Member Reviews

A steamy romcom about a royal bodyguard and royal nanny, say less! A quick, easy read that is cute and just made me smile. I loved the relationship between the staff and royals, it was very endearing and made me want to read the book about the prince and princess. I do wish that there had been more focus on the development of the relationship, especially with a second chance romance we need to see why a second chance is even worth it besides just being near each other. It jumped from hate to lust to love pretty fast.
3.5⭐️ rounded up

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I enjoyed the previous Royals book, but found this one to be lackluster and low on chemistry between the main characters. Had a hard time getting into it.

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This one was very fun! I've had some good luck with Halle's contemporary romance, and this is no different. I adored Laila! And I really could almost feel the cold and the snow with the great descriptions! I really enjoyed this, and I will add it to my recommends list!

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I love Karina Halle’s books! They are so fun. I love royals + Americans. Always makes for a fun story. I liked this one and her other royals book!

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The Royals Upstairs by Karina Halle is a captivating romance filled with tension and excitement, all while delicately exploring themes of mental health and trauma recovery. I am eagerly anticipating delving into more works by this talented author.

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I've been looking forward to this book's release since I first read The Royals Next Door a few years ago, and I was thrilled to receive an ARC from Netgalley!

While I did enjoy this book, I didn't connect with it in the same way that I did with its predecessor. I reread The Royals Next Door before diving into The Royals Upstairs, and I found the characters in the first book to be more likeable and easier to root for. Their romance felt more real to me and they had interesting, compelling personal lives in addition to their romance.

Unfortunately, The Royals Upstairs lacked some of those components that made the first book so compelling. First, our protagonists, Laila and James, didn't have much personality or plot outside of their romance. James had somewhat of a backstory in his divorce, but we didn't delve into that as much as I would've liked, and it was hinted at that there was more going on there with his mental health, but we never explored it. With Laila, she had her grandmother's health, but that felt like a detail that easily could've been lifted out and not affected the story, which means it wasn't integrated enough.

The way Halle writes about grief makes it evident that it's something she has a deep connection with--something made even clearer if you read the acknowledgments of this book--but I know how difficult it can be to write about a topic that's too close to your heart, and this may have unfortunately been one of those cases where because you know the topic so well, there are some details that fall through the cracks.

I also thought the way James's character in particular evolved by the end of the book wasn't particularly believable. The entire reason he left Canada was because he couldn't stand small-town life and the loneliness of it all, but he adjusts to being in this similarly secluded area rather quickly and, once he falls for Laila, changes from being city-oriented to being happy to settle down in a small town. I'm not saying that is completely unrealistic, but it happened so quickly and conveniently that it didn't feel very believable.

Also, both Laila and James express explicitly how they don't want children--something I actually found refreshing--but by the end, James was talking about wanting to "be the father of Laila's children." It's okay for characters, and people, to not want kids, and for once, I wish characters would stick to their choices instead of changing their mind as soon as they fall in love.

I also don't think we got to spend enough time with the supporting cast of characters to become invested in them, with the exception of Lady Jane. Because I know what Halle is capable of, and because I just finished reading it in the previous book, I couldn't help but want more.

Overall, I felt pretty disconnected from the characters and the emotions they were supposed to be feeling, which wasn't what I expected at all from this book. Especially given some of the heavier topics discussed in it.

I do want to end this review by saying that I did enjoy this book overall. It was a fun, sweet story that was quick to read and shut my brain off for a few hours. Unfortunately, I just couldn't help myself from comparing it to the previous book, which was to this book's detriment.

