Size Doesn’t Matter (40): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (40): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerHow to Catch a Wild Viscount by Tessa Dare
Published by Author on August 13, 2014
Genres: Historical, Romance, Humor
Pages: 105
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

She's on the hunt for a hero...

Luke Trenton, Viscount Merritt, returned from war a changed man. Battle stripped away his civility and brought out his inner beast. There is no charm or tenderness in him now; only dark passions and a hardened soul. He has nothing to offer the starry-eyed, innocent girl who pledged her heart to him four years ago.

But Cecily Hale isn't a girl any longer. She's grown into a woman--one who won't be pushed away. She and Luke are guests at a house party when a local legend captures their friends' imaginations. While the others plunge into the forest on a wild goose...er, stag chase, Cecily's on the hunt for a man. She has only a few moonlit nights to reach the real Luke...the wounded heart she knows still beats inside the war-ravaged body...or she could lose him to the darkness forever.

This is a novella of approximately 20,000 words, or 80 pages. It was originally published under the title The Legend of the Werestag.

HURRAH! The hilarious Tessa Dare has made her first appearance. This novella is so charming and funny, and I could not be thrilled. I really do wonder if her editors edited out the humor to make her more traditional romance style in the early books, because all of a sudden in this one originally published by Samhain, here’s the Dare I came to know in Castles Ever After.

As seems to be perpetually the case with Dare’s novel, the ship isn’t the strongest part of the novella. I’m not opposed to Cecily and Luke, but, of all the characters in the novella, Luke’s the least compelling. I absolutely adore Portia and Brooke, and oh that this novella were a novel centered on them, because they have a vibe somewhat reminiscent of Phryne and Jack, where he makes fun of her outlandishness but also totally loves their back and forth and that she’s outlandish. Even Denny is adorable, and I like that there’s no intense love triangle bullshit. I think I’d probably have shipped Cecily and Luke with more pages to develop their chemistry.

“How to Catch a Wild Viscount” is basically Northanger Abbey meets “Once Upon a Winter’s Eve,” which delights me endlessly. The premise is that five friends have met up for vacation, and Portia’s planning to use the setting to write her gothic novel. The novella starts with Portia and Brooke banterfighting about quality writing and dear lord I was instantly in love.

If only this one were an actual novel. It’s actual a prequel companion of sorts to the Wanton Dairymaid trilogy, but it’s so much better. I’m hesitant to encourage people who love later Dare series to dive into that, but this novella is definitely worth your time.

Size Doesn’t Matter (40): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerOne Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare
Series: Stud Club #1
Published by Ballantine on May 25, 2010
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
four-half-stars

In One Dance with a Duke—the first novel in Tessa Dare’s delightful new trilogy—secrets and scandals tempt the irresistible rogues of the Stud Club to gamble everything for love.

A handsome and reclusive horse breeder, Spencer Dumarque, the fourth Duke of Morland, is a member of the exclusive Stud Club, an organization so select it has only ten members—yet membership is attainable to anyone with luck. And Spencer has plenty of it, along with an obsession with a prize horse, a dark secret, and, now, a reputation as the dashing “Duke of Midnight.” Each evening he selects one lady for a breathtaking midnight waltz. But none of the women catch his interest, and nobody ever bests the duke—until Lady Amelia d’Orsay tries her luck.

In a moment of desperation, the unconventional beauty claims the duke’s dance and unwittingly steals his heart. When Amelia demands that Spencer forgive her scapegrace brother’s debts, she never imagines that her game of wits and words will lead to breathless passion and a steamy proposal. Still, Spencer is a man of mystery, perhaps connected to the shocking murder of the Stud Club’s founder. Will Amelia lose her heart in this reckless wager or win everlasting love?

Tessa Dare is officially writing like Tessa Dare. I really, really don’t understand how the Wanton Dairymaid trilogy was so un-Tessa-Dare-ish. But whatever. One Night with a Duke is such a departure from that. It’s funny, and it’s basically Tessa Dare writes Pride and Prejudice imo, which means that it turns out rather differently but omg this ship.

My only reservation with later Dare has been that I haven’t massively shipped most of her romances. They’re so funny that I didn’t care too much, but in One Night with a Duke, the ship and the humor are aligned, and it’s awesome. It does descend a wee bit into the melodrama of her earlier books towards the end and drop some of the humor, but I was way too far gone by that point to care.

Like, this ship starts with Amelia demanding a dance from Spencer, the notorious Duke of Midnight, and he’s like ugh who is this not hot lady demanding my time. And then she proceeds to utterly discomfit him while they’re dancing, and SHIP SHIP SHIP. They fight a lot because they’re calling one another on their shit, and it’s pretty great. I was giggling through much of the novel and smiling like a loon through all of it.

This also marks the point where Dare stopped having leads who were perfection attractiveness-wise. Amelia’s a bit fatter than the typical heroine, and, by all accounts, her face is nothing to write home about, though obvs Spencer comes to be quite a large fan of it. Spencer is a paragon of masculine beauty, but he’s also got a phobia of crowds.

Basically my brain is mush and it’s just shouting on repeat TESSA DARE TESSA DARE TESSA DARE. I TESSA DARE YOU TO TRY HER BOOKS. (Just don’t start with the wanton dairymaid ones.) I am super excited for Rhys’ book. Further into the scary place I descend.

I received this book for free from Publisher 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 (40): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerThe Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
Series: The Orphan Queen #2
Published by Katherine Tegen on April 5, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 544
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-stars

Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.

In this stunning conclusion to THE ORPHAN QUEEN, Jodi Meadows follows Wilhelmina’s breathtaking and brave journey from orphaned criminal on the streets to magic-wielding queen.

It’s time for another episode of Unpopular Opinion Time with Christina!

LBR, I’m not thrilled about it either. The Orphan Queen was so much fun, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating this sequel/series ender. The opening completely captured and had me back on the awesome crack train.

But THEN.

A THING happened.

And, following the thing, I was not into this book anymore, and the way the thing was reacted to really just made the thing worse. There’s a lot of convenience in the way the story was ended and I’m disappointed because where the first one was fun and a bit shippy, this one ended up being an unshippy slog for me.

Spoilers about THE THING: View Spoiler »

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