Categories
Comics Fantasy

Read The Remarried Empress S2

Read The Remarried Empress

Navier Ellie Trovi was an empress perfect in every way — intelligent, courageous, and socially adept. She was kind to her subjects and devoted to her husband. Navier was perfectly content to live the rest of her days as the wise empress of the Eastern Empire. That is, until her husband brought home a mistress and demanded a divorce. “I accept this divorce… And I request an approval of my remarriage.” In a shocking twist, Navier remarries another emperor and retains her title and childhood dream as empress. But just how did everything unfold?

This was a building season, looking forward to the payoff next season.

Heartening to see the supportive comments for the illustrator taking a break to recover! I feel like there’s been a shift in the years since Neil Gaiman wrote his “GRRM is not your bitch” post and people have gotten better about separating their enthusiasm for a work from entitlement — more understanding about creators protecting their health (or maybe just Webtoons readers are an especially kind corner of fandom). Makes sense that could be connected to the greater support we’re seeing for unions and worker’s rights? (Though it seems weird to see this wellspring of labor support at the same time the public as a whole has said FU to at-risk and immunocompromised people and kids on the pandemic. Guess we haven’t hit disability solidarity yet.)

Categories
Art and Design

Queen Victoria’s emerald tiara

Liked An historically important emerald and diamond diadem, Joseph Kitching, 1845 (sothebys.com)

The present tiara is one of several jewellery pieces designed for Queen Victoria by her husband. Prince Albert had previously incorporated the Queen’s birthstone, emerald, into his designs, including in her engagement ring.

To accompany this ring, in 1843 Albert designed a matching necklace, earrings and brooch. Two years later, Prince Albert worked with the court jeweller Joseph Kitching to realise his design for this impressive piece which came to a total cost of £1,150.

Wow 😍

Visually stunning, am not going to think about the provenance of the jewels…

Categories
Romance

Read Crown of Stars

Read Crown of Stars by K.A. Knight

The Crown Princess of Zyria was born to wear the crown….but what if she wants more?

My life was organised since birth until the carefully constructed plans exploded like a supernova. The lick of flames began when I decided to sacrifice myself for my planet and my people.

Abducted into the stars I dreamed of, I have no choice but to embrace the part of me I have always hidden—the fighter, the warrior, and the imperfect, crass woman who doesn’t resemble the impeccable princess I am expected to be. Instead of using my silver tongue to fight my battles, I now hold true weapons, and for the first time since the crown was placed on my head, I feel whole.

Evil is flooding the galaxy, and for some reason, destiny has chosen me to stop it. The only problem is, I don’t know how. Luckily, I meet some men along the way who are willing to follow me on this mission. If the king could see me now, draped in leather and wielding pistols and knives rather than wearing ballgowns and reading old scrolls, he would collapse onto his golden throne.

Now, I fight my way across the cosmos to try and stop the destruction of everything we know.

I was ready to give up my life, my future, and my body, but I never expected to lose my heart along the way.

Stars, don’t let me fail now.

This wound up feeling very drawn out, with the ending seemingly starting in the 80% mark but there was denouement after denouement, with like five “endings”. The opening was much faster paced, albeit a bit generically evil bad guys who look scary and break their word and are into raping women and blowing up planets for funsies. Lots of action in the plot, driving forward pretty fast, so that created quite a juxtaposition when they suddenly weren’t doing anything anymore.

Saffron (not an ideal name for a princess imo especially shortened to Saff or Saffy) is good at bossing people around which works surprisingly often for her. She’s pretty badass if naive.

The smut is kind of over the top, with Saffron going rapidly from “it’s my duty to stay a virgin and marry whoever my dad says” to “I’m gonna bang two guys at the same time for my first time” 😳 I have only read one other reverse harem before and I think it’s not for me. Too many POV characters, too many character arcs, not enough time to do all the relationships justice so a lot of instalove. This was over 500 pages to try to give her enough one on one time with everyone. I feel like reverse harem is trying to collect one lover of all types and get all the sci-fi romance tropes in (reptile-influenced alien, warrior, cyborg, brothers) so there’s something for everyone? The creepiest was the older (200 year old???) bodyguard who fell in love with her when she was 16 (grooooooosssssss even though chaste).

This was an exciting space opera but weighed down by lengthy declarations of love, too many sex scenes, and a dragging ending.

Really pretty cover. Maybe looks a little YA though, and it decidedly is not 😉

Categories
Romance

Read The Princess Trap

Read The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert

Cherry Neita is thirty, flirty, and done with men. As far as she can tell, they’re overrated, overpaid, and underperforming – in every area of life. But a girl has needs, and the smoking-hot stranger she just met at the office seems like the perfect one-night stand…

Prince Ruben of Helgmøre is reckless, dominant, and famously filthy. The outcast royal is rebuilding his reputation – all for a good cause – but he can’t resist a pretty face. And bossy whirlwind Cherry’s got the face, the body, and the attitude to make Ruben’s convictions crumble. Even better, when she propositions him, she has no idea who he really is.

But when paparazzi catch the pair, erm, kissing in an alleyway, Ruben’s anonymity disappears faster than Cherry’s knickers. Now the press is in uproar, the palace is outraged, and Ruben’s reputation is back in the gutter. There’s only one way to turn this disaster around – and it involves Cherry, some big fat lies, and a flashy diamond ring. On her left hand.

Unfortunately, Cherry isn’t pleased with Ruben’s ‘fake engagement’ scheme… and neither is the king.

Really liked both characters’ personalities in this, though Cherry’s background could have been fleshed out a little more rather than almost entirely focused on her family.

The setup was entertaining, then the middle not much happened, and the end took a dark turn (though not out of step from what was hinted at earlier).

The casual racism at the royal palace at the end, and the relationship between the prince and an “unsuitable partner,” takes on a new light after Harry and Meghan’s experiences.

Categories
Romance

Read How to Find a Princess

Read How to Find a Princess (Runaway Royals, #2) by Alyssa Cole

Makeda Hicks has lost her job and her girlfriend in one fell swoop. The last thing she’s in the mood for is to rehash the story of her grandmother’s infamous summer fling with a runaway prince from Ibarania, or the investigator from the World Federation of Monarchies tasked with searching for Ibarania’s missing heir.

Yet when Beznaria Chetchevaliere crashes into her life, the sleek and sexy investigator exudes exactly the kind of chaos that organized and efficient Makeda finds irresistible, even if Bez is determined to drag her into a world of royal duty Makeda wants nothing to do with.

I had been really looking forward to this after loving Bez in the previous book in the series, but unfortunately was disappointed. It felt insubstantial, rushed, especially the ending. They spent most of the book on a boat, which I have not great associations with so was a little offputting. Apparently it’s an Anastasia re-imagining which I didn’t pick up on while reading.

The story behind the cover photo is fun, since it was taken during the pandemic – they found two besties who were in a bubble together who were willing to pose.