Thank you to Netgalley and Berkley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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3.5 STARS!
~~~
This book seems to be a spin-off from a book previously published, but I had no difficulty getting into the flow. The only thing is the two main characters knew each other prior, and I’m not sure how much they appeared in the other book.

The story has a great setting as we are treated to the Nordic freeze. We also meet those they serve with the Prince of Norway and staff. Not to mention his bratty-well, one of them-children.

Halle spent a lot of time on the development of the main characters separately but I was a little sad. She really didn’t have a lot of time with them one-on-one.

We get snippets of the past where they had a relationship in the prior book and we understand that they both cared for each other. But a lot of their conversation is through a wall and interactions during their day while working.

Both are stubborn and in some ways, very closed off from letting anybody in, including each other. That is a bit frustrating for the reader because this whole story is a build-up, yet they’re not building in a true connection between each other until the very end.

The Royals Upstairs is sweet, but it’s also sad in many ways. We do get quite a bit of steam, but there is a lot of crazy and super messy stuff to go through as well.

Overall, it’s an enjoyable story with some laughs, some spice, some working through to the second chance, and a lovely HEA that was a long time coming.

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I so wanted to love this one, but it unfortunately just fell a bit flat for me. I am new to the author, so I went into this one not knowing her writing style or how she typically characterizes her worlds.

I was excited about a royal-adjacent romance (our main couple are not royals themselves - but work for a royal family) and for the Norwegian representation - as someone who is Norwegian it is typically very hard to see the culture represented in any books or mainstream art.

However, this book just seemed to drag for me; it felt very slow-paced and yet, I feel all that time was not used well for the sake of the story. This is a second chance romance and I feel the current romance wasn't well fleshed out - instead it relied on the previous feelings to pick up on the will-they-won't-they, tortured relationship vibes. I wish there was a bit more development in the current storytelling - particularly on our MMC's side.

The steamy scenes are definitely steamy and, this might seem like an odd complaint, but they tend to go on for PAGES - to the point where I found myself skimming. Almost like too much of a good thing, if that makes any sense.

I did find the ending to be satisfying - yes, we got steam, but we also got a thoughtful, romantic confession and apology.

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I was very excited to read The Royals Upstairs after loving the first book of the series. This installment was a sweet, second chance romance between exes James and Laila. I found James to be very sweet and caring towards Laila.

However, I found a few of the royal characters to be rather unrealistic and uncaring about their own son and staff. Bjron was a nightmare, and his troublemaking antics were getting on my nerves.

While not as enjoyable as the first novel, I still enjoyed reading the Royals Upstairs

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2.5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

The book starts off with the main couple Laila and James separated but meeting again due to them working for the same royal family. She is the royal family's nanny and he is the new royal family bodyguard. They had a one night stand in the past that was fueled by insta love and that pretty much sums up their romance as well.

Once they meet again, both Laila and James are instantly attracted to each other again. They do have issues in the past that they need to work through. Laila only has her grandma as the only living family member left and she has a medical condition. James was married and then had a divorce that he needed to process and heal from.

It seems like whenever there is a serious issue that affects either Laila or James, it isn't treated as a serious issue and glossed over mostly with them hooking up. There were so MANY smut scenes between Laila and James that I was like ANOTHER ONE, really? Was it really necessary to insert another one and does it contribute to the plot. Even with the abundance of romantic interactions that Laila and James have together, I couldn't feel their chemistry at all. I am a fan of the second chance romance trope but I wasn't a fan with how it was used in this book.

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When James Hunter took a new role as protection officer to Prince Magnus of Norway, he was excited for the challenge and change that came along with it. However, when he arrives at the royal estate, nothing is as it should be. To make matters worse, he runs into the woman he never thought he'd see again; the woman whose heart he broke, Laila Bruset. With their jobs on the line, Laila and James must find a way to coexist with one another. However, the more time they spend with each other, the more sparks build between them. Will they risk it all for a second chance at love?

