12 Tropes of 2020 – A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

Free Choice: Royalty from
12 Tropes of 2020


A Princess in Theory
by Alyssa Cole

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?

Taken from blurb

My thoughts

I have mixed feelings about this book – I enjoyed it and am really keen to read more from Alyssa Cole but some parts of the story were problematic for me. Without going into too much detail there were some actions that really bordered on dubious consent with actions taken and the power imbalance between the romantic couple.

Outside of this though was a great story which made for a compelling read. I enjoyed the world building and loved the main character, Naledi. The whole cast was really engaging and, as I read this years after it was published, I was excited to see characters who got their own books.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole”

12 Tropes of 2020 – Two Dukes and a Lady by Lorna James

Love Triangle from
12 Tropes of 2020

When two people both love a third person, and that third often loves them both. The object of their love may be conflicted as to whom he/she wants.

Taken from Urban Dictionary.

A state of affairs in which one person is romantically or sexually involved with two others (one or both of whom may not be aware of or complicit in the situation).

Taken from Lexico.

Two Dukes and a Lady
by Lorna James (aka Jamie K. Schmidt)

Charles Ashdown, Duke of Densmore, and his closest friend William Kenwood, Duke of Tennison, love gambling and womanising too much to ever be ensnared by a debutante. Certainly, no decent wife would allow the debauchery they enjoy. But the only woman they’ve ever loved has returned. Unfortunately, Society, and likely darling Lily, will never accept the sharing relationship they’d like to propose.

Lillian Drew returns to England after her husband’s mysterious death and finds solace with her girlhood crushes, Charles and William. Sure, they’re as unapologetically crass and self-centered as always, but she loves them both. When her dead husband’s creditors come after her, she has no choice but to remarry, though she can’t make up her mind which duke she’ll propose to. With a toss of one of the few coins she has left to her name, she hopes the loser will understand.

Taken from blurb

My thoughts

Full disclosure, I am a bleeding heart and couldn’t stomach the typical ‘love triangle’ trope. So instead of the usual V pattern of a relationship where one person is ultimately chosen, I went with a book where both romantic options are chosen 😋 Yes, yes I am aware that this is a menage or polyamorous trope but I couldn’t handle the angst of someone being rejected 😥

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12 Tropes of 2020 – The Alpha’s Warlock by Eliot Grayson

Enemies-to-Lovers from
12 Tropes of 2020

The two characters often have a long history of conflict with each other. They may be on opposite sides of a struggle, or may have just met under unfortunate circumstances and their personalities clashed.

Taken from Fanlore.

The Alpa’s Warlock
by Eliot Grayson

Cursed, mated, and in for the fight of their lives…

Warlock Nate Hawthorne just wants a cup of coffee. Is that too much to ask? Apparently. Because instead of precious caffeine, all he gets is cursed by a pack of werewolves who want to use him for his magic. Now the only way to fix the damage is a mate bond to a grumpy and oh-so-sexy alpha in the rival pack, who happens to hate him. This is so not how he wanted to start his day.

Ian Armitage never intended to take Nate as his mate. The Hawthorne family can’t be trusted. Ian knows that better than anyone. The fact that he’s lusted after the way-too-gorgeous man for years? Totally irrelevant. Ian’s just doing what is necessary to protect his pack. This whole mating arrangement has nothing to do with love and never will. That’s his story and he’s sticking to it.

Nate and Ian will have to work together if they have any hope of staving off the pack’s enemies and averting disaster. That’s assuming they can stop arguing (and keep their hands off each other) long enough to save the day…

The Alpha’s Warlock is an explicit M/M paranormal romance featuring a snarky warlock, a brooding alpha werewolf, knotting, enchanted socks (long story), and a guaranteed happily ever after.

Taken from book blurb

My thoughts

I tend to steer away from books with ‘Alpha’ in the title but the blurb on this book was too good to pass up. From the first chapter to the end I was enamoured with the two characters Nate and Ian.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – The Alpha’s Warlock by Eliot Grayson”

12 Tropes of 2020 – Hearts of Darkness by Andrea Speed

Superheroes from
12 Tropes of 2020

Adventures, personalities and ethics of costumed crime fighters known as superheroes, who often possess superhuman powers and battle similarly powered criminals known as supervillains.

Taken from Wikipedia

Hearts of Darkness
by Andrea Speed

Kaede Hiyashi is sick and tired of living in the shadow of his father, supervillain Doctor Terror. Brilliant but crazy, Doctor Terror sends his son to Corwyn, California, for reasons Kaede can’t imagine. Sent to accompany and protect him is Ash, a genetically modified supersoldier raised and trained by an infamous death cult.

Corwyn is lousy with superheroes, led by the obnoxious Dark Justice. Kaede finds himself dancing around Dark Justice as he digs into his father’s mysterious business and teaches his socially awkward—but physically lethal—bodyguard to acclimate to “normal” life. Can these two wacky supervillains figure out what Doctor Terror wants them to do, solve the riddle of the villain known as Black Hand, and keep Dark Justice from raining on their bloody parade? The course of love—and world domination—never did run smooth.

