Read Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen Online

just-ella

Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are farAriella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she'd imagined....

Title : Just Ella
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 18333966
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 300 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Just Ella Reviews

  • Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
    2019-04-26 07:00

    Kindle freebie romance 2/21/16 -- and this one's a winner!This is a YA romance novel about a princess trying to find her own place in life, delightful if you like this genre. It's a fantasy in the sense that it's in an imaginary kingdom, but there's no magic or unicorns or suchlike.Ariella, the title character, is a young princess who's frustrated by all the rules and restrictions in her life, as well as by the arrogant prince of a neighboring kingdom who's trying to push her into marriage. When Ella develops a friendship -- and then a relationship -- with a handsome palace gardener, it creates a scandal.I don't want to oversell this: you definitely have to be in the mood for a straight-up, kind of fluffy, escapist princessy romance, complete with stolen kisses, longing looks and anguished sighs. But there is a rather interesting subplot with the arrogant prince, if occasionally a little far-fetched (view spoiler)[seriously, no way would William, the guy who the prince had staging the kidnapping incident, be hanging around later where Ella could get a good look at his face (hide spoiler)]. It was a cute, fun read, with a worthwhile underlying message.A sweet coming of age novel for teenage girls, and perhaps also for some of us older ladies who still like to imagine ourselves as princesses once in a while. :)

  • Kathy
    2019-05-02 02:27

    AWESOME!! LOVED THIS ONE!!Once in a while I come across a book that I fall in love with. That happened yesterday.I got an email from Amazon a couple days ago with a "recommended" book - Just Ella by Annette K. Larsen. I looked at the cover and summary and was intrigued by it. It sounded right up my alley. I spent a while perusing the author's website and fell in love with the author before even starting this book.Read these paragraphs from her bio and tell me she isn't the perfect match for the types of books I love to read:I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I write clean romance. Why? Because that's what I love to read, but over the years I've discovered it's quite a challenge to find good clean romance. I believe it's a genre that many people are looking for and too few authors are writing. My first novel, Just Ella, took me many years to write because I wanted it to be more than just a cutesy love story. I wanted it to have depth, to feel genuine. Hopefully I succeeded, but you'll have to be the judge. I just spent the day yesterday reading her book Just Ella. The kids had freezer burritos for dinner and chores went undone because this was one of those rare books where I just had to finish reading before doing anything else.I help authors promote a lot of different books. Typically they come to me asking for help. But every so often I read a book and decide I am going help promote a book just because I want to. That was the case with The Reluctant Bachelorette by Rachael Anderson. That will be the case with this book. I'll be pushing it because it deserves some attention.So treat yourself to something wonderful.  The author spent 7 years writing this book and it shows.  It's awesome!!I'm a lover of cheesy romance but there is no cheese in this book. Seriously the author achieved her goal of writing something more than a cutesy love story.  She has written an amazing book that has it all without anything inappropriate (no sex, no language not even any real innuendo or violence - it is squeaky clean and yet so romantic & wonderful).  You can't go wrong with this one.Grab your copy for $4.99 on Amazon.  It's definitely worth the splurge!If you have Prime you can borrow it for FREE!Add it to your Goodreads Shelf now!!  Rating: 5 Stars - I Loved It & Recommend It to EVERYONE!Content: Squeaky CleanSource: Review copyPurchase: Amazon Kindle * Paperback