I thought this book was an okay read. I liked the plot and thought it started off strong and had really great potential. I enjoyed Laila and James' reunion. You could tell that despite the hard feelings, the chemistry was still there. I liked the push and pull between the two main characters, however, I will admit that I didn't really care for James. There was just something about him that rubbed me the wrong way. And I won't lie, I was hoping that this story would have a more royal flare to it. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely royals in this story, but since they weren't main characters, I was left wanting more.

Overall, I think this book will be a hit for some and a miss for others. For me, it was just okay.

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I liked this! I read other books in this series and they went from being excellent to a dud. This one was quite good.

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James Hunter's new assignment is to work as a protection officer to Prince Magnus of Norway. He is reunited with Laila Bruset, the nanny. James and Laila's have history together. They used to work for the same royal family, and they started secretly hooking up. When Laila began to develop feelings for James, he dumped her. Now that they are forced to work together, Laila has to avoid making the same mistakes again.

This book was all telling and no showing. James acts like a child and can't handle any emotions. The choice to sandwich two sex scenes around a funeral was so weird and jarring. It was fun to read a contemporary romance book set in Norway, but the plot and characters were boring.

Content: dementia, death, sex

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4.5 Stars

Leila + James

A few years ago, when they both worked for the british royal family, they started a little affair. And it didn't end well.
And now they're working together again - this time for the norwegian royals.
Still hating each other - or rather Leila hating James for how things ended. Add two very diffucult children and the snowy remoteness of the estate ... it won't be easy to get to our happily ever after.

LET THE FUN TIMES BEGIN ....

══════════════════


That was adorable.
I loved the snowy locations and all the norwegian sights and sounds and tastes and all the things. We never get to go to Norway as romance readers. I loved it all.
And of course we remember Magnus!
And his mini-me Björn is just as fun and challenging.
And it's cute to see how Laila and James are fighting against and for that happy end.
Cute royal-adjacent romance.
Would love to see it on TV one day.

THE ROYALS UPSTAIRS was a sweet + funny + sparky + sexy love story in a beautiful snowy setting. Run to your nearest book dealer for your own James - this one is MINE!!

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Overall, I liked the premise. The idea that they were stuck together in a remote job was appealing. I liked the main characters as well. Both were likeable and I could understand how their past struggles were causing problems for them now. However, I felt like the book dragged in the middle and the pacing felt a bit off. I wasn't sure exactly where the issue was exactly but it made it hard to continue to the end. However, I would still recommend this to people looking for a fun romance because overall the idea of royal staff in a winter locale felt creative and enjoyable.

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The Royals Upstairs
By Karina Halle
Laila Bruset has taken a job as the royal nanny for the Norwegian royal children in order to be closer to her ailing grandmother. This wasn’t her first royal nanny gig but her original job didn’t end well because of an affair with the royal bodyguard, James Hunter. She thought they were headed for a happily ever after but when James panics the heartbreak sends her running to the new position.
James can’t forget Laila and their previous relationship but he has no clue where she went. When he is offered a job as royal bodyguard to Prince Magnus of Norway he jumps at the chance to start anew. But James has made a tactical error. Little did he know that Laila was working for the same royals!
The sparks fly when the two meet again and tension is high. Can James win her trust again, much less her love? With a bit of matchmaking from the household staff, not to mention the royals themselves, Laila and James grow closer but can they ever trust each other completely?

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I love a lot of books by Karina halle, but this one kind of fell flat for me. I was excited to see some of the characters from the Royals series (which I LOVE) but it wasn't the same without them as main characters. Laila and James were ok, and had some good chemistry, but I just wasn't able to get into this book.

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I’ve been waiting for this book ever since The Royals Next Door! This one was equally fun and with Halle’s signature sexyness. Loved the unique northern setting as well! Royal fans will be so pleased.

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I really enjoyed this one! I loved the tension between Laila and James. It was so much fun how they were trying to fight their past with each other. I loved how both of them put their jobs so important in their lives. It created so much different types of drama and issues. Marcus was hilarious and I loved how encouraging and supportive of the two he was.

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I loved this book and the characters. The Royal Nanny and The Royal bodyguard sign me up. Truly a page turner for me. I love Karina’s book and this didn’t disappoint.

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