Cover Image: How to Catch a Queen

How to Catch a Queen

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Member Reviews

To Catch a Queen by Alyssa Cole is a romance novel that was not at all like I expected and I think it might be a new favorite romance! This book was not just a love story, but also involved mental health, misogyny and sexism within government, colonization, trauma, and more. Both of the main characters had so much depth and heart, and I found myself really caring for them and the country they are fighting for. The effects of colonization and how it’s carried by generations of people and loss of culture, is something that spoke to me. This is a contemporary set story, but I think if you tend to like books set in a kingdom with royalty (like in fantasy or historical) you might enjoy this book as well. It would be a good gateway into the romance genre.

I feel such warmth for these characters, and was sad to have to leave them by the end. However, I am very excited for the next book in the series, because I didn’t realize it follows someone who got a small part in this book. She was a really fun character, so I’m glad she will be expanded on. Anyways, read this book ASAP!
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Loved this book! 

I love love loved Shanti. She’s smart and driven and a little sassy. Sanyu is a little gruff and uncertain. Together they have instant intrigue and chemistry. There are a few other characters, but they seem a bit on the fringes. 

Plot wise, it was so satisfying. I loved the slow burn of their relationship and the growth of the kingdom. The conflict of the wedding added a slight angst, but nothing that was horrible. I could have done with a million more scenes between Shanti and Sanyu, but I’m being greedy. 

Overall, this was a delicious start to a new series and I cannot wait to see the next book.
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Another great story by one of the “queens” of romance!

I absolutely adore Alyssa Cole’s stories, especially her Reluctant Royals series. This first book in the Runaway Royals series was wonderful and I love how Shanti and Sanyu developed with each other and with the help of new friends. Overall, a wonderful tale of learning to trust, love, and make difficult choices to pursue happiness.
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A fun and exciting entry in Alyssa Cole’s Runaway Royals series. I love that this is basically the redemption story for the woman who was supposed to be the bride in Coming to America. Funny, touching, and fiercely feminist. I loved it.
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This entry in Alyssa Cole's Runaway Royals series has great lead-pair chemistry, a country with a shifting and evolving social landscape, and plenty of heat. Shanti's prepared to be a queen her whole life, but when she marries Sanyu of Njaza, she's a queen in name only. She's allowed into his bed, but not his heart. Their journey is by turns maddening, hopeful, and charming. This is an excellent read.
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I always love Alyssa Cole's books. She creates such interesting characters. I liked the setting of this story and how the love unfolds between the main characters.
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As I've come to expect from Alyssa Cole, How to Catch a Queen is an absolute delight. It's cute, fun, and highly upbeat. To some extent, based on certain plot points, I expected the tone of the book to shift to a darker tone (threats from within the palace walls, the mystery of what happened to the previous queens—essentially, political intrigue) but over time, the tone actually got lighter and more comedic. This occasionally created a bit of a disjointed feel, when expectations weren't just subverted but rather violently shoved aside to make room for something utterly unexpected. 

Overall, a super fun read and a sweet romance. 

I received a digital advance copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is an extremely solid romance that goes beyond focusing on the relationship alone. Politics, misogyny, patriarchy, and identity are a core aspect of this story and were actually my favorite parts. Cole is an amazing author and can create both solid worlds and solid characters, which I think a lot of authors struggle with. I loved a lot of the commentary in this and the characters’ social and emotional struggles all made sense and didn’t feel forced or out of nowhere.
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Queen Shanti and King Sanyu are in an arranged marriage and intensely drawn to each other. Unfortunately for Shanti, even though she is more than capable of helping the kingdom of Nazju and assisting Sanyu in ruling if they would just listen to her ideas. Nazju is country recovering from European colonialism and imperialism. I find this a fascinating addition to the story. Even if I found some of the politically driven plot a little tiring. Shanti has to face a country that has  a lot of deeply rooted misogyny, toxic masculinity and patriarchal pressure. And also a country that does not want to accept her. All of this of course, affects their marriage. Sanyu has to learn what is best for his country and how to love his queen. I had a hard time connecting to these characters and this story. The plot sometime moved pretty slow and was politically driven. I also was incredibly disappointed in the acceptance of the villain by the end of this book. Maybe the intent of his character was to be more of an antagonist but I didn't see much change or growth of this character to warrant that kind of acceptance. This just wasn't one my favorites. But, I love Alyssa Cole so I will give others a chance.
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This was good, as I expected considering it's Alyssa Cole, but I have one major qualm, one that made me take longer to pick up the book in the first place, and that was the synopsis of the book. It says something that doesn't occur until 84% in, and while it didn't ruin the book for me, it definitely brought it down a bit.
I really did enjoy most everything else about this book though.
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This book was so entertaining. I was drawn into the story from the beginning and was involved until the end. The characters were complex and interesting. I found the story to be well paced and engrossing throughout the whole book. I was invested in the couple throughout the book and felt all the emotions through both the highs and lows of the story.The side characters were such an integral part of this story as well. This is the love story i needed to read at this time. If you want an entertaining and well written book this is it for you
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Not a review I want to write. Alyssa is a favorite author and it sucks to have a book not fully hit for me from her.

I tried to go in with not too many expectations but this really did not do it. The bleak moments were numerous and we spent so much time away from the couple. I needed more time with the couple. A bigger grovel from Sanyu as well.
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This is not the review I wanted to write of my first Alyssa Cole romance. So many of my favorite recommenders love her, and I liked A Princess in Theory when I started it, but I got sidetracked by an overdue library book. Finally, though, I got an advance copy of How to Catch a Queen and read it with my book club, right around the release date!

I'm so sorry, so very sorry to say that I quite strongly disliked this book. 