  • Kathy * Bookworm Nation
    2019-05-10 07:22

    This was a pleasant surprise. For some reason I didn’t have the highest expectation going into it. I think part of it was that I didn’t love the cover. I probably would have put off reading it for awhile if I hadn’t read the great reviews (especially Chrissy’s). I guess I’m a cover snob and I gravitate to the books with awesome covers (which doesn’t always mean you’ll get an awesome book. Unfortunately.) Ariella was a great heroine. I really liked her. The book opens when she is fifteen and I thought the author did a good job portraying her at that age and especially how her relationship with Gavin grows from friendship to young love. Very believable. I liked that the book takes place over a few years and we get to see the changes Ariella goes through and how she handles struggles. I like that she wanted to do the right thing and was willing to make hard choices, if it meant doing the right thing. Again, I really liked her character. I also liked Gavin. He was a sweetheart. I thought they had good chemistry and I was rooting for them. I wasn’t sure how things were going to play out, they come from different worlds and obviously won’t have the support of her family. There was another character introduced towards the end that I actually loved (view spoiler)[ William(hide spoiler)], I think he is more my “type” and almost started rooting for him, but I was still on Team Gavin. I was happy with how everything eventually works out. Anyway, I love high fantasy novels that have a princess as our leading lady. Not sure why, but it’s just a great setting. The book kind of reminded me of Seer and the Sword and Queen in Exile, although this book focused more on Ariella’s self discovery, and not too much court intrigue. Maybe since I had those other books in the back of my head I expected this to be similar in action/intrigue, and did keep expecting something to happen, but for the most part it’s just a nice story. There is some excitement thrown in though and I thought that made the story fun. I think it’s one I would probably enjoy even more the next time around, knowing what to expect. The writing was well done and the characters likable. I look forward to reading about Areilla’s sister Lylin in the next book. Hope it comes out soon. I did have a few unanswered questions at the end. For example, (view spoiler)[ throughout the novel Gavin has been a gardener for the royal family. He believes in hard work and would have a hard time being idle. So, when the end comes and they marry I was left wondering what he would do now. Same for Ariella, throughout the book she is always looking for a purpose and wants to do more with her life. So, I was just wondering what they will do with themselves now that they are married and she is no longer in the running for queen. Oh, I just have to add, how did she NOT know that her parents expected her to be queen. It seemed obvious to me and you’d think based on things she overheard and the special tutoring sessions with her dad she would have realized that. Made her seem a little less bright.(hide spoiler)]Overall, a fun read and one I would recommend. Can’t wait to read more from Ms. Larsen.Content: Clean.

  • Chrissy
    2019-04-30 01:18

    LOVED it!! I could not put this book down! I stayed up too late reading it and then got up this morning and re-read the end. It was SO GOOD!! The romance was so real and part way through my heart was breaking for both of them but then the end...it was perfect. This is a clean romance that I will let my girls read when they are teenagers but it was great for me too. I was worried when the main character started out so young (15) but this book spanned for a few years.Now I am off to stalk this author and find out when her next book comes out...

  • Robyn
    2019-05-14 00:04

    For me, this read was the rare ignore my kids and stay up late reading kind of story. First of all, it's clean. It's a lovely, romantic story where you feel butterflies in your stomach because it's so cute, not because the "romance" has gone too far. The characters have real feelings but put them in perspective with real life. Also, the book has some twists in it and is not completely predictable. I felt like I had something figured out and then I was wrong. This happened several times, which made it so much more fun.The writing was unique and enjoyable to read as well. There were several times when I wanted to re-read a paragraph because it was written in a neat way or because the characters were being particularly interesting. Even the characters you don't love are fun to read.The only bad thing about this book was that I bought the kindle version so I can't pass my book around to everyone! I will definitely be getting the book version soon.I would highly recommend this book to teenagers and adults alike!

  • N.N. Light
    2019-05-11 08:03

    Just Ella was just FANTASTIC!!!! I had no expectations as this was a freebie years ago. I loved the cover and 1-clicked it without even reading the blurb. So when I started reading, I didn't even know what the story was about. Imagine you're a princess and in need of an escape from the palace life. Now imagine you meet a boy who likes you for you, not because you're the princess. He shows you what real life is like and you fall in love. This is the premise behind Just Ella and it is such a delightful YA romance. Highly recommend!My Rating: 5 stars

  • Aimee (Getting Your Read On)
    2019-04-27 08:03

    I am squeezing in a review for this book because I just loved it. It was a book I picked up because I heard some awesome things about it from people I trust with book recommendations. I got a little ahead in my review reading and jumped right into this book because I was so excited. I picked it up for free because of my Amazon Prime membership which was SO happy! Although, this is a book I'd actually like to have on my shelves forever.Clean romance is one of my very favorite genres. This book is so well written it felt just perfect. Honest. I loved it from beginning to end. Ariella is intelligent and sweet. She longs for adventure and distraction from her royal obligations. Ella longs for friends and those personal connections that a royal life separates her from. When she meets Gavin in the gardens, she is filled with excitement. Their friendship grows and Ella finds herself longing for more of the life she simply cannot have.One of my favorite things about Ella is her determination to protect Gavin. She is willing to sacrifice her happiness for his well being and safety and even his happiness. The next thing I love about Ella is her determination to be friendly with the servants and staff of the castle and also to become part of her community. She pushes against the binding constraints to form relationships with people, to let them know she cares. It really endeared Ella to me.This is a book I can 100% recommend to anyone. It is clean and sweet and just an all around fantastic, romantic read. My daughter is going to LOVE this book. LOVE.

