Tag Archives: Julianna Keyes

Review: Bad Princess by Julianna Keyes

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Julianna Keyes just doesn’t let me down. When she shared on Facebook that she had written a short story involving royalty well, color me one happy reader. I could not wait to read it. And guess what, it’s pretty darn sexy.

When Princess Elle Vida abdicates the throne so she can marry a man wholly unsuited for a princess, it is up to her younger sister, Brinley Cantrella of Estau, to step in and take over as the royal in waiting. No one is thrilled about this, least of all Brinley’s parents, the current royals. Brinley has always been labelled the “bad princess” because all her life, she seemed to do things that were just out of line with what a royal should be doing. Basically she is NOT the Duchess of Cambridge type (I had to get a little Kate Middleton thrown in here somehow). But what Brinley supposedly lacks as a princess she makes up for being a normal person who enjoys life, is working hard at college and… just so happens to kind of be in love with the man her sister was supposed to marry.

Thus begins the super quick courtship and marriage of Brinley to Prince Finn. It’s NOT how she wanted to make her connection with him. Little does Brinley realize just how much Finn has admired her throughout the years.

Julianna Keyes makes this shorter story work great, especially given how the constraints of a novella/short story format mimic quite well the shortness of Brinley and Finn’s courtship. It’s pretty much nonexistent for reasons you will understand as you read the book.

I really liked Brinley. She leapt off the pages (so to speak) for me. She is caring, kind, a bit unconventional perhaps, but where it counts, as a person who has empathy and compassion, she is as Princess-y as it is possible to be. I really liked that though she initially didn’t believe in herself, she finds that there are a few people rooting for her. This allows her to find her own strength and realize that maybe she hadn’t been properly trained but darn it, she still makes a great princess, a great potential ruler for Estau.

Finn is a quiet guy but he believes hardcore in Brinley. This is a man who has watched covertly from the shadows as a Brinley grew from a bright child to a smart and funny adult woman. He is impressed with how she handles her parents, how she deals with all the bad press about herself, and that he can find a bagel in her room any time of day.

Julianna Keyes succeeds greatly in making this story a great romance where the two leads grow together but also in showing Brinley taking off on her own, finally realizing that being a “bad princess” is not the end of the world and there is a lot of good she can and will do for her kingdom. I love a woman who realizes her own awesomeness!

Bad Princess is available today! If you like royal romances, add this one to your TBR pile immediately.

BP

Bad Princess
by Julianna Keyes
Publication date: November 27th 2017
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
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Notorious for leaping off roofs, maiming foreign royals, and that twerking incident, Brinley Cantrella of Estau is nobody’s definition of a good princess. She’s fearless and bold, not good and gracious. And after a lifetime of being told she’s unfit to be queen, wearing the crown and helping to usher Estau into a new era is the one dream she’s never dared chase.

But when her older sister abdicates the throne, all Brinley has to do to inherit the role is not twerk, not maim anybody, and definitely not get caught fooling around topless with Prince Finn, her childhood crush, the only man she’s ever loved…and her sister’s former future husband.

Finn embodies the definition of good. Tall and handsome, serious and honorable, he always does the right thing—including agreeing to marry his ex’s sister to cover up this latest scandal. Brinley has fallen down stairs, broken teeth and broken bones, but this is the first time her heart has ever been broken. She now has the crown and the prince, and on the surface, life is good—but is being married to a man everyone swears could never love her back good enough?

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Julianna

Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She’s been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills—or terrifies—her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, though not necessarily in that order, and writes sizzling stories with strong characters, plenty of conflict, and lots of making up.

Excerpts, giveaways, behind the scenes tomfoolery – sign up for her very sporadic newsletter: http://juliannakeyes.com/newsletter.html.

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Review: My Roommate’s Girl by Julianna Keyes

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myroommatesI am starting to realize a lot of my favorite writers right now are Canadian. Julianna Keyes makes the list hands down! When she surprised all her readers with My Roommate’s Girl, I was thrilled. A new book from an author I love? YES! A total surprise?? Even cooler.

