I got an advanced copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
A Prince on Paper is the third novel in the Reluctant Royals series. I think you would be better off reading the first two books before you start this one so that you have a context for Nya and Johan.
Nya Jerami fled Thesolo for the glitz and glamour of NYC but discovered that her Prince Charming only exists in her virtual dating games. When Nya returns home for a royal wedding, she accidentally finds herself up close and personal—in bed—with the real-life celebrity prince who she loves to hate.
For Johan von Braustein, the red-headed step-prince of Liechtienbourg, acting as paparazzi bait is a ruse that protects his brother—the heir to the throne—and his own heart. When a royal referendum threatens his brother’s future, a fake engagement is the perfect way to keep the cameras on him.
Nya and Johan both have good reasons to avoid love, but as desires are laid bare behind palace doors, they must decide if their fake romance will lead to a happily-ever-after.
Alyssa Cole writes great characters. I love her characters. I love that in a grand sweeping romance, the heart of her romance is still two people falling in love and through that learning more about who they are as individuals. I never leave a Cole Romance feeling like there is anything other than Happily Ever After.
One of Nya’s big obstacles to her HEA are the words her father often used to diminish her, “you dream too big, girl.” Naledi, Portia, and Nya have all been made to feel small. The women find their power and learn to take up space. Without this growth, none of the romances would have reached a happy conclusion. I loved reading about these women fall in love with themselves as much as I loved reading their romances.
I struggled a little more with A Prince on Paper than I did with A Princess in Theory and A Duke by Default. In the previous two Reluctant Royals books, I had an immediate sense of who Naledi and Portia were. With Nya, I didn’t have as much of a sense of who she is until I was well into the book. To a degree, that’s because Nya suffered emotional abuse at the hands of her father to the point where she doesn’t quite know who she is. Another reason I struggled was because I don’t deal well with knowing that someone is about to embarrassed. For a good chunk of the book I had a lot of anxiety around the virtual dating game that Nya is playing. It ends up resolving in a way that wasn’t as bad as my anxiety told me it would be, but it was a barrier for me in fully engaging with the book.