Book Review – Paper Princess by Erin Watt

by Maryse on April 8, 2016 · 23 comments

in My Book Reviews

Paper Princess: A Novel (The Royals Book 1)

<— 4.5 STARS for this one!!!

All of the angsty/bully/bad-boy/Cinderella-story/OH-NO-HE-DIDN’T moments an unconventional romance loving girl could ever hope for! Oh my my my, my friends… this was SO fun. In fact, “cliffhanger ending” or not, if book #2 was out right now, I’d already be reading it. And now looking over my favorite parts, and my notes, I pretty much highlighted the whole thing! LOL!!!

I mean it’s not out-of-your-mind crazy or totally shocking-forbidden (even though it does have a few forbidden-y touches for sure). It’s just… this is the kind of series that gives you all of the guilty-pleasure thrills and furious-feels. From the witty, feisty heroine, to the brooding and and downright bully-ish brothers that she’s now stuck with, you will be hooked right from the start, and you’ll want to read it straight through.

OMG I embarrass myself sometimes. :P My “reactions” while reading “Paper Princess” by Erin Watt (aka Elle Kennedy & Jen Frederick) YUP!!! They wrote it!

Marina: Paper Princess…. wow. Could not put it down and focus on anything else. Cristina, I agree it did remind me of Fallen Crest High. I only read the first but definitely. Also of Corrupt in a way. Without the raw and creepy factor. Maybe it’s the brothers or posse thing. I think I need a discussion link! Maryse, can’t wait to hear what you thought! I truly dislike cliffhangers and avoid books with them, but for me it was worth the read.

Maryse: I’m kind of excited for the cliffy. I hope it hurts!!!

Ela: SMH at Maryse! Why would you do that to yourself, boggles the mind, I say!

bev: I’m with Maryse, I want to read it. CH and all.

Maryse: I like book pain Ela. I mean REALLY HARD. LOL!!!! Books are wayyyyyy too easy on me these days. ;)

Cristina: Maryse I LOVE book pain too!!! I want it to chew me up, spit me out, and then put me back together!! FINALLY Paper Princess, Kindle version, is live!! Yes!!! I’m on it tonight!! I’m just worried about a cliffhanger, but I really need the feels right now!!!

Grey: I will read CHs if they are really good…and I feel I can trust the author to come back.

Amy: Does anyone know how bad the CH is in Paper Princess? Like, does it just set things up for the next book or is it a scream-at-my-iPad CH? I really want to give PP a shot because it sounds SO good, but after the season finale of Walking Dead (STILL furious over that) I’m going to lose my sh!t if I run into another horrid CH…

Maryse: It’s umm… ummmmmmmm…. a little of both, Amy. I dunno, you’ll definitely have a love/hate relationship with it (and the book as a whole), and by what I know of your book-tastes, it just might be right up your alley. Tee hee!!

Chelli: Just started it!! It has a very Fallen Crest feel to it and I loved loved loved that series

Kelly: Less than a 1/4 way through and am really liking it. So far it has a bit of a Corrupt feel with ruling the school.

Kelly: So finished and not like Corrupt at all. Loved it!

Kim: OMG!!!! I finished the Paper Princess last night LOVED LOVED LOVED it

Anjanette: It was great they knocked it out of the park !!!

Barbara: I love this book! About half way thru and it’s awesome!

Meagan: Looks good! Is there romance in it?

Maryse: Yes!! :D

Loretta: I finished The Paper Princess on my lunch break today and I Loved it!!! Already pre-ordered #2. Since you loved this one, you will definitely love Fallen Crest High!!!!

Cristina: I finished Paper Princess! Very reminiscent of Fallen Crest, which means of course I loved it! Warning: The CH is a doozie!! The next book is a continuation of the story. One thing about these types of series is that usually the second book is twice as good as the first! I won’t give any details as to not spoil anything for anyone. I almost didn’t want to include the CH detail, but for those of you out there who are worried I wanted to forewarn you. It is a pretty awesome story though! Even though I hate CH’s, I’m really glad I read this one, it’s just what I needed right now. It makes me want to re-read Fallen Crest! However, July seems like forever away. What other series are similar to these?  ;-)

Sali: I just finished Paper Princess Maryse!!!!! I freakin loved it!!!! Now I’m in a funk & don’t know what to read!!!!!!