  • Tito
    2019-05-07 06:21

    Meh. The writing didn't blow me away, and the plot wasn't as exciting as I thought it would be.

  • Courtney Long
    2019-05-23 00:25

    1 starI'm SO confused how this book has such high ratings on Goodreads. Seriously, if you filter the ratings, only 4% of readers gave this book a 2 or 1 star. It only has 14 1 star reviews. HOW? This book lacks a logical plot, well-developed characters or a compelling romance. It's not like I'm holding this book to unrealistic standards, either. I knew what I was getting in to. It's a self-pubbed, clean romance about a princess who falls in love with a commoner, despite their differences in station. I wasn't expecting a prize-winning novel here, just some fluffy royalty romance that would leaving me smiling. I wanted cotton candy reading and just got a boring book, instead.Our heroine, Princess Ariella (or, as she prefers, just Ella. Get it? It's the name of the book. She's so down to earth!) is completely isolated from her family for no real reason. We know she's ~different~ from her more vain sisters, but we're never really given a reason why. Like, it's kind of hinted at that she likes to read, but we don't even see her doing that much reading. We're just told she's different and special. If this was a YA novel, she'd be the secretly beautiful tea-drinking loner and her sisters would all be slutty cheerleaders.One day, as Ella does her normal moping-around-the-castle-thinking-about-how-different-she-is, she meets a handsome gardener named Gavin. Gavin is also so ~different~ because he refuses to see Ella by the confines of her royalty. Of course, that's the only thing we know about Gavin because he, like all the other characters in this book, has no personality beyond his relationship to our heroine. I literally couldn't tell you what he likes to do in his free time, what his relationship with his family is, or anything like that. His hobbies appear to me gardening, falling in love with Princesses and skulking around "protecting" said princesses. Of course, the two fall in love before they're separated by Ella's family. Love is a really generous word here. Ella falls for Gavin because he doesn't treat her like a princess, and Gavin falls in love with Ella because...I'm not sure. I guess because she's ~different~ - do you see a theme here? The romance is so bland. There's no spark or chemistry between the two. I felt no joy or warm fuzzyies when they finally declare for one another. It's just .... yawn.Speaking of bland, the rest of the supporting characters aren't much better. Everyone is very black and white, good or evil. No shades of gray in this world. I particularly hate what Larsen does to Ella's family. For someone who grew up with 6 siblings, she can't write sibling dynamics at all. None of the sisters have much of a personality or even seem to care for one another. I could understand if it was established that they were brought up to be this way, but the book paints a happy family picture of parents who try to be understanding and loving. One sister is written as a straight up beyotch that, again, feels more like a bad-YA high school villain than an actual sister. And then there's the plot. This is one of those books where there's a VERY EASY solution to the central problem that our heroine refuses to take for no particular reason (view spoiler)[Like, she even hears her Dad question Prince Jeshua about whether Ella loves him or not. Sure, he seems to believe Jeshua when he lies and says Ella is affectionate toward him and accepts the proposal, but clearly he's not an evil father who's going to force Ella to do something she doesn't want. She could have just gone and told him that Jeshua was often touching her inappropriately and that she couldn't stand him. (hide spoiler)] Her whole reasoning for not taking that solution is because she was sneaking about and wasn't suppose to hear the conversation, but still, there's a very easy way to share the truth without even referencing the conversation. Larsen has even established that she's comfortable talking to her Dad, so it's not like she's afraid or unaccustomed to speaking with him. It's just lazy writing, a way to create conflict for conflict's sake. This is just not a good book, even when you're looking for some mindless fluff. I really only finished it because I got it for Christmas, and I almost always finish books I actually own. Lazy plot building, a tepid romance and characters that make me want to scream forced me to drop this one in disgust more than once. Don't believe the hype. Pick up another cheesy romance instead.

