Size Doesn’t Matter (39): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (39): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerThe Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #1
Published by Katherine Tegen on March 10, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Adventure, Romance
Pages: 391
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book Depository

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Going back through The Orphan Queen, I can see that I overrated it slightly the first time through, because I was overwhelmed by the amount of fun I was having. It’s still fun for sure, but I noted the repetition and some other weaknesses this time through.

That ending is still badass though, and I’m excited for The Mirror King. Most enjoyable crack fantasy.

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (39): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerUnhooked by Lisa Maxwell
Published by Simon Pulse on February 2, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Retelling, Romance, Adventure
Pages: 342
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book Depository

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.

But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.

The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.

With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself?

It’s not often that I have both the time and the inclination to actually sit and read a book from cover to cover in one sitting, but that’s what I did with Unhooked. I’ve been in the mood to read, and it captured me from the first. My expectations were fairly low, because these Peter Pan retellings have mostly been disappointments. Ultimately, I think it’s a fun read, but there are a fair amount of things that I’m feeling rather hmm about.

What I do like unreservedly about Unhooked is the twist on the Peter Pan mythos. I like how she flipped everything around and tied it in to history. She uses the idea of how the victor writes history to help the reader consider a different pan. I’m a big fan of the postmodern antihero, of taking villains and considering things from their point of view. And, honestly, I think Captain Hook and his crew make more sense as teens, since Neverland is a land of children who don’t grow up. I also like the morbid twist she put on that. Maxwell did a lot of really clever things with the story, and I loved that.

However, I have mixed feelings about the story itself. I like Hook and Gwendolyn sort of, but they never felt quite real, and everyone else was incredibly one-dimensional. Maxwell could have made me sympathetic to all the various sides in this battle, and then really sold the complexities and pain, but that’s not what happened. The love square is flat and awkward, and I don’t think the fact the fact that Olivia is brainwashed into her part of the romance is really handled at all. I mean, yes, it’s by the villain of the story but still that’s kind of a huge thing that’s not made much of.

Gwen spends the whole book getting taken places and told things and just blindly following along with whoever talked to her last. She never really thinks things true, and she trusts people for no reason whatsoever. It’s basically video game plot logic: you talk to the first person you encounter and they tell you your mission. It is not, however, good plotting in a novel.

Olivia, actually, perfectly encapsulates my concern with this novel. She’s Gwen’s best friend, and I’m told that over and over, but I don’t see enough of them together before she’s brainwashed, cold, and basically turns into the stereotypical jealous mean girl. Then, top off that awfulness, View Spoiler » So yeah, not too happy with the ending. Everything turns out much too conveniently. That cheesy ending scene at the grave? Sure, it’s a sweet ending…that completely defies the logic of the bookworld. But, hey, it’s romantic, right?

I’m torn because I did really enjoy reading this book and it did fascinate me, but the ending completely let the story down and the character building was sadly weak.

Size Doesn’t Matter (39): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerA Lady of Persuasion by Tessa Dare
Series: The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy #3
Published by Ballantine on September 29, 2009
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 353
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book Depository

Only one thing could convince Sir Tobias Aldridge, an incorrigible rake, to profess undying fidelity to a woman he’s just met. Revenge. What better way to get back at his enemy, than by stealing the scoundrel’s sister? Not that Toby finds it a chore, seducing a beguiling, sultry beauty freshly arrived from the West Indies. When the prize is Isabel Grayson, vengeance is doubly rewarding.

Isabel is determined to marry a wealthy, powerful lord and become a lady of influence, using her rank and fortune to fight social injustice. Sir Toby, with his paltry title and infamous reputation, is unsuitable husband material—but he makes her blood race, her heart pound, and her long-buried passions come to the surface. If she can reform the charming devil, she’ll get exactly what she craves: society’s respect. But it’s a dangerous gamble. For if Toby wins this battle of persuasion, Isabel could lose her heart.

Oh dear lord. Here I am again. A Lady of Persuasion is officially my least favorite Tessa Dare book, and hopefully that will remain the case. There are still some awesome, unique things for a historical romance, but also I unship the main ship, which is sort of hard to get around.

Here’s the problem: I don’t like Toby much. He puts women on a pedestal and he’s a flirt, which is fine, except that he’s a smarmy flirt. Also, he sets out for Isabel because she’s dancing with Gray and he wants to get one up on Gray. Serious ew. Why would I ship him with her?

Setting that aside, the two are a horrible match. She agrees to marry him because he promises to be something he’s not and doesn’t plan to be: an MP. He marries her because she’s hot and he can get his own back with Gray, who married Sophia, his former fiancee. The two go on absolutely horrid dates and don’t share any of the same interests, aside from banging each other. I felt that connection in the other books in this series, but I really don’t see it here. All they have is sex, and that’s not enough. It’s not even as enjoyable to read about because I don’t like them.

I wish I liked Isabel, but the way that she’s treated in the text is truly awful. She ought to be this strong character, who cares fiercely about helping the poor and has fierce morals. However, she’s treated as more of a comical figure, alternating between a serious but slightly dumb angel and a fiery Latin beauty. People win arguments with her by saying things to her that make no sense, and she gets confused and goes along with their plans.

However, I did enjoy the fact that the other characters from the series get a fair amount of camera time. One of my favorites scenes was actually Lucy giving birth and giving Jeremy hell, because they were my favorite ship of the series.

Though actually they might not have been my favorite ship if the ship from this book that I actually loved had been the focal point, rather than shunted off to the side. Hetta and Joss only get a few scenes together, and their relationship building takes a lot of sudden leaps because they don’t get a lot of time together. That book, though, I would have LOVED because they understand each other in a very real way, since they both work hard to be respected in roles society doesn’t want them to have, her as a lady doctor and him as a black gentleman. I love that Dare put this in at all, because I don’t think I’ve ever read a historical romance with a black character before, let alone one who gets a ship. If only it had been THEIR book.

Dare does some really great stuff in this book, but you have to struggle through the heinously bad main ship to get to it.

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (39): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger”

  1. I think I rounded The Orphan Queen up to 4 but 3.5 is more accurate. The Mirror King was a mega awesome book for me though, I hope it is for you too! It felt more in line with the second half of OQ.

    Ahh your thoughts on Unhooked have me on the fence! I love when a story is tied into history and twisted into something great, but one dimensional characters (and Gwen especially) do not sound awesome :/

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