Alyssa Cole delivers another fun, sexy romance novella in the Reluctant Royals series!
Regina Hobbs is nerdy by nature, businesswoman by nurture. She's finally taking her pop culture-centered media enterprise, Girls with Glasses, to the next level, but the stress is forcing her to face a familiar supervillain: insomnia. The only thing that helps her sleep when things get this bad is the deep, soothing voice of puzzle-obsessed live streamer Gustave Nguyen. The problem? His archive has been deleted.
Gus has been tasked with creating an escape room themed around a romance anime…except he knows nothing about romance or anime. Then mega-nerd and anime expert Reggie comes calling, and they make a trade: his voice for her knowledge. But when their online friendship has IRL chemistry, will they be able to escape love?
About the Author
Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, and sci-fi romance. Her books have received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Library Journal, BuzzFeed, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, and various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can usually be found watching anime with her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reggie is immersed in her website and growing her Girls with Glasses brand: she’s moved on from her parents’ real estate business, built herself a nice nest egg and is slowly reconnecting with her twin Portia, now in Scotland on a sword-making apprenticeship. More than a bit of a control freak, Reggie has always been a favorite of mine for her indominable spirit, her ‘never let ‘em see you sweat’ boldness and her sheer determination to enjoy and recruit others to the enjoyment of all things ‘geeky’, while still providing information that everyone can use in easy to access ways. And quite frankly, Reggie is a speak first, challenge YOUR discomfort sort of girl – partly coming from her struggle after meningitis, but mostly as a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to getting what she wants. Gus used the livestream to help him with communicating to people – he’s mostly fine with family, but the subtle cues are missed in everyday interactions, as people aren’t like puzzles and he can sort out most puzzles if he thinks about it long enough. He’s curious about this email – although not quite sure where it will go – but a conversation will help him to sort out what he thinks. AND we’re off. Gus and Reggie talk first – and things are sweet – they are feeling one another out and getting to ‘know’ each other, soon to meet face to face as Gus is working on a puzzle project that involves Reggie’s current fangirl obsession – set to debut at a major con in a few months. Oh Gus was SO good for her, and Reggie was blooming – and investigating those ‘difficult’ things – the emotions and difficult conversations that she avoids because, well, it’s easier. And if she wants Gus, she has to make that choice – discuss those difficult things using her words – because Gus won’t catch the signals… and he’s determined (or as Cole puts it – the puzzle in his chest fell into place) to make a life with her. Oh this was wonderful and fun and a perfect option for Reggie who so desperately wanted (yet wouldn’t say under penalty of death) someone she could call partner – not to ‘complete’ her – but to make more of what the two of them have together. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Novellas are kind of my thing. My “catnip” as some tend to say in the book world. That’s why it should be no surprise that I read this one from Alyssa Cole after reading A Duke by Default. In this book, we get to read more about Reggie, Portia’s (from A Duke by Default) twin sister. While it felt like Reggie was more of the “perfect” sister in their parent’s eyes from Portia’s POV, we can see that’s not exactly the case. They’re still trying to control her life, but in different ways. One of the fun things about this novellas is the fandom and “geeky” references throughout. I also felt that having Gus be mostly ignorant of the references and Reggie teaching him about all things pop-culture was fun to read. Despite both characters being very set in their ways and control over their lives, seeing this relationship form was a must-read experience. Lastly, while this can be read as a standalone, I would suggest reading it either after or at least just before A Duke by Default. I feel that my reading of A Duke by Default was greatly enhanced with the addition of this novella. Seeing both sides of these twins’ relationship helps shape each one individually in my eyes.
I. Love. This. Book. Seriously, every book in this series is somehow better than the last, and my prediction was that this one would make my brain explode with awesomeness, and it basically did. I have to start by just bowing down before Alyssa Cole at the amazing rep in this book. I stan a book about with a leading lady who is black and disabled, a leading man who is Vietnamese-American, and both are neurodivergent. Reggie describes herself as a pineapple, and she's had to be - she's a woman operating in a male-dominated space that has some of the nastiest, neck-beardiest gatekeepers on the World Wide Web, and as a disabled black woman she's got seem keen insight into intersectionality and strives to make that space she's carved out at her website, GirlsWithGlasses.com, as safe and awesome a space as possible. I love that both Reggie and Gus are so quirky, and they fit together like - well, like two pieces of a puzzle. :) Gus is so sweet, and I really love how direct he is. His honesty and directness reminded me a lot of Stella from Helen Hoang's The Kiss Quotient (but a lot more in touch with social norms!) This is book 3.5 in the Reluctant Royals series, but timeline-wise it runs in tandem with book 2, A Duke by Default, and there are spoilers for A Duke by Default in this book. It can still be read as a stand alone if you haven't read any of the rest of the series (including A Duke by Default), and has no spoilers for the rest of the series.