  • Deborah
    2019-05-09 08:20

    Oh my. That is what keeps popping in my head. Oh my. It was just soooo good. I have wanted a great book like this for a while and it was worth the wait.The beginning was a little slow for me and I was questioning whether or not I was going to "fall" for this one. Well, the minute she was caught after the dance(for those of you who have read it, know what I am talking about and for those who haven't then enjoy the bliss of reading it) the book exploded for me. The tension and relationship building between Ella and Gavin was captivating. There interactions were so good and at times I was holding my breath. Two words: water fall! It was just that kind of book that I love because it gives me the build up that I LOVE and yet keeps it clean and sweet. Ella and Gavin were an amazing couple that you fall hard for right away. I thought Ella was a great character. I loved how she looked at life and wanted to make a difference. I thought Gavin was a great gentleman that was a hard worker and took pride in it.My only complaint was that it ended kind of fast. But, I still really enjoyed the ending. It just wrapped it up in a pretty bow and that is how I like it. :)

  • Melissa
    2019-05-15 01:10

    This is unlike any fairy tale I have read. It's like Cinderella backwards. I loved it and will be devouring more by this author! What a fun book. I loved Ella who I immediately fell in love with and Gavin was just awesome! The writing was great! The story had great movement and a good build and wow what an ending! The love story was wonderful and tragic and so much fun to read. I just really enjoyed reading this book and will be buying a hard copy for my daughters and I to read again! Clean with some kissing, a little violence that is perfectly clean. 12 and up:} 9/7/14Read out loud to my daughters twin 13 year old's and 15 and 16 year old. They all liked it. My 16 year old said it was a little slow but she likes more action, but all the others loved it. Just Ella is one of the sweetest, cleanest love stories and we all ahhhed and laughed with the characters. I loved sharing this with them. We will be reading the second book Missing Lily now that is about Ella's sister and has Ella in it. My daughters are excited to hear more of what happens to this whole family.

  • Ami
    2019-05-12 00:04

    6 stars :) I loved it. What a beautiful love story. One of my top 3 favorite books for sure. If you loved Edenbrooke & Blackmoore, this is your next book.

  • Heather
    2019-05-14 03:08

    In her Author's Note, Annette K. Larsen mentions being influenced by Jane Eyre, and wanting to create heroines that have a moral compass. I myself couldn't agree more and feel very strongly that heroines such as Jane Eyre and Elizabeth Bennett, these are the characters who experience true romance. I'm so appreciative of authors that can create a story that sweeps me away in amorous enchantment and yet still remain squeaky clean. I can recommend this book to my 14-year-old daughter and still want to reread it again and again for myself. The writing was superb! The writing style and flow of the story reminded me of Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. I loved this story and never wanted it to end.

  • Tara
    2019-04-25 05:12

    If I could give this 6 stars, I would. :) I could not put it down! Such a sweet, clean story...with plenty romance, and a few semi-heart wrenching moments that had me (almost literally) clutching my heart! I actually found myself hoping my 2-month-old son, who just started sleeping through the night last week, would wake up for a feeding so I could justify reading in the middle of the night. I loved the story, fell in love with the characters, and did not want it to end! My only disappointment was finding out this is the author's only book out so far! Hope to read more from her in the (hopefully near) :) future!

  • Valerie Waters
    2019-04-30 03:11

    Awwww!!!! What a great story!!! Awww....I have needed a good book like this for awhile now. This book was so great. I did get a little annoyed about some of the modern day speech and customs but the book was so amazing I am willing to overlook that. Gavin. ahhh what a guy!!! I loved Ella too. They were the perfect couple. Thank you Kath for recommending this book!!!! Thank you Chrissy for loaning it to me!

