alpha-male from the Jericho Barrons-kind of school, then my weak heart might find give in in the end.
Plus, Ella and Reed have a variation of a Blair and Chuck relationship, and I was a fan.
Last thing… If you think this book is all about the Royal boys, you’re wrong. Sure they’re everyone – we’re talking about five of them + Mr. Royal – but there are great girls in this book as well. Jordan, as you already know, is a bitch, but Ella found in Valerie – Jordan’s cousin – and Savannah girls she could trust. I LOVED Valerie because she was the opposite of everything I thought she’d be, and Savannah grew on me toward the end.
I can’t wait to see more about these girl’s friendship – although I’m not sure how that’s going to go after that ending.
That freaking ending that almost ripped my heart out.
Okay, so now that I wrote a four-freaking-page review, I’m done. But I’m not done with the series because I’m most definitely spending more money on these books. I need the second book RIGHT NOW! You’ll hear back from me on the awesomeness that is Ella Parker and the Royal boys sooner rather than later.
Guest review contributed by U.S. – Brazil Book Review. As a book review diplomat of sorts, this blogger reviews books in English and Portuguese. If there’s romance in the book, she’s probably loving it.