Review: CRUEL PRINCE (Royal Hearts Academy #1) by Ashley Jade

Author: Ashley Jade
Genre: High School Bully Romance
Mature YA/NA Romance
Series: Royal Hearts Academy #1

Royal Hearts Academy is a New Adult/High School series of standalones filled with drama, a touch of angst, and boys who are bad to the bone.

Welcome to their kingdom...

I never thought I'd step foot in Royal Manor again. 
But four years later, here I am...back to finish my senior year at Royal Hearts Academy.

And forced to face Jace Covington. 

My first friend. First crush. First kiss. 
The one I left behind.

Only—he isn't the same boy I gave my heart to.

This new Jace is as cruel as he is gorgeous.
And he's determined to make my life a living hell. 
Along with the rest of his glorified family and crew of tyrants.

They expect me to worship the ground they walk on like everyone else, but I'd rather eat dirt.

If Jace Covington wants me gone...he'll have to try harder. 
Because I've never been the kind of girl to play by the rules.

This series is recommended for mature readers due to graphic language and sexual content.

Teaser credits for this post: Google and Author's FB page

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This is my first book by this author and it will not be my last.  I clicked on the book because I thought the cover was smoking hot and then read the blurb thinking it would be like all of the other high school bully romances out there - it wasn’t. There was a fair amount of angst, a few humorous antics (mostly involving Oakley!) interspersed throughout the chapters, as well as some rather steamy scenes.  The book is told from the dual POV’s of Dylan and Jace and I really like how the author illustrated their earlier friendship by telling the flashbacks from Dylan’s POV.  

Jace and Dylan were best friends when Dylan’s family suddenly moves away.  A few years later, it is senior year at Royal Hearts Academy and Dylan finds herself back in her hometown.  Excited to be reunited with Jace, she discovers that he is no longer that caring best friend, but rather someone who now loathes her.  It is Jace’s mission to make her miserable and run her out of town and Dylan has no idea why. 

Jace Covington is a bully, but he wasn’t what I expected. He is a complex character and I couldn’t help but love him. He is a loving big brother who seems to have taken the weight of the world on his shoulders as he strives to look out for his family.  There is frustration and resentment when it comes to his father, guilt in other areas of his life, and then that hatred-attraction he has for Dylan.  He has led a tough life full of guilt and sadness and it was a lie is what destroyed his friendship with Dylan.  My heart broke many times over for him. So while I wanted to at times shake him for his actions towards Dylan and believing the lie, I also wanted to wrap him up in a big hug.

Dylan is a likable heroine.  She too has persevered in the face of all the bad things that happened to her.  I really felt for her because she couldn’t get the support from her former best friend anymore.  The one person who got her and was her rock.  Her sarcastic wit was entertaining and I like how strong and resilient she was.  

Cruel Prince has a great cast of characters.  Both Jace and Dylan are likable, well developed characters who mature throughout the book.  Her cousin, Oakley is both funny and endearing with a serious side as well.  Sawyer, is the ultimate friend.  The you have Jace’s siblings and I cannot wait for their books!  Additionally, this author incorporates some tough subject matter with great sensitivity.  Overall, I enjoyed this book.  It wasn’t your typical bully romance and I loved the characters.  The plot was good and moved at a good pace.