Rebecca: Loved this!! Can’t wait for the next book, grrrrr!

I know it!!

So what’s it about?

Seventeen year old Ella has been raised by her single mom (who was a stripper and catered to various… men, as needed, to get by), but when her mom dies, Ella did what she had to do to keep herself from entering the “system”. She gets herself a fake ID, works multiple jobs including stripping to continue paying her bills,

There aren’t many jobs a seventeen-year-old can actually do part time and still pay the bills. And none of them are legal. Run drugs. Turn tricks. Strip. I chose the last one.

…forges letters “signed by her mom” for school purposes and does everything she can to remain independent and most of all… free.

I forged it to maintain control over my own life. Even though I’m a minor, I’ve had to be the adult in my family since the age of fifteen.

That is until a man (“Callum Royal”) shows up at her high school, claiming to be her new guardian (and her recently deceased biological father’s best friend) and does what he needs to do (legally) to take her into his family.

“…you’re not alone anymore, Ella. You’re a Royal now.”

She was AGHAST!!!!

“The catch is that you don’t fight. You don’t try to run away. You accept my guardianship. You live in my home. You treat my sons as your brothers. If you do that, you can have the life you’ve dreamed of.” He pauses. “The life Steve would have wanted you to have.”

“And what do I have to do for you?” I need the terms spelled out exactly.

Callum’s eyes widen and his face takes on a green cast. “Nothing for me. You’re a very pretty girl, Ella, but you are a girl and I’m a forty-two-year-old man with five sons. Rest assured, I have an attractive girlfriend who meets my every need.”

Sure, she was entering a millionaire’s home and lifestyle and had unlimited access to decadence.

“You…” My voice hitches. “You live here?”

We live here,” he corrects. “This is your home now, too, Ella.”

This will never be my home. I don’t belong in splendor, I belong in squalor. That’s what I know. It’s what I’m comfortable with, because squalor doesn’t lie to you. It’s not wrapped in a pretty package. It is what it is.

This house is an illusion. It’s polished and pretty, but the dream Callum is trying to sell is as flimsy as paper. Nothing stays shiny forever in this world.

But OMG did he not do her a favor by sticking her with his FIVE gorgeous but spoiled, indulgent, bossy, bullying and demeaning, player-like sons.

The Royal boys are not what I expected. They don’t look like rich pricks in preppy clothes. They look like terrifying thugs who can snap me like a twig.

Each one is as big as his father, easily six feet tall, and with varying degrees of muscle— the two on the right are leaner, the two on the left are broad-shouldered with sculpted arms. They must be athletes. Nobody is that ripped without working hard for it, bleeding and sweating for it.

I’m nervous now, because nobody has said a word.

AND their entourage. Somebody (probably her new resentful brothers) sure spread the word on her “past” and her wealthy, snobby high school “frenemies” were something to behold! She had her work cut out for her.

Of course, while she has insecurities and moments of shame, she stands up to adversity, even if it tries (and sometimes succeeds) to completely take over her. And, well… other than the “being taken into a HUGELY wealthy family when you’ve been living poor all your life” aspect, we’ve all been there in various ways. I totally “got” her and I’m sure you’ll be able to relate to her. She knows what she wants, she doesn’t cast blame despite her difficult childhood (more fond memories than not) and she’ll do what it takes and take what she can, for her independence and freedom.

Mind you, she does make a few friends (great relief in that!), that have similar situations to hers…

“Why are we leaving our little haven?”

“To see and be seen,” I answer honestly.

“Ugh. Sounds terrible.”

“I never said it wasn’t.”

…and it kept the “feel” of her story very upbeat and fun, despite the mean girl (and bully) challenges.

“This school will eat you up if you’re weak, so my suggestion is to take advantage of everything the Royal name offers you, even if it means taking it by force.”

There’s more to ALL of their stories, and this was just part 1. As she (and WE) get to know these new brothers of hers, you will feel everything (good and bad) that she does, and they just make this story addictive.