Aidan has just moved in with Jerry, his new roommate. Jerry is pretty much an all around nice guy, unlike Aidan who has a past with quite the rap sheet. He is in his third year of college now and things are finally coming together for him. Until he meets Aster, Jerry’s girlfriend. And then, well, he falls hard and wants her NOW. Which is hard because obviously she is Jerry’s girlfriend. But Aidan may be slightly reformed but he’s not a nice guy (at least in his mind). He is determined to break them up and have Aster for himself.

And he does. But it doesn’t quite go as he expected, or how I as the reader expected either which is good because I wanted to be able to like and root for Aidan. Which you know, I can’t do if he is a down and out jerk. But he is not! He is just a little bit diabolical.

When Aster and Jerry break up, she is blindsided by his infidelity. But somehow she keeps running into Aidan and soon, a tentative friendship (with the possibility of more) is growing between them. Aster has secrets in her own past, things I didn’t quite expect honestly. But it made her an interesting and thoughtful character.

Aidan has some tough choices to make in this book, beyond just trying to be with Aster. Shades of his past come back to haunt him and he has to decide how he will proceed. Will he lose Aster over wrong choices? I don’t want to give anything away but I feel like the Chris Pine like cover does not do Aidan justice. Sure, he is hot but there’s a lot riding on his college experience, more than perhaps most young adults have to deal with.

Aster and Aidan do not have a perfect romance at all. It’s pretty imperfect all around but that is what makes it interesting, at least to me. AND another great joy in this book is the introduction of Frisbee Baseball. Is this a thing in real life? I don’t know but I had a lot of fun reading about it in the book.

Julianna Keyes writes books with a great combination of thoughtful character development and real world fallout. Nothing goes exactly as planned for Aidan in this book but I think he becomes a more interesting guy for it when all is said and done. He’s not the bad guy but he definitely has a little bit of the anti-hero to him which kept me reading. I’d say this is definitely his story, more so than Aster’s, who, while likeable, remained a bit more distant to me as a character.

My Roommate’s Girl is available now and it is well worth your reading money. Julianna Keyes strikes awesomeness again!

ARC provided by author for review.

Other reviews:

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Release Blitz: My Roommate’s Girl by Julianna Keyes

My Roommate’s Girl
Julianna Keyes
Publication date: June 12th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

The day a judge gave me the choice between going to prison or going to college was the day I vowed to stop stealing. Never again would I see something beautiful and beyond my means and take it, just because I wanted it. Just because I could.

When I moved in with Jerry, it was with good intentions. I needed a place to live while I got my degree, and he needed a roommate.

Then I saw Aster.

Blond and beautiful, good, pure, sweet, smart…and Jerry’s girlfriend. She was everything I never thought I could have. Except…maybe I can.

So I put a plan into action. Yeah, I’d probably go to hell, but it would be worth it. I wanted Aster. I wanted her yesterday and tomorrow and every possible way.

But you know what they say.

Be careful what you wish for…because you just might get it.

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EXCERPT:

I check the time on the display. “Okay, driving lesson’s over. I need to buy sixty rolls of toilet paper, then we have to meet Jim in half an hour.”

Aster consults her watch, in case I’m lying about the time. “Dammit,” she mutters, reaching for the gear stick. “Okay, let’s go shopping.”

I reach over to pull out the keys. “You’re not driving near real people.”

“What? Why not?”

“Because even though you’re so great at this, it’s only been one lesson.”

She thrusts out her lower lip and bats her lashes at me, but I’m not buying it.

“Get out,” I order. “Time to trade places.”

She harrumphs but does so, and when she tries to pass me in front of the car, I loop an arm around her waist pull her close.

“Don’t forget to thank me for the lesson.”

She’s trying to look angry, but her mouth twitches. “I’ll thank Wes when I see him.”

“No! Don’t mention this to him. He doesn’t know I let my girlfriend drive his car.”

Aster freezes and an endlessly long silence grows…and grows.

“Also,” I say awkwardly, face flaming, “I…kind of…think of you as my girlfriend.”

