Jeffe Kennedy's The Tears of the Rose
The second book in the Twelve Kingdoms trilogy takes on the story of the youngest princess--the famous beauty--and picks up where the first left off, with that princess mired in grief and pregnant. At first, she's not as interesting as her sisters, but she's still fairly compelling. I liked that the story is sort of how she learns to wield political power, though wish that wasn't spurred on by a dude being kind of mean to her--and of course he's her love interest. Like the first book, I actually liked the romance here--I think these books are billed as romances but the romances aren't the main thing--there's so much else going on!--and so it's nice when things sort of work out. This one ends on a doozy of a cliffhanger and so of course I'm going to immediately read the third one (I admit to also being curious about the romance intended for the warrior sister). Side note, these books have a fairly silly narrative voice that is trying to meld "old fashioned" sort of writing with modern slang. I'm not sure how on purpose any of that is, but it does sometimes knock me out of the story, and it was especially egregious in this one. Still, it's a FUN read, so that goes a long way. B/B+.