  • Mimi
    2019-05-11 05:22

    I love fairytales. :)Ella is a princess who feels stifled in her role as princess. She wants to be useful instead of ornamental. This story is her journey towards finding a purpose, and finding love, of course. The dynamics of her relationships with her mother and father are interesting. I especially found the punishment her father chose (and its outcome) to be thought provoking. I found the philosophies of leadership interesting as well.I really liked that the heroine didn't think that her romance was the most important thing in her life. Sure, she loved someone, but laws, her family, her duty, his happiness, herself, etc. were all given more weight than her love. Sometimes I get tired of the "we'll find a way, and if we don't find one, then we'll force one" attitude.The book was clean. Oh, and the ebook version is only $4.99 on Amazon right now!This first excerpt is from the author's note at the end, and it expresses why I love this author's fairy tale:"After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what's right will always be worth it."The rest of the excerpts now are from the actual novel."Even if he didn't despise me for my station, he would no longer be comfortable conversing with me. I was a royal—a lazy, entitled royal. I was mortified anyone would perceive me that way. And the worst part was that he was right. None of my talents or endeavors were really useful, and I also despised royalty some of the time.""'You don't interact with commoners much.' His brow furrowed, confused by the abrupt change of topic. 'I was just wondering, why is that?'He sat back and studied me for a moment before taking a deep breath and answering seriously. 'I suppose you might consider it self preservation.' My brow furrowed and he continued, 'I make decisions every day that will affect countless people. It is vital that I remain rational and logical. If I get caught up in the feelings of individuals, it becomes almost impossible for me to make sound decisions.'""I caught a glimpse of Gavin's confused face before he asked, 'Have I offended you, Princess?''No, of course not.' It wasn't really a lie. I was certainly trying not to be offended.'""Friendship requires sincerity, not flattery.""It was unbefitting for a princess to whine, and I certainly didn't want to seem ungrateful. I had a comfortable life—more than comfortable—and I knew that Gretchen and every maiden like her envied me. And I truly did wish her to stay.""I could speak three languages and play two instruments; I was aware of the five acceptable reasons to go to war; and knew the protocol for greeting any guest that might enter the place. But when it came to everyday, practical situations, I was useless.""'Musicians at the palace are rarely concerned with showcasing their musical talents. None of the words hold any meaning beyond wanting to be in good favor with royalty. It seems like a sad way to use one's talent.''Or the smart way.''What do you mean?''I'm sure those musicians gain far more by being in favor with the royal family than by using their talent to express themselves and earn nothing.'My brow furrowed. 'I hadn't considered that.''That's because you don't think about money.'""'I've been wondering something.'I looked up to see him kneeling at the edge of the stream, peering over his shoulder at me. 'What's that?' I asked. He was very selective about the things he asked me.'Do you remember the first time you realized you were royalty?'I replied without giving it much thought. 'I suppose I've always known.''There was never a moment when it hit you that you were meant for greater things than most people?'His question was humbling and made me a little sad. Truthfully, I had never seen myself that way. Being royalty had become tedious and I often resented it, which was precisely why I was sitting out in the forest with him. 'No, I never had a moment like that.' Strictly speaking, it was a truthful answer. I had never felt I was meant for greater things.""There will be much celebration today, and there will be many people who will wish you the best. So let me be the first: may you find in this new phase of life a purpose that brings you joy and satisfaction.""I suppose people see what they want to see. Everyone loves the idea of a fairy tale wedding. For some reason, people suppose that princes and princesses have more romantic lives than other people. And perhaps that's true in some regards. Maybe our lives are more romantic, but that doesn't mean there is any more romance in our lives.""In truth I didn't want to be here. I didn't want to feel this feeling and be this person. I didn't want to give in to my hurt and my missing him. I wanted to be strong. But I didn't feel strong. I wondered how losing him had stripped me of my courage. After all, I had had plenty before I met him. I had stepped outside myself; I had ignored the rules and made a friend out of a common gardener. Where was my courage now? Where was the curiosity and determination that I had used to pull him into my life?I missed those parts of myself. And it frightened me that I couldn't seem to find them. It was as though in falling for Gavin, I had given those parts of myself to him, and he had taken them with him.But I needed them. I needed those parts of myself that made me Ella. I wanted to feel strong—to be strong.""'If a king does not have the respect of his people, then the only thing he rules is fear.' It sounded like a recitation—something he had been taught long ago.'And fear holds no loyalty,' my mother added.""I tried to put a name to what I felt. And the only word that came to mind was . . . broken. I felt broken, and it was Gavin who broke me. Never would I have anticipated that. Never would I have thought that Gavin, of all people, would be the one to break me. Never would I have imagined that loving someone could be so utterly painful.""I wanted to say something, feeling justified in transferring my furious anger into power. It was then I felt something for the first time: an instinctual need to exert force over another person. And while I reveled in it, I also recoiled, disgusted with myself.I had no right. My position should not have offered me this power. I knew that this man standing before me, who had earned his place and the respect of those under him, should not have been cowed by me. But I did have that power—it had been given to me long ago; I had just never had a reason to use it. And now I wondered if I could go back. It felt so good to feel in control. Having control over others was a heady experience, but to feel as though I were directing my own path left me intoxicated.""I had always thought that if he ever came within my reach agin, that if we were ever given a second chance, that we would know what to do—that somehow we would figure it out. But life didn't work that way. I knew that; I had known it for a long time. perhaps we always think we are the exception, that somehow matters of the heart will magically resolve themselves and come forth triumphant of their own accord.""As I steadied my breathing, my mind went back further, searching for the time when this sort of comfort had gone missing from my life. And I realized that ever since my father had sent Gavin away, ever since he had started ignoring me as punishment for my defection, I had been missing this. Because my father had deprived me not only of Gavin, but of himself when he had sought to punish me. And I hadn't realized the toll it had taken until now."