A chill runs through me. He’s the one to worry about. He’s the one I need to watch out for.

And he’s the only one who tilts his head toward me in a calculated slant. As our gazes lock, my heart beats a little bit faster. Out of fear. Maybe under different circumstances, my heart would be pounding for another reason. Because he’s gorgeous. They all are.

But this one scares me, and I work hard to hide the response.

You will want to *ahem* j*nk-punch them *snort* :P , and you will want to cuddle them. I’ll let you find out who… and why. ;)

Her story will have you excited to be reading it, anticipating what’s going to happen next, let alone… how this one will end. And OMG gut-punch fantasticalness! GAH!!

When I dreamed of my future, it didn’t include limos and mansions and mean girls and designer labels. The pendulum of my life has swung too far in the opposite direction.

“Cliffhanger ending?!!” you ask! *gasp!!!* Yep. Oh boy yes, but it only makes me excited for more. It’s almost a… “next stage” entry to book #2, and, I dunno. It just seems to fit, ya know? I like that the authors “went there” ’cause well… with the kind of “ugly-but-awesome” start this book had, I wasn’t ready for a pretty bow just yet. ;)

And yes… this book, by way of “feel”, definitely reminds me of a few of my favorites. I’ll go there, but only because this one is completely it’s own story, even with these “similar feels”. And also, if you’re looking for more like “this”, these will be great “feel-continations” (LOL!!). Ahhhh the words I use when blogging. It’s “blog-speak”. *snort* Okay so:

  • TO ME… it has a Beautiful Disaster feel (by way of the bad-ass, hot brothers – even twins!, and their invincible reputations and great respect from their peers… and their own personal struggles – you’ll see – but definitely hooked me, since I’m in love with book-guys like this).
  • It even has an … ummm… “adult” feel of the Princess Diaries. You know… when she arrives into complete luxury and is expected to “be” a certain way in this new world. While her new family is not officially “Royal”, they ARE in their world, and of course, the last name certainly helps. ;) But this one is MUCH grittier, of course. ;) And of course… by Princess Diaries, I mean Princess Diaries meets “Mean Girls”. BIG TIME.
  • And while I haven’t read the “Fallen Crest High” series yet, SO many of my reading buddies have, and LOVED it like crazy and are certainly saying if you want more like this, THAT series will help!
There’s so much more to these characters than what we’ve learned so far, but it has already taken me full circle (satisfyingly so), and I want more! And may I say THANK YOU SO MUCH for making this one completely from her POV. It kept the mystery going in regards to her entourage and her brothers (which I LOVED!!) and had the stomach-butterflies swirling constantly. I LOVED only “being her“.

“You’re poking a tiger.”

I shrug. “He poked me first.”

Callum shakes his head. “And I thought raising five boys was an adventure. I haven’t seen anything yet, have I?”

Tee hee!!! Can we get the next one early, guys? Please? LOL!!!

4.5 stars!

P.S. Here’s The Royals Series Reading Order (and upcoming release dates)

P.P.S. Thank you for this review copy. It was exactly what I was in the mood for.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Kandace M April 8, 2016 at 4:41 PM

Gah. You’re making me want to read this now. I am trying to hold off so I can binge read the series back to back!

Maryse April 8, 2016 at 5:43 PM

LOL! It will be a long wait, my friend. This cliffhanger is a big one, but it was worth the journey. ;)

Cheryl April 8, 2016 at 7:12 PM

Love the video Maryse. Almost tempts me to read it before book 2 and 3 are released!! ;)

Maryse April 8, 2016 at 7:23 PM


I was having a good time with this book, that’s for sure. ;)

Jennifer April 8, 2016 at 10:45 PM

What Kandace said!! Really making me want to read this! Thanks for the review!

marina April 8, 2016 at 11:06 PM

Maryse!!!! Great review and agree with all! I so wanted to discuss predictions… Next one in July right? If u get it early u must review early!! Loved it!!

bev April 9, 2016 at 9:41 AM

Just 30% in but having fun.
I like that Ella I’d tough but open and even hopeful.
One little complaint would be how attractive she finds him even with how he treats her.

