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Book Review

Book Review: A Princess in Theory

A Princess in Theory
Reluctant Royals, Book 1

By Alyssa Cole
Released: February 2018


Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

I just found a new favorite series!! Talk about a fun, smart, and oh-so-sexy contemporary romance!

For those of you who remember my former cynical self who got hives in the contemporary and romance sections of every bookstore and library: Ya girl is now swooning on cloud nine! It’s all because of my contemporary romance reading experiment in August. I highly recommend committing a month to a genre that’s outside of your comfort zone. It’s ruined me and I’m in love love love. It’s okay, I can’t stand me either!

Now about this book! Oh. My. Gods. Is it hot in here?

*fans self and starts a cold shower*

I didn’t know anything about the Reluctant Royals series and the cover was a little smoochy for me, but I saw a couple reviews from you lovelies and I had to pick it up asap! I’m SO HAPPY that I did! It was entertaining and full of amazing reps to boot. The characters had depth and the story was so enjoyable and unwittingly charming.

This book has an all black cast! Anyone who thinks representation in books is not important needs a kick in the ass and a hardcover book thrown in their face. It’s something that I didn’t know was missing in my life before this year (and shame on me), but I can’t even imagine what this means to a POC. I’m going to keep supporting diverse books and authors because they’re some of my favorites!

Naledi (Ledi) is an epidemiologist in grad school working multiple jobs in NYC. She had to work for everything in her life after her parents passed away when she was little and she was turned over to the state. This was my first book where the MC is an orphan who grew up bouncing around the foster system. Alyssa Cole didn’t just “tell” us that Ledi is a WOC in STEM… she showed us that Ledi lives, eats, breaths, and [never] sleeps science! Eeeee! It was amazing to geek out over a contemporary romance. You can be smart & sexy, strong-willed & soft, and independent & in love… and Ledi is brilliant and damn fine!

Thabiso, Prince of Thesolo, was totally adorable and a wonderful kind-hearted man. I’m more than a little tired of toxic masculinity and deceptively charming main beaus who are actually assholes in disguise, so he was definitely a breath of fresh air! At first, Thabiso is arrogant and quite upset that his betrothed abandoned him when he was still crawling around in his nappies. Needless to say, it was hilarious when he came to confront the spoilt runaway princess and she 1) assumes he’s “Jamal” the new waiter she has to train and 2) has no idea who he or she really is. Turns out I’m a sucker for both the secret prince and the hidden princess tropes! Who knew?!

And the romance! Oh, Em, Gee… Ledi and Thabiso had amazing chemistry! The growth of their relationship was fantastically developed. I am in love with these two together and they are one of my favorite ships ever! I knocked off a half star because some of the wording during the sex scenes was a little off-putting (mostly all the fucks and cocks) but I think that’s just me being *awkward* and wishing that things moved a little slower? I had to look up what “sexy romance” is on sylviaday.com and I still think this can be categorized as such because it happens to contain more explicit sex scenes but could be removed without damaging the story. The best part about the sex in this book was how it was handled so positively and with full consent. We’re all adults here, yay!

Now I must not forget about Likotsi, my queer queen, because she was my favorite side character and I cannot wait for her story in Book 2.5! (Book 2 is about Portia, the best friend, and Book 3 is about Nya, the cousin!) Likotsi is an unabashed bachelorette that is the glue holding together Thabiso’s life. She’s such an integral part of the book and the sanity check keeping Thabiso from permanently becoming “Jamal”. Not to mention that her style is off the charts!


Audiobook Performance: ★★★★★

Reluctant Royals:
Book 2: A Duke by Default ★★★½
Book 2.5: Once Ghosted, Twice Shy ★★★★★
Book 2.75: Can’t Escape Love (2019)
Book 3: A Prince on Paper (2019)


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