  • Sandy
    2019-05-01 00:23

    I couldn't put this book down. I even used covert measures that I haven't resorted to since childhood to sneak out and finish this book after I was supposed to be in bed. And despite how much I loved the story, it was perhaps just a little too fanciful at times. I mean, it is fairytale-esque, but as much as I wanted certain characters to end up together, sometimes the hammer of reality would hit a little too hard and whisper, "This just wouldn't be possible."Also, the pacing felt a little too incongruous at times. Whole scenes would be covered with just a few sentences, and yet other scenes got a lot of details (to the point where there needed to be some trimming). The author has certainly created a captivating story, but maybe it might need just a little bit more polish? You know how it is when you read a professionally edited book and it just flows and you don't even notice how well because it's just that good? Well, this book was good, but I noticed...the flow was just a bit too choppy at times with a lot of tell instead of show. As a reader, I was told flat-out how characters felt ("He looked sad..." or "He was angry...") too many times instead of being led to infer how characters felt by the use of descriptive verbs and other hints. A bit more subtlety would help.I just had to include the above critique to justify giving a book I thoroughly enjoyed four stars instead of five. There is an audience out there that will relish this book, myself included. There are key scenes I loved so much I find myself re-reading little parts every time I turn my Kindle on. This author has some major potential, and I can't wait to see what she'll write next.

  • Jana
    2019-05-15 03:04

    By far one of the best romance novels I've ever read. Pulls you in with great, likable characters and keeps you going with a sweet and exciting love story--plus a good plot to give it even more substance. Full of those tender moments you want to go back and read again, plus exciting moments, clever humor, and some suspense as well. I love how all the obstacles in Ella and Gavin's relationship are believable, not just lame miscommunication issues like so many romance novels try to rely on. Also none of the cheesiness of many romances! It's sweet, fun, clean, and well written...and one of those books you just can't put down. I'd recommend it for teens and grown women alike. Loved it!!

  • Melanie Charles
    2019-05-04 23:59

    First read in 2014. Reread in 2017.I love this book. Seriously it's just so good, one of the sweetest books I've ever read. Ella is one my favorite characters ever. I'm so happy I decided to give Just Ella a reread, I think I enjoyed it even more than the first time I read it. Definitely one I'll reread for many years to come. If you haven't picked up this gem yet, I very much encourage you to do so.

  • Kimberly Jepson
    2019-04-26 06:28

    This is the kind of book you don't want to put down once you start it. The first time I read it, I stayed up until 6 am to finish reading it (as a sleep-deprived mother of a newborn). I just love the sweet romance that grows gradually and feels like a real relationship. The writing is lovely and really sweeps you away. It is squeaky clean, which I love, without being at all cheesy. The plot is involving and the characters are very well developed. You will love it!!

  • Becca
    2019-05-07 03:05

    This is an incredibly sweet and satisfying story. Ella and Gavin's story had me feeling all the feels. I felt nervous in parts, tears in other parts, and smiles throughout. Thank you Annette Larsen for taking matters into your own hands and creating Ella!

