Size Doesn’t Matter (28): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (28): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerWhen a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After #3
Published by Avon on August 25, 2015
Genres: Historical, Romance, Humor
Pages: 376
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

I stayed up waaaaaay to late giggleswooning at When a Scot Ties the Knot. Like, I don’t tend to actually laugh out loud when I’m reading, even when I think things are funny, but I was in bed howling at this book. Tessa Dare books should be hurled down upon romance haters because they are a national treasure.

Tessa Dare always captures me on page one. That’s all it takes for me to be totally in love with the story. I read this one from cover to cover in three sittings (interrupted rudely by my coworkers). When a Scot Ties the Knot is a historical hate to love, fake relationship romance, and um hello that’s just the best ever.

What I love most is that Maddie could easily have come off as a ludicrous figure, what with having created a fantasy fiance, but she doesn’t. Yes, she’s silly a lot of the time, but she’s also incredibly clever and was doing the only thing she could think of at 16 to escape from her season in London. In a time when women didn’t have many options, she found a loophole.

But then her fantasy fiance who never existed suddenly shows up at the door of her castle and her loophole got a lot more complicated. The ship is fun, and once again the heroine has total agency in the sexual arena. Logan wants to have sex with her basically immediately but she says no and he listens. I shouldn’t have to call that out for praise but um let’s say that doesn’t always happen in romance novels.

I’ve only read three, but When a Scot Ties the Knot really stands out. If you enjoy ships and laughing your ass off, I seriously recommend Tessa Dare, even if you don’t think you’re a historical romance person.

Size Doesn’t Matter (28): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerDramarama by E. Lockhart
Published by Disney Hyperion on May 20, 20078
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased

Two theater-mad, self-invented fabulositon Ohio teenagers. One boy, one girl. One gay, one straight. One black, one white. And SUMMER DRAMA CAMP. It's a season of hormones, gold lame, hissy fits, jazz hands, song and dance, true love, and unitards that will determine their future --and test their friendship.

Based on the lackluster reviews, I wasn’t sure if I’d even enjoy Dramarama, but I owned a copy and decided to bite the bullet. To my surprise, I did mostly like it. There were some things I loved about it and some things I didn’t like so much. Mostly, I wish it had been about Demi, the heroine’s fabulous black, gay best friend, instead of Sadye.

The sad truth is that I never really came to like Sadye very much. I ought to like her, because she’s bitch and stand-offish and not good with people, all things I can relate to. However, there’s just something that didn’t really sit right with me. I guess I want her to either push harder or push a bit less. As it stands, she ends up not really doing very much at all, aside from whining. It’s realistic, but it’s not the most fun to read.

Demi’s pretty fantastic though. He gets to be a real character in his own right, and he’s the one who gets a boyfriend. That’s not something you see in YA much, so points for that. He also calls Sadye out for being “colorblind,” which I also thought was cool.

The musical stuff was very much awesome. I just wish that we’d gotten to see more of Sadye’s emotional journey with regards to theatre. She wants to be good but she’s not as good as everyone else at the drama camp, so she mopes around. Then, in the epilogue, she’s clearly figured out where she excels (which has been obvious for much of the book), but we don’t get to actually SEE her learn anything. We see her whine and then off-screen, she’s figured out she should try directing. That is really not emotionally satisfying.

On the one hand, I like that Lockhart leaves so much stuff up in the air and in a really realistic place. Sadye hates lots of people to start but gets to know and love them. Then, after the summer program, pretty much all of those friendships slowly or quickly dry up. Believable and a fairly unique way to end it but also kind of depressing.

Basically, I’m not totally sure how I feel about this one. Dramarama was fun but frustrating.

Size Doesn’t Matter (28): Mini Reviews from a Lazy BloggerShadowland by Meg Cabot
Series: The Mediator #1
Published by Avon on December 28, 2004
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Humor
Pages: 287
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
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There's a hot guy in Susannah Simon's bedroom. Too bad he's a ghost.

Suze is a mediator - a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won't leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn't seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it's not that easy. There's a ghost with revenge on her mind... and Suze happens to be in the way.

My planned full reread of the series with Gillian (Writer of Wrongs) only made it two books last year, but with Remembrance (ZOMG SO EXCITED) on the way next month, a reread was necessary. I debated with myself about whether to start over at book one again or pick up at Reunion. You can see what I chose.

I’m glad I did re-reread Shadowland because I actually appreciated it even more this time, not that I didn’t have a blast last year. What follows will be all about how Suze Simon is the best.

The book is dated in many ways and there is so much brand-name dropping, but honestly who cares when you’ve got Suze Simon being funny and badass. She is one of my favorite heroines still, and, reading it this time, I realized why: she has ace confidence.

Suze isn’t the most gorgeous, the richest, the smartest, the strongest, or the coolest. Her biggest strength is the fact that she’s totally confident with how she is. This gives her the power to stand up to bullies on her first day at school, for example. Now, she’s not totally above the worries of a teenager; she does want to fit in and worry if she’s dressed wrong for her first day, but, given the choice between being popular and being herself, she’d always choose to be herself.

I also adore the fact that Suze is a “girly girl,” obsessed with clothes and boys and boys’ bodies and how she looks, but also she super loves to solve ghost problems (or real life ones) with her fists. Hell yes. Also, she’s a good person, but not always a nice one. And, for all that she’s a total queen, she is still flawed, like her difficulties really trusting others.

If you haven’t read the Mediator series, you should be diving back into the archives for it, because it is boss. Just remember that it’s set in the 90s and trololol at how life used to be.

2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (28): Mini Reviews from a Lazy Blogger”

  1. I adore Tessa Dare! She’s one of my favorite historical romance writers, and I so agree. We should give her books to romance-haters. So glad you loved this one. I loved Maddie, and could relate to her pretty easily.
    Quinn @ Quinn’s Book Nook recently posted…Audio Review: It Happened One Wedding by Julie JamesMy Profile

  2. Oh yay! I just bought Romancing the Duke because I don’t read nearly enough historical romance. Not that I’ve read it yet but.. I’ve bought it. Step in the right direction. Shadowland just got added to my TBR too! It’s like one of the only Meg Cabot series I haven’t managed to read yet…
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Early Review – Sweetgirl by Travis MulhauserMy Profile

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