Size Doesn’t Matter (48): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (48): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerWhere Roses Grow Wild by Patricia Cabot
Series: Rawlings #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on March 15, 1998
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 359
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
one-half-stars

SHE WAS RULED BY HER HEAD ...

Only one thing stood between Edward, Lord Rawlings, and a life of rakish debauchery: a spinster. Even worse, a liberal, educated, vicar's daughter --- guardian to ten-year-old Jeremy, the true heir to the title Edward did not want. If Jeremy would not assume dukedom, Edward must, a fate of dire responsibility and utter boredom.

BUT THIS TIME, HER HEART WAS TAKING REINS

Since there had never been a female his lordship couldn't charm, Edward was sure he would win over the old girl. But Pegeen MacDougal was neither old, nor a girl --- she was all woman, with a prickly tongue, infernal green eyes and a buried sensuality that drove him mad. Unfortunately, she loathed him and his class for their fripperies and complete disregard for the less fortunate. But for the sake of the boy, she agreed to accompany him back to his estate.

The risk was quickly apparent. For Pegeen knew she could resist Edward's money, his power, his position ... his entire world. It was his kiss, however, that promised to be her undoing ...

Recently, as I’ve been fitting in more reads for myself, I’ve gotten back into the obsessive author binging of my teen years. This is the start of my Meg Cabot binge (this is her pen name she used as a romance novel when she got her start, in case you didn’t know that), which was inspired by Royal Wedding, which I read a few months ago. I’m planning to read basically everything but The Princess Diaries series, and I’ll skip Mediator, since I reread that for the publication of Remembrance earlier this year. Also skipping the Abandon trilogy because yeah no, and the middle grades because I want ship. So yeah, I’ll be working on this one for years probably.

Where Roses Grow Wild was, to not put too fine a point on it, quite bad. It’s Meg’s first book, unless she has some undisclosed pen name, and that very much shows. It’s basically a combination of the most generic romance novel ever smashed up with some Jane Austen, but not even in a good way. Like, at the start, there’s a scene where Pegeen, the heroine, is proposed to by the local vicar, which had several lines basically lifted from the proposals of Mr. Elton and Mr. Collins.

The romance really doesn’t work either, because both Pegeen and Edward are such romance stereotypes without any convincing characterization. She’s a firebrand, the only woman to ever tell him “no,” so he’s drawn to her. She’s not like other women. Edward is hot and masculine and hairy-chested. Basically all of their kiss/sex scenes made me uncomfortable because, if he’d asked first, she definitely would have refused his attentions. Pegeen was on board the moment he kissed her, but still. Ick.

In no way does this book read like any of the forty-some Meg Cabot books I’ve read. I remain hopeful, though, because the sequel’s about the squabbling kids from this book. I could ship that. Maybe. *crosses fingers*

Size Doesn’t Matter (48): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerPortrait of My Heart by Patricia Cabot
Series: Rawlings #2
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on January 15, 1999
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 359
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads
one-half-stars

They parted in disgrace...But desire would bring them back together.

Years ago, in one explosive instant, childhood rivalry turned into wild passion for Jeremy, handsome young Duke of Rawlings, and Maggie Herbert, the object of his affections. Unfortunately, the ensuing scandal found them banished to separate corners of the world.

Now fate has joined Jeremy and Maggie again-- for a long-overdue dance of desire as uncompromising as the lovers themselves. Jeremy, a decorated soldier, is determined to claim Maggie at last. And Maggie, engaged to be married to another man, finds her secret fantasies of Jeremy spinning out of control. All that stands between them and the steamy passion the years can no longer chain is the past-- and a present steeped in jealousy, intrigue, and danger...

Well, Portrait of My Heart was better, but um it still wasn’t good. Cabot’s still trying to right romance novels like the ones that were popular at the time, rather than writing like she eventually comes to, aka with the primary goal of FUN and secondary goal of SHIP.

The ship in Portrait of My Heart was much better, which admittedly meant I got through the book really quickly. Like, there were definite Swan Princess relationship vibes. Only with sexy times. However, the whole thing is poisoned by the old school romance thing (also found in Where Roses Grow Wild) where almost every single kiss/sexy time is preceded by the heroine saying she doesn’t want it, but then melting as soon as he touches her. Books like this make me rage. I’m not sure why making things semi-rapey (or all out rape in some romance novels) was thought to be the most romantic thing because um no it’s not.

The other issue with Portrait of My Heart is the inclusion of the French and Indian characters, which could have been fun since romance novels are often very white and even very English. However, the portrayals were horribly stereotyped and just yikes.

So yeah, the awesome Meg Cabotness did not start with Portrait of My Heart either. *sighs*

Size Doesn’t Matter (48): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerDream On by Kerstin Gier
Series: Silver #2
Published by Henry Holt BFYR on May 3, 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Things seem to be going well for Liv Silver: she’s adjusting to her new home in London; she has a burgeoning romance with Henry Harper, one of the cutest boys in school; and the girl who’s been turning her dreams into nightmares, Anabel, is now locked up. But serenity doesn’t last for long.

It seems that Liv’s troubles are far from over—in fact, suddenly they’re piling up. School gossip blogger Secrecy knows all of Liv’s most intimate secrets, Henry might be hiding something from her, and at night Liv senses a dark presence following her through the corridors of the dream world. Does someone have a score to settle with Liv?

Okay, so I enjoyed Dream On. There’s something just so compulsively fun about Kerstin Gier’s books that makes me devour them even when the plot is not on point, which tbh it’s generally not. However, there were just a lot of weird things going on in Dream On that distracted me from my usual level of enjoyment.

First, and I think I forgot to address this in my Dream a Little Dream review, but there’s the whole Gossip Girl plot line, which seems a bit hackneyed given, you know, Gossip Girl. Obviously that’s going to tie in during book three, but it’s just this occasional plot device for getting drama out there right now. Mostly, it’s for making Liv doubt Henry so they can have a big blow up in Dream On. Which ugh.

Then there’s the thing in this book where Mia and Liv destroy their future step-grandmother’s topiary in revenge for her being a monster bitch. The whole town is pissed off because they loved the topiary. Like, the anger continues for a couple hundred pages. IT IS A BUSH. LET IT GO.

This book’s villain was kinda weak, or at least the red herring villain was. The whole Senator Tod anagram thing felt like the villain in a kid’s book, not at all sophisticated enough for a YA novel. The underlying villain of the novel is a bit better, but it still felt like a holding pattern for book three. Basically, it seems like they wanted to keep Gier doing trilogies so they shoved a third book in even though the plot didn’t really merit it.

If you’re into Gier’s books, Dream On‘s still worth the time, I think, but it’s not her best. I’m hoping it all comes together in book three.

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (48): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger”

  1. Yikes! Not reading these books then…
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