  • Joanna
    2019-04-24 05:19

    Such great characters! Great writing and a sweet, captivating storyline. (And loved all the princesses names!)

  • Donna
    2019-05-03 07:20

    Great story. Please write many more.

  • Kristen Kooistra
    2019-05-19 07:04

    It still throws me off that this is the same title as Haddix's better known story. But then that's how I stumbled across it.Princess Ella's rebellious spirit leads her into the garden maze where she meets the caretaker, Gavin. Despite a rocky start, they soon hit it off. Their time together is pretty much consisting of walks to a waterfall, garden work, and Gavin working while Ella loiters. Not that interesting, but it means they spend a lot of time talking so it feels more believable when they fall in love.Things go wrong when Ella's caught coming home from a country dance with Gavin. Gavin is fired and Ella withdraws into her shell.Here's where things get interesting. First time starts going by faster than normal for a fairy tale. This means both characters are getting older, and we see Ella coping with her life. Second we get a good look at what someone might be like who has had someone they loved torn away forever. Ella doesn't just get over it. She sinks into depression. She pulls back from her family and the world and is just going through the motions.Her reaction in this time sold me on her love more than anything previous. She didn't get over Gavin and she mourned in a way I can imagine myself going through. Eventually over a two year period we see her work her way back into "living" though she's changed from the girl she'd once been.Here's my few quibbles with the book that cost it a star. Ella is devastated over how the separation has hit HER, but not one thought for Gavin. Gavin is a commoner who lost his JOB. He's probably crucial to supporting his parents and siblings. Not to mention this is a job that is passed down through the family. It probably holds significant emotional value/pride as well as a insured job for future descendants. I thought it was quite selfish that not only did Ella not attempt to convince her father(even if she'd failed) to offer some sort of compensation(another job away from the palace?), but she didn't even THINK about it. She didn't worry about him losing his work or how it'd affect him or his family.Second, when Gavin returns but there's lots of complications and roadblocks. I didn't agree with Ella/Gavin kissing in the maze at one point when Gavin is engaged. I thought that was lowbrow for both. Lastly, the secondary characters were very underdeveloped. Most of the time it didn't matter or appear too obvious since this was very much an Ella/Gavin tale. The antagonist is also done well. The family, especially the sisters, were like paper dolls. I can't recall their names at all, but for six of them you'd think a few would stand out. I mean, there's the nasty one, the one that got engaged, the little one... They just didn't have much of a personality. Otherwise, I really liked this story. I enjoyed the pacing and the way the romance spun out. I liked that Ella and Gavin faced very realistic hurdles to their romance. There was this very "real" edge to the romance that is often missing in fairy tale. (it reads like a fairy tale hence me calling it one) I liked that Ella had to overcome her sorrow, as well as other struggles. A nice enjoyable read, the writing style is very easy to sink into.

  • Barb
    2019-05-10 04:11

    My daughter-in-law loves this book, and recommended it to me. I enjoyd it very much. It is about a strong young woman and the obstacles she faced as a member of the royal family. It is a tender love story, and would be an ideal romance story for other young women!

  • Katie W
    2019-05-02 05:13

    It's true--I was one of those girls who wished to be a princess. In fact, I was obsessed with Princess Diana and even now love any "royal" news. How could I not absolutely fall in love with this story?! What I found to be ironic is that Ariella is a princess but doesn't really want to be one. How could she not? Well...after this glimpse, however fictional it may be, into the life of royalty, I could definitely understand her reasoning. That didn't make me love the story any less or cause me to wish I'd never wished to be a princess. :)Princess Ariella, or Princess Ari, or just Ella, seemed to have the perfect life...yet she yearns for more. I loved to see how normal she really was--climbing trees, sneaking out, befriending unlikely friends. She was so genuine, truly compassionate, and most definitely humble. I loved the example she was to her sisters and how brave she was. Some of the situations that she found herself in were quite frightening, yet she handled things well. Amazingly well. I loved the relationship that Ella had with her father, the king, until the turn of events caused him to punish her. My heart broke for her and while I could understand where he was coming from, my respect for him decreased, although he did try and earn it back later.Gavin. Who wouldn't love a friend like Gavin? He found himself risking everything to do what he knew to be morally right. I loved the way he stuck his foot in his mouth at the first meeting and how hard he tried to be the proper citizen, while fulfilling royal commands. As with any true princess story, there is a villain and this one is not whom you might expect. I thought everything about this book was fabulous--from the adventure to the romance to the relationships.Content: some mild violence; kissing. CLEAN!!

