Size Doesn’t Matter (147): Unquiet Land; Romeo & What’s Her Name

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 (147): Unquiet Land; Romeo & What’s Her NameUnquiet Land by Sharon Shinn
Series: Elemental Blessings #4
Published by Ace on November 1, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

From the national bestselling author of Jeweled Fire and Royal Airs comes the latest novel in the Elemental Blessings series.

Leah