Corey Reviews The Princess & the Prix by Nell Stark

I must quibble with Bold Stroke Books’ description of Her Serene Highness Pommelina Alix Louise Canella of Monaco as an “ugly duckling.” Alix is smart and an introvert and reserved, with strong features and a careful heart and basically swoon-worthy. When she meets Formula 1 driver Thalia d’Angelis while networking to support Alix’s humanitarian efforts, their glaring differences and sexual spark promise a great ride.

I’m not that familiar with Formula 1… except for viewing the documentary “Senna” about Brazilian Formula One racing driver Ayrton Senna, I only know Formula 1 is that international motor sport that is not NASCAR. Stark provides an excellent introduction to Formula 1, enough that I appreciated the athleticism and the strategy involved. Thalia’s rise in the sport is believable and I got caught up in her successes and her flame-outs.

Personally, Alix’s royal status is the least interesting thing about her (eh, I’m from peasant stock). Since she herself seems to find her royalty an obligation that is only useful to her philanthropic efforts, I appreciate her pursuit of excellence within the boundaries of societal expectations. The constant security surrounding her becomes one plot point among many, such as how her “coming out” with be received by other royalty and the press. Thankfully, she can call on Princess Sasha of Great Britain for help, even though I cannot help giggling whenever I read the word “princess.” I blame Disney.

The Princess and the Prix is my favorite Nell Stark novel to date. Alix’s maturity and pragmatic approach to life forces Thalia to own up to her own irresponsible behavior, without losing my sympathy for Thalia’s struggles in a misogynistic sport. Thalia has some growing up to do, and some truly profound incidents on and off the track along with Alix’s sometimes brutal honesty hurry her along on that path. Their relationship and their separate and shared lives are worth investing both emotions and reading time.

You can download a sample or purchase The Princess and the Prix by clicking here.

The Bookgeek Reviews All In by Nell Stark

I am a sucker for a good romance and I admire lesbian romances which are “straight” romances, where the story thrives on the penwomanship of the author, the character development, and the chemistry of the setting and main characters. It is the most difficult romance to write because there is nothing to distract the reader. Nell Stark is one of those authors who have grown into master romance tellers and I am always eagerly awaiting her newest.

All In is set in Las Vegas. But Stark’s take of Las Vegas is the perfect counterpoint to the reader’s expectation: yes, there is glamour, yes, there is glitter, yes, there are high stake, but her two main characters actually work in the world of gambling. This perspective gives us a view, sometimes a rather cynical one, behind the scenes. It sets the perfect stage for the two main characters: Vesper Blake is busy advancing her career as host for high rollers and Annie Jump Navarro is trying to build a name as professional power player by becoming a poker champion. Both are focused, but when they nilly-willy meet a slow, but inexorable dance of mutual attraction and compelling chemistry begins the biggest gamble of both their lives, the gamble to trust in true romance.

It is difficult to tell what I loved most about this book. The writing is very smooth and I love well-written prose. The story was character-driven and the character development was excellent. Both main characters are multi-layered, three dimensional, likable. And although I am no poker player and not into gambling this part is well-told and adds – almost like a character on its own – a lot of substance and credibility to the story and gives ample opportunity to drive the story. And though sex is an expected part of a romance, Nell Stark has added exceptional love scenes which exceed expectation: they are at the same time tender and hot and very expressive.

All In is Nell Stark’s best romance yet and an exceptional read. Well done!

You can download a sample or purchase All In by clicking here.