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

I really enjoy reading queer superhero romance novels – there is just something so satisfying about being able to see these larger than life characters not only occupy the ‘hero’ archetype but to see them love freely is what that I love reading. Sadly there are not that many published queer superhero romance novels – don’t get me wrong they are out there but they can be hard to find 😅

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12 Tropes of 2020 – Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean

Wallflower from
12 Tropes of 2020

A person who has no one to dance with or who feels shy, awkward, or excluded at a party.

Taken from Lexico

She might be on the shelf, but love doesn’t pass her by in the end. These are romances where the heroine is a spinster, is on the shelf, or is considered an old maid by society (even if it’s by choice).

Taken from Best Romances With Spinsters, Wallflowers, Or Old Maids reading list on Goodreads.


Brazen and the Beast
by Sarah MacLean

The Lady’s Plan

When Lady Henrietta Sedley declares her twenty-ninth year her own, she has plans to inherit her father’s business, to make her own fortune, and to live her own life. But first, she intends to experience a taste of the pleasure she’ll forgo as a confirmed spinster. Everything is going perfectly… until she discovers the most beautiful man she’s ever seen tied up in her carriage and threatening to ruin the Year of Hattie before it’s even begun.

The Bastard’s Proposal

When he wakes in a carriage at Hattie’s feet, Whit, a king of Covent Garden known to all the world as Beast, can’t help but wonder about the strange woman who frees him—especially when he discovers she’s headed for a night of pleasure… on his turf. He is more than happy to offer Hattie all she desires… for a price.

An Unexpected Passion

Soon, Hattie and Whit find themselves rivals in business and pleasure. She won’t give up her plans; he won’t give up his power… and neither of them sees that if they’re not careful, they’ll have no choice but to give up everything… including their hearts.

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

The second book in The Bareknuckle Bastards series, Brazen and the Beast was an enjoyable and refreshing read. The book did not suffer from second book syndrome and was just as enjoyable as the first. As with her first book in the series, Wicked and the Wallflower, Brazen and the Beast follows one of the notorious ‘Bareknuckle Bastards’ as they are brought to their knees by powerful women of the time ladies .

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12 Tropes of 2020 – Some Kind of Magic by R. Cooper

Soul Mates from
12 Tropes of 2020

Soulmates are people who are fated to be together, usually romantically, sometimes through multiple lives and/or into the afterlife.

Taken from Fanlore

A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.

Taken from Lexico


Some Kind of Magic
by R. Cooper

Los Cerros is Detective Ray Branigan’s town, his to protect in a way that satisfies his werewolf instincts, even though most humans are afraid of him. Los Cerros is famous for its fairy village and its supposedly welcoming attitude toward magical beings like Ray, but Ray is one of only two beings on the police force. While dealing with human prejudice, Ray and his partner have to solve crimes relating to magic, and are forced to rely on the department’s part-time magical consultants, something Ray tries to avoid—and not only because werewolves are uncomfortable around magic.

Enter Cal Parker, the son of the department’s most admired detective. Cal is brilliant, contemptuous of the police, and half-fairy. He’s also Ray’s mate, a fact that Ray has kept secret despite his every instinct screaming for him to claim and worship, because weres mate for life, and fairies… don’t. Everyone knows that. Fairies are beautiful, flighty, and fickle.

But perhaps it’s not only the humans who have prejudice about beings. Cal isn’t shy about his desire for Ray—not that fairies ever are—and Ray’s resistance is crumbling. But the situation is growing more dangerous as they get closer to the killer, and by the time Ray accepts the truth of a fairy’s heart, it might be too late.

A Being(s) in Love Story

Magical creatures known as beings emerged from hiding amid the destruction of the First World War. Since then they’ve lived on the margins of the human world as misunderstood objects of fear and desire. Some are beautiful, others fearsome and powerful. Yet for all their magic and strength, they are as vulnerable as anyone when it comes to matters of the heart.

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

Okay, so if you haven’t realised I am a massive R. Cooper fan then you haven’t been paying attention for the last year. I have previously read a few books from R. Cooper’s Being(s) in Love series that was previously published under Dreamspinner Press, however this is the first some I have read Some Kind of Magic and is was amazing.

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12 Tropes of 2020 – A Delicate Deception by Cat Sebastian

Mistaken Identity from
12 Tropes of 2020

The ploy where one person is mistaken for another and hilarity ensues.

Taken from TV Tropes

All the books where one (or both) main character is keeping his/her’s identity secret or the other just thinks she/he is someone else.

Taken from Goodreads

A Delicate Deception
by Cat Sebastian

When Amelia Allenby escaped a stifling London ballroom for the quiet solitude of the Derbyshire countryside, the very last thing she wanted was an extremely large, if—she grudgingly admits—passably attractive man disturbing her daily walks. Lecturing the surveyor about property rights doesn’t work and, somehow, he has soon charmed his way into lemon cakes, long walks, and dangerously heady kisses.