I see her gnawing on the inside of her cheek.

“But do you think of me as a good driver?”

Something inside of me softens and warms as I look at her. As I fall just a little bit more. “Am I going to get laid later?”

“Oh, yeah. Absolutely.” Her eyes sparkle. “Since you’re my boyfriend now.”

I’ve never been anybody’s boyfriend; never wanted to. And never, in my plan to make Aster mine, did I ever imagine I would be.

As a kid I’d wished on every star in the sky that my dad would stop gambling and we’d get our house back and our dog back and our things back. By the time I was twelve I knew wishes didn’t come true. I thought good things only happened to other people, people in the movies, make believe stories with a preordained happy ending. I didn’t think happiness was real, and I definitely didn’t think it was tangible, something you could hold, touch, feel. But now, as I slide my fingers through Aster’s hair and press my lips to hers, I see that I was the best kind of wrong.

 

Author Bio:

Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She’s been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills—or terrifies—her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, though not necessarily in that order, and writes sizzling stories with strong characters, plenty of conflict, and lots of making up.

Excerpts, giveaways, behind the scenes tomfoolery – sign up for her very sporadic newsletter: http://juliannakeyes.com/newsletter.html.

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Review: The Good Fight by Julianna Keyes

goodfightThe Good Fight is the third book in Julianna Keyes’ Time Served series. It is a standalone book however even you though first meet Susan in the second book in the series. It also features an incredibly sexy book cover, am I right? Susan Jones and Oscar Hall have chemistry coming out of every pore and it all starts because of a watermelon injury. (You’ll want to read the book for the very first scenes!)

Susan and Oscar have a contentious relationship. Susan wants sex, plain and simple. She is very honest about it. Oscar however is looking for more, even if he is not willing to give up Susan, even if her busy schedule as a doctor means their time together is often limited. Oscar is an accountant who has done the big NYC investment thing already. He is back in his hometown of Camden with his own accounting agency. He is at a place in his life where he wants to make a difference doing something, though he is not sure what.

Oscar is everything one would expect in a great romance hero. He is sexy as all get-out, he has a complicated backstory that makes him vulnerable and well, he knows how to please a woman in bed. I liked his character a lot and enjoyed reading the story through his perspective. That being said, I really loved Susan. She reminded me a bit of myself actually. I’m no doctor but I know I can come off as closed and cold in certain situations. My natural shyness and introvertness work against me. This is NOT Susan’s issue though. She has no trouble being blunt. And she has no major qualms about using Oscar’s natural niceness against him to a degree. Because yes, Susan does something majorly shitty in this book. But given how many books I’ve read where the guy does something shitty to the woman, well, I cannot fault what happens. I just really liked Susan, foibles and all. Julianna Keyes always does a fantastic job of writing women that appeal to me as a reader and The Good Fight definitely exceeded my expectations.

(Also, can I say that I really appreciated that Susan was far from being a perfect mom. She was very imperfect at it in fact. I just really appreciated how her relationship with her twelve-year-old daughter, Dorrie, changed a lot in this book. It wasn’t always easy but I thought by the end of the book, Dorrie and Susan were in a much better place with each other.)

If you are in the mood for a slightly unconventional romance, The Good Fight may be the book for you. Oscar and Susan are very real, very determined people. I thought they ended up being a good pairing. I became fully invested in their relationship and was glad that both characters went the extra effort for each other when it was needed. Julianna Keyes remains one of my new favorite authors. I already cannot wait to see what kinds of interesting and complex characters and stories she comes up with next.

The Good Fight is available now!

ARC provided by publisher for review.

Other reviews:

Smexy Books

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Straight Shootin’ Book Reviews

Cover Reveal: Undecided by Julianna Keyes



I am really excited to be participating in the cover reveal for Julianna Keyes’ New Adult book, Undecided, which I reviewed this year. I must admit, I LIKED the previous cover. BUT I can understand why the author felt the need to rebrand it since it seemed to not be getting the best feedback from potential readers. Rest assured though, this book is fabulous! One of my favorite New Adult books this year. I quite like the new cover. It’s playful and fun, a cover more reflective of Nora and Crosbie’s relationship. I hope you’ll give this book a try, especially because it’s currently priced at a mere $2.99!!!

