REVIEW: The Way to a Man’s Heart – Ann Marie James

The Way to a Man's Heart - Ann Marie James

Genre: Contemporary

LGBTQ+ Category: Gay

Reviewer: Xanthe, Paranormal Romance Guild

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About The Book

Book one in the Kingdom of Corazón series

The heart wants what the heart wants…

Christian Diaz grew up as the best friend and unofficial bodyguard to the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Corazón. After an incident left him questioning his place in the castle, Christian joined the military and didn’t return for ten long years.

Now he’s been assigned to the castle as Royal Military Liaison to investigate the source of some recent threats against the crown. The annual Midsummer’s Ball is the perfect place for the anti-monarchy group to make their next move, so that’s where Christian will be too. If it gives him a chance to reconnect with his friends in the castle and make a play for the man he has compared all others to, it’s even better.

Max Ramirez is now the head chef for the castle. He started as a sous chef at age twenty when Christian was just an awkward teen. Now that Christian’s back at the castle, all grown up and interested in Max, the chef is determined not to let an opportunity with Christian pass him by.

When someone tries to sabotage the Midsummer’s Ball, Max and Christian need to work together to track down the people determined to make this event their last.

The Review

The Way to a Man’s Heart is my first read from Anne Marie Jame,s and has several things that I enjoyed about it.

The plot of the story sees Christian return to the castle that he grew up in, where he used to play with Prince Sebastian. He’s now there to work and look into the recent threats against the crown and on his first night back, an attempt is made to bring something into the castle. This is discovered by Max, the head chef who was Christian’s crush before he left ten years previously. The two quickly get reacquainted, developing something that they had both hoped for before Christian’s departure.

Alongside the threats to the royal family and the romantic relationship is the friendships among those who live and work at the castle. There are quite a few entertaining characters, including the royal family, but the negative one comes in the form of Christian’s relationship with his father as well as the secrecy surrounding the reason as to why he left for the military so suddenly.

I enjoyed most aspects of this story. But I think the biggest thing that held it back for me was the length of the book. If it was longer, then all aspects would have had the chance to be more developed and rounded. As it is, both the plot and the romance felt rushed.

In the space of three days, which is the length of the book, Christian and Max go from not seeing each other for years to being together forever, bearing in mind there was never a hint of anything before he left. This can feel like a natural evolution when well written and they are constantly around each other, but when they barely spend time together it didn’t feel like it had the chance to become so deep, so quickly.

The investigation that Christian is running quickly moves forward but again, felt unfinished in that the reader isn’t present for all of the important bits. Christian finishes his day, going home to Max, clearly exhausted but we don’t know why so I felt as though I was missing bits of information.

I did enjoy all of the characters involved, even the bad ones. The friendships among them really came across, especially between those that had spent their childhoods together. The royal family come across very well, approachable and friendly to staff as well as easy to work with.

Very much a mixed review for me and I’m hoping that book two will be expanded to give readers the chance to know the characters better and get more involved with the plot. I’m hoping for more from Ryan and Sebastian after the teasers we get in this book.

A trigger warning – there is mention of attempted rape of a male after being given a drug but it is a retelling of a memory and no clothing was removed.

The Reviewer

Hello all, my name is Xanthe and I am excited to be a reviewer for the PRG.

I read a lot, every night for at least 4-5 hours and I love to get lost in the world that an author has created. The best ones leave you wanting more and at a loss for words to describe just how good it is but I’ll try my best.

I live in a small town in South West England, just me and my dog Bonnie. I work part time in administration and really enjoy my job and the people I work with which I am very aware is not always the case!

I’ll read pretty much any sub genre within the mm genre. Since discovering it a few years ago, I rarely read anything else. One thing I won’t touch is horror, a definite no no for me!

Never ask me what my favourite anything is as I’ll have to give you a list of about ten or twenty things. How am I able to pick one food, book or film out of so many that I love?!

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