Pamela April 9, 2016 at 9:47 AM

I absolutely loved it. I love how she defends herself after each ahole move from everyone else. Can’t wait for the next one.

bev April 9, 2016 at 11:07 AM

The twin thing. If it is what she is thinking that is not funny. Makes me think less of Ella a whole lot less. And surprised these two author would think so.
Maybe I read it wrong???

Maryse April 9, 2016 at 12:24 PM

I’m curious… bev. I’ll let you keep reading.


Fabi April 9, 2016 at 12:52 PM

Great review! I’ll be on the edge of my seat waiting for the complete series. Sounds so awesome!

bev April 9, 2016 at 3:31 PM

Ella & Savanah have been knocked down a couple pegs. Even if the twin thing is a thing I’m not sure she knew it then.
Besides that it was a fun Saturday morning read. I did have some problems with it. I wish everything didn’t happen so fast. I wanted to see more of her bakery & school life.
I’m going to do this just to be safe.

Certain changes happened too fast for me. There was no middle. I felt like we were told but not shown.
I could see why they should like Ella, because we were in her head. Really liked how determined, pragmatic but hopeful she was. But I never, to me, saw enough scenes for them to get over their judgements & biases to see that. Or why she likes them. Anyway I think the end would have more of a punch then.
I kind of hope that the next part means that it has to slow down.

Melinda April 10, 2016 at 3:42 AM

Maryse when do they think book 2 and book 3 will be released. I’m so impatient. I just started and it’s good so far.

Maryse April 10, 2016 at 10:30 AM

Hi Melinda!

Here is the series reading order and it includes the release dates:

I hope that helps! :D

Celeste April 11, 2016 at 2:49 AM

I agree a lot with what Bev said. Don’t get me wrong, I devoured this book, it was highly entertaining, I just don’t think it was a work of art or something that’ll go on one of my top ten lists. (Not like I have any of those, but…)
This was what I consider to be a great pool- side read. But the instalove/lust thing is so cliche if it’s not backed up with enough development – in my opinion. I didn’t feel much emotional attachment or investment really, mostly just curiosity at how things were going to play out.
Having said that, of course I’ll read the next installment, because that cliffhanger…

DG April 11, 2016 at 5:31 PM

Maryse, this vaguely reminds me of something….and I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the book! YA/NA where girl goes to live with maybe father/stepmom or godmother and transfers to a prep school like Jr./Sr. year. Starts out like a bully book…..its details are teasing the outer edges of my brain!!!

Fabi April 11, 2016 at 6:17 PM

DG are you thinking of Fallen Crest?

Tessa April 11, 2016 at 10:04 PM

It’s very Fallen Crest like. That’s probably one of the reasons I loved it. That CH though, that made me grin big time. Yeah, a weird reaction but that should take a lot to get through.

DG April 11, 2016 at 10:23 PM

Again, similar but not Fallen Crest. From what I remember the grandmother comes to “save” her when something happens to her parent(s). The grandmother is rich where as the girl was not. She is set up in the pool house maybe instead of the big house to give her privacy and to adjust? And she is then enrolled in a rich kid prep school where she is bullied…..this WILL drive me crazy until I figure it out!

DG April 11, 2016 at 10:29 PM

OH! OH! I found it! Thank you Goodreads! It was Make Me by Amanda Heath. And thanks Fabi and Tessa for reminding me it was similar to Fallen Crest (which was what I searched …books similar to Fallen Crest).

Maryse April 12, 2016 at 11:26 AM

DG!! I’ve been asked to make a “What to Read After Paper Princess” list, and I’m gonna add the one you’ve just remembered. YAY!!!

DG April 12, 2016 at 11:54 AM

Maryse!!! So I like decided to reread Make Me because it was sooo on my mind…and discovered that there is a series I was not even aware of!!!! So now I have to check those out as well!!!! Yay me!!!

Lindsay July 24, 2016 at 8:27 PM

I can’t wait to read this series–when it’s complete. My nerves can’t handle a cliffy

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