Undecided
Julianna Keyes
Publication date: April 4th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance

Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.

Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.

But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…

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Author Bio:

Julianna Keyes is a Canadian writer who has lived on both coasts and several places in between. She’s been skydiving, bungee jumping and white water rafting, but nothing thrills – or terrifies – her as much as the blank page. She loves Chinese food, foreign languages, baseball and television, not necessarily in that order, and will go to her grave swearing that “ain’t” is not a word. She has volunteered in Zambia, taught English in China, and dreams of seeing pink dolphins in the Amazon. It’ll happen.

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Review: Undecided by Julianna Keyes

undecidedWhen Undecided was reviewed at Dear Author, it was an immediate one-click for me. Kaetrin’s review was fantastic (I highly recommend reading it!). I’m so glad I decided to purchase the book myself.

This is a new adult book that screams college reality to me. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love MANY of the new adult books I’ve read in the past year or so but Undecided just felt incredibly true to life for me. Nora’s struggles with money, with her academic success, with friends, and yes, with men, stands out as a hallmark of what makes a college experience for many young women. Oh yeah, and there is also talk of STI’s which is a hard subject to cover, but Julianna Keyes covers it so well. Nora is now a sophomore and during her first year of college, she went a bit wild. She wanted to shed her high school image of being boring and she definitely did that. But now she has regrets and is determined to get her future back on track, even if it means becoming “boring” again.

It’s summer now and Nora has to move out of the dorms. She needs a place to live immediately and answers an ad online. Unfortunately, when she goes to meet “Matthew”, she instead meets Kellan, one of the most popular guys on campus, who has a new lady in bed with him all the time. He’s also slept with Nora but does not remember it at all, which hurts Nora. It appears she is not as memorable as she had hoped to be her freshmen year. She also meets Kellan’s best friend, Crosbie. He is also a “man-whore” according to rumors around campus. She is attracted to him but has no plans to act on it.

Except, Crosbie is around ALL THE TIME as Kellan’s best friend. And the attraction is definitely mutual. But there’s that pesky secret that Kellan and Nora slept together. And even though it means nothing to Nora, she knows it would hurt Crosbie immensely.

This book totally pulled at my heartstrings. I loved Nora as a character. She reminded me of myself at times so I had empathy with how she struggled with correcting her past mistakes. Though Nora definitely burdened herself with her past, I thought it proved to be a good learning experience overall. No one gets through college without making some mistakes, Nora just happened to do a few huge ones in one year. Jeopardizing her scholarship was a big turning point for her, as it would be for any college student who has to find money to finance school.

Crosbie, like Nora, is definitely not who he first appears to be. He may be a track star, he may be the Robin to Kellan’s Batman, but he is looking for someone who sees him for who he is, all the pieces. He’s a magician, he’s a talented runner, he needs to study to make decent grades. He’s just a normal guy really but there is something special about him that Nora sees and responds to.

Nora’s friendship with her ex-best friend also plays an important role in the story. Nora places blame on Marcela even as Nora wants to not take on blame herself. It’s a situation she has to come to terms with. I respected how Nora had to tackle that issue head-on. It’s never easy mending a friendship, no matter how old we are.

Undecided has become my go-to book to recommend to people who want to try new adult. It’s a great mesh of sexy, burgeoning relationship, and real world messes and problems. It hits all the right notes for me as a reader (though I do hate the name Crosbie spelled with an “ie” at the end and not a y). Julianna Keyes has shown how far this category has come since its inception a few years ago. I am hopeful more authors will follow her lead and create characters and stories that resonate on a real-life level. I appreciate a good romance that takes me away from the real world, but even more, I love a romance that can do this AND more using the messy world around us.

I could not recommend Undecided highly enough. Go out and buy it and then, like me, I am sure you’re going to want to devour Julianna Keyes’ backlist.

Other reviews:

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