The very last place Sydney wished to be was in the shadow of the ruins of Pelham Hall, the inherited property that stole everything from him. But as he awaits his old friend, the Duke of Hereford, he finds himself increasingly captivated by the maddeningly lovely and exceptionally odd Amelia. He quickly finds that keeping his ownership of Pelham Hall a secret is as impossible as keeping himself from falling in love with her.

But when the Duke of Hereford arrives, Sydney’s ruse is revealed and what started out as a delicate deception has become a love too powerful to ignore. Will they let a lifetime of hurt come between them or can these two lost souls find love and peace in each other?

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

Okay so, A Delicate Deception?

Yes please!

Two bisexual/pansexual characters + One introvert author/spinster + One softly damaged/emotional engineer = an amazing book that I enjoyed SO much.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 – A Delicate Deception by Cat Sebastian”

12 Tropes of 2020 – Consorting with Dragons by Sera Trevor

Cinder(f)ella from
12 Tropes of 2020

The beautiful, hard working, put upon commoner girl who never loses her hope will be a princess or queen by the story’s end.

Taken from TV Tropes

A commoner by birth, or with only minor ties to nobility. Nonetheless, through hard work, perseverance, and the help of some musical animals, she’ll swoop into the ball and make the prince her “husband.”

Taken from TV Tropes

Consorting with Dragons
by Sara Trevor

Lord Jasen of Grumhul, an impoverished young nobleman, has come to the Draelands to find a rich husband to help pay his father’s debts. To the shock of everyone, he ends up attracting the attention of King Rilvor himself, and the dragons who control the magic in the land. Becoming royalty wasn’t something Jasen either expected or wanted, but he can’t control his growing feelings for kind and handsome king. Scheming factions at Court conspire to keep him from Rilvor’s side, and now Jasen has to decide if the chance at true love with Rilvor is worth the burden of being the husband of a king.

This sweet and funny Cinderfella romance is complete at ~85000 words and ends in a solid HEA. After all, true love always wins in fairy tales! 

Blurb taken from book blurb

My thoughts

I’ve previously read Consorting with Dragons in 2016 as a novella and was so excited to see that it had been revised and extended into a full novel.

What was a big draw for this excitement was that Lord Jasen was such a distinct, sarcastic, and sweetly cynical character. It’s a tough thing to do, to have a character be sweetly cynical – the emotional vulnerability yet almost resigned expectation of being hurt for me, can blend together to make a nuanced and beautifully moving character.

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12 Tropes of 2020 Challenge – Just for Show by Jae

Fake/Pretend Relationship from
12 Tropes of 2020

Simply put, two characters who aren’t in a romantic relationship pretend to be.

Taken from TV Tropes

The main purpose of the trope is to throw the characters together in extended proximity and then explore the hidden, or not so hidden, feelings that develop.

Taken from Fanlore

Just for Show
by Jae

What happens when an overachieving psychologist with OCD tendencies and an impulsive, out-of-work actress start a fake relationship?

Claire Renshaw thought she had it all: a successful career as a couples therapist, a publishing contract for her self-help book, and a happy relationship. But her perfect world falls apart when her fiancée calls off their engagement. Because of that, even her book deal might be off the table. After all, readers don’t want relationship advice from someone who can’t even make her own relationship work.

So Claire sets out to hire herself a fake fiancée.

Lana Henderson, the actress who shows up to audition for the role, is not exactly Claire’s ideal woman. Her frankness and the messes she leaves everywhere drive Claire up the wall. At least she won’t fall in love with someone like Lana.

But soon, Lana starts to win her over with her big heart, tickle fights, and—gasp!—carbs after six. The longer they pretend to be a love-struck couple, the less fake their kisses feel and the more the lines between reality and role begin to blur.

Once the book contract is signed, will they walk away or is their relationship no longer just for show?

A lesbian romance where role-playing has never been so irresistible.

Blurb taken from Goodreads

My thoughts

I really enjoyed Just for Show – it is my first book by author Jae and I found it to be very well written and filled with incredibly engaging characters.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 Challenge – Just for Show by Jae”

12 Tropes of 2020 Challenge – Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert

May/December from
12 Tropes of 2020

Refers to a romantic relationship where there is a drastic difference in age between the two participants.

Taken from TV Tropes

“Some say I’m robbing the cradle, but I say she’s robbing the grave!”

Hubert FarnsworthFuturama

Better Not Pout
by Annabeth Albert

One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand.

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind. 

Blurb taken from Goodreads

My thoughts

Better Not Pout has been on my reading list for a while now, I remember making grand plans to read it all the way back in December 2017… it only took me two years to read it. I am very glad that I did eventually read this book as I found it to be quite a sweet and tender hearted novel.

Continue reading “12 Tropes of 2020 Challenge – Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert”