Considering how long ago I read Eclipse the Moon, you might think I would have already posted my review to the blog, but, well… That didn’t happen. So here we are to finally talk about American Royalty by Tracey Livesay, After Hours Temptation by Kianna Alexander, and Eclipse the Moon by Jessie Mihalik. You should be able to purchase your own copy of all three at this point, so let’s talk about them in case you’re not sure yet if you want to! Oh, and I was lucky enough to receive ARCs from Netgalley for all three, although I purchased a finished copy of the audio of American Royalty from Audible myself.
American Royalty by Tracey Livesay
I was in the fourth grade before I settled on a career goal that wasn’t princess, which is probably why as a general rule, I tend to enjoy books with royalty and commoners even though my logical brain doesn’t really love the idea of a monarchy. Unfortunately, even with the basis that I should have enjoyed American Royalty and with the absolutely enthralling first 40%, the book just failed to live up to its promise for me. And I should have known that I wasn’t going to wind up buying the romance from the beginning because even before Jamison and Dani meet, I already hated the way he watched her music videos and formed this idea of her in his head and objectified the hell out of her. And at the end of the day, Dani is such an incredible character that I genuinely wanted like a whole book just about her taking over the world and wanted Jamison to like… disappear. I didn’t care to where. But Jamison’s life is obviously complicated because, well, he’s a Royal. Only, I don’t care about Jamison’s complicated life because he never seemed to want to be a royal so all of the obligations and trappings were much less interesting to me than Dani because she has actual goals and wants and desires and I wanted to watch her take over the world.
I could keep talking about this book, but honestly, that’s really the long and short of my thoughts on it. I really wanted to enjoy it, but I didn’t. I did, however, love Dani. She’s great. (Oh and Wesleigh, the narrator for Dani’s chapters is great, but whoever that guy was? This was not the book for him to narrate because I hated the way he voiced Dani.)
After Hours Temptation by Kianna Alexander
Y’all, I totally understand not wanting to talk about your feelings, but honestly, what the heck was that third act conflict? It made zero sense.
After Hours Temptation by Kianna Alexander is about Teegan, a sound engineer, who falls for the bass player who auditioned (and got the role) of Lil Swagg’s bass player to record an album. The two have a pretty immediate connection, go on an amazing date, and then agree to keep things casual. Great, cool. Except, there’s also SO much other stuff going on that the romance feels sidelined (in a CATEGORY, why?) and so when the third act break up happens, I wasn’t even prepared. Like, y’all can’t fight like that (and then reunite like you’re in love) when I haven’t even caught up to the fact that you’re together. You know?
The other stuff going on, for the record, doesn’t wrap itself up, even the part that shouldn’t be carrying forward throughout the series. So thing number one you should know is that Maxton (he’s the bass player by the way) is grieving his sister, who should be turning 27 during the course of the book. And the other thing you should know is technically a spoiler (but is basically some serious family drama with Teegan’s family). While the grief Maxton was dealing with was showcased well and I loved that we got to see him go to a support group just for Black men dealing with loss, it was one more thing in a book where things kept happening without ever giving the romance center stage. I hope that makes sense.
Eclipse the Moon by Jessie Mihalik
Another solid sci-fi romance from Mihalik. Eclipse the Moon is book two in her Starlight’s Shadow series and I’m really so glad that Mihalik has continued in this vein. I love having a series plot with romance standalones, if that makes any sense. I am so impressed by her world-building and the way she’s created pretty high stakes for the overall plot, but has carefully advanced us toward there with a complete plot arc and the set up for the next step to come in book three, which is, I think, the romance I’m most excited about. Eclipse the Moon is Varro and Kee’s romance, which has a unique romance pace that really worked for me. The way this book starts is with Kee essentially saying, “I need space,” so she goes planet side to run this mission and she’s adamant she wants to do it solo. Of course, Varro can’t let that stand. So, I was worried Kee and Varro were going to come together too quickly in this one, but Mihalik managed to hold onto the tension for quite some time. And additionally, the plot REALLY kicked in at some point and I was just holding on for dear life through the ride. I definitely recommend it, just make sure you’ve read book one first!
I hope y’all got something from these reviews! Have you read any of them? If so, I definitely want to hear your thoughts!