  • Sheila
    2019-04-22 08:25

    I was so pleasantly surprised by this book. This is one of those books that slowly wraps you up in it's story never freeing you until the last word. The characters in this story are varied, but so memorable. I especially loved Princess Ariella or as she likes to call herself, Ella. She is not like her six sisters who love being royalty. Ella is bored with her life and in the process makes friends with a gardenerby the name of Gavin. Their friendship grows into, as Ella says, "The most precious thing I've ever had the pleasure of owning." It was quite funny as Gavin teaches her to do things like pull a weed and Ella finds it just fascinating. This story takes place over a 2-3 year time period. Ella goes through many changes in her life and emotionally she grows and matures into a courageous woman who is not afraid to chase after her dreams. I love what a strong woman she becomes. Her relationships with her parents and of course Gavin, go through many transitions too. Even though this is an adaptation of a fairytale re-telling with a twist, the feelings and situations are very realistic. This story is a clean read with some nice kissing. You will fall in love with this story like so many already have. I could best describe it as being "Enchanted" by Ella and her story. This book is coming highly recommended for teen and adult readers who want to finish reading a book and come away with a smile on their face. This will be a book that I will revisit again and again because I liked it that much.

  • Anoush Emrazian
    2019-05-15 06:00

    Purchased on a whim. I enjoyed this story, but parts of it were frustrating. I love the premise (Princess falls in love with commoner instead of the oft told tale the other way around) and I find it interesting that somehow the story can't be resolved in the same way.Some things I didn't agree with. (view spoiler)[ For example, I feel like Ella doesn't really communicate with her parents, and while that might be her fault, I don't think she was very open to dialogue and understanding. She basically said she was marrying Gavin and that was it. There was no time for her father to work through his frustration and get to know Gavin better. There was no discussion and explanation, just the assertion over and over again that they were getting married so there! Also, it really bothered me that when Jeshua assaulted her (multiple times) she didn't tell anyone and when she mentioned it, they didn't believe her. This isn't helpful for people perhaps experiencing this in real life. If someone bothers you like that, you should tell. And you shouldn't already think no one will believe you. And if someone tells you such a thing, you should believe them. (hide spoiler)]Those qualms aside, it was a lovely story. I think the author could have been more subtle in her writing some times and kept other things shorter, but I chalk it up to first time writer and still really enjoyed reading this.

  • Crystal (Books Are Sanity!!!)
    2019-04-29 06:15

    Wow...really I am not quite sure how to articulate how great this book was! Just Ella swept me away into another world with princesses, princes, kings, queens, nobility and commoners. I felt like I was experiencing the entire story right along with Ella! The romance was real and emotional, a relationship built over time and with trust. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Ella and I felt every emotion right along with her. I wanted to cry when she did, laugh when she did and smile when she did! Every page was enjoyable, there was never (seriously never!) a time in the story that I lost interest or was bored. Every word had meaning and I could have easily read another hundred pages! I have to say that author Annette Larsen has a smash hit on her hands! I NEED another book! Please tell me you are writing more because I am a new hardcore fan who cannot wait for another story like Just Ella!!! If you like fairy tales, romance, historical novels, hey if you just like to read, you will fall in love with this story! Just Ella is a diamond in the sea of indie novels! Give it a try!I received a copy of this book for free as part of a blog tour. This is my honest review.

  • Tarah
    2019-04-26 01:20

    Holy cow! I don't know what I was expecting when I started this book, but my expectations were blown away! I haven't come across a book that I loved liked this in a long time. I hope Annette K. Larsen writes another one soon. Ella was a fantastic character. She was strong and sympathetic. She was able to figure out who she was and try to help others. Gavin was everything I look for in a male lead, and you just fall in love with him a little bit. Ella makes moral choices that are hard, and may not make her happy, but they are selfless choices, and there isn't enough of that in today's society. The only thing I wish was different was either more explanation about one of her sisters behavior, or a conclusion to it. I can't wait to read this book again, and I'd definitely recommend it to others.