Shanti has always wanted to be a queen, and she has shaped her whole life around this ambition--learning about governance and philanthropy. Sanyu has only ever wanted to be anything but the king of the country he will inherit from his father. The RoyalMatch.com dating website brings Shanti to Njaza to marry Sanyu by his father's deathbed. But she only has three months to prove herself to be the True Queen or be sent away, like so many of Sanyu's father's queens.

Where to begin? The point of the book is that Sanyu has been damaged by a lot of toxic masculinity in the people who raised him--his father and his father's closest adviser, Musoke. But the problem is that he spends the whole book so broken and dull that I couldn't root for him at all. He's got serious anxiety about messing up his father's legacy, so he doesn't do anything at all--doesn't talk in meetings, doesn't have ideas. He's the king he thinks he's supposed to be--mean to people who imply he's anything but perfect, completely subservient to his chief advisor. 

He spends fully three quarters of the book being just what he thinks a king should be--and hating it. I think I'm supposed to pity the poor man for having to be so miserable when he just wants to love and be loved. I don't. I feel bad for how he treats Shanti, yeah, but I'm ragingly angry at him for not taking better care of his kingdom. He knows better.

So I spent most of the book angry at him. The romance mainly consisted of descriptions of uncontrollable physical attraction in moments when two people are having an awkward, or practical, or uncomfortable conversation. I didn't find it all that convincing, that he was so hot she wanted him even when he was being a jerk to her. I've never met anyone that hot.

I did read Cole's thriller, When No One Is Watching, and found it absolutely skin-crawlingly creepy. I promise to try another of her romances soon. Probably A Duke by Default, because some of the characters from that appear in this one, and Portia seems pretty great. 

Thank you, Netgalley, for the book, and I'm sorry, Ms. Cole and all her fans, that I wasn't able to love this book better.
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I wanted to read the Reluctant Royals series before reading this book, and I'm glad I did, because it was fun to see the characters pop up again. However, this can certainly be read as a standalone.

This novel is very politics-oriented, and while I did find that interesting, the romance felt underdeveloped in comparison. I didn't feel the chemistry between the characters, because I didn't feel like they actually got to know each other very well, and that didn't leave me too invested in their romance.
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Alyssa Cole has her finger on the pulse of the romance genre. Her books are rich and developed, well written and quick to read. I always recommend this author for people looking for something new from the romance genre.
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Okay, where to start with this? The book was so focused on the royalty and politics that I had a hard time connecting to the characters and their romance. Sanyu was a bit frustrating for me and how he would blindly follow his advisor. While I do understand that was how he was raised, I wished the resolution to that problem made more sense.  

I did enjoy Shanti's character a lot actually, but I wasn't that interested in the romance between Shanti and Sanyu. There was just something missing for me and I wasn't sold on their undying love for one another. While I wanted to love this, the pacing and the romance just didn't do it for me.

**Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest review**
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I was so looking forward to this romance. Alyssa Cole is absolutely killing it with these gorgeous covers and I love her Reluctant Royals series. 

Unfortunately, I felt like the romance and plot was just too much of a slowburn. I love the idea of Shanti using a website to find a royal husband. But it doesn't quite work out as planned when she discovers that Sanyu is very traditional and wants a wife who is more ornament than partner. The politics of this world really bogged down the story. I felt extremely frustrated by Sanyu's tendency to listen to his advisors even if that was how he was raised. Shanti was such a powerful heroine. I loved how she wanted to make a difference and actually take on an active role as ruler. But the romance didn't feel like it was the focus of the book. In the end, it was hard to be invested in Shanti and Sanyu as a couple.
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I love Alyssa Cole but this was one of those instances where the book came to me at not the right time. I really tried to love this but I just could not get past the hyper-masculine love interest and the incredible misogynistic villain. This is obviously not Cole herself condoning such things and I am 100% sure it would all be resolved in the end, I just did not care enough to push through.
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I loooooved this until near the end, where it got real NOTTING HILL real fast and the pacing was thrown off. Still, I'm handselling it to a lot of people (already got one person to buy it this week!) and reviewed it on goodreads. Thank you for sharing!
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FULL REVIEW ON FRESH FICTION

A modern-day fairy tale! HOW TO CATCH A QUEEN by Alyssa Cole is the first book in her new Runaway Royals series, a spin-off of her beloved Reluctant Royals series. Shanti and Sanyu are two characters whose lives have depended on tradition. Shanti wants to be a queen, much like the queens she has grown up admiring and aspiring to be, and her family fully supports this dream. But Shanti doesn’t merely want to wear pretty dresses and live in a fabulous palace, she wants to use the power of being queen to do good in the world. Sanyu has been raised to strive to be the absolute best and work to lead his country well. But he feels woefully unprepared and like a constant disappointment to his father and to his father’s most trusted advisor, Musoke.

At first, Shanti and Sanyu seem to have little in common, and not much to say to one another, and it takes a while for this novel to gain momentum and for the two lead characters to really come to a place of understanding. They fall for each other hard and fast, which was a little unbelievable, but this is supposed to be a modern fairy tale, of course! There’s plenty of palace intrigue about what happened to the legendary first True Queen of Njaza; no one knows what happened to her or what has happened to all of the queens who did not pass their marriage trials. . . Njaza is vividly portrayed as a country ready for change--there are glimpses into what everyday people really think about their king and the monarchy that rules over them. It’s not always positive, and it’s interesting to see how Sanyu handles this aspect, as well as the secrets that are revealed when he spends time with his fellow citizens. For fans of the Reluctant Royals, previous characters do make a few delightful cameos. HOW TO CATCH A QUEEN by Alyssa Cole is a well-written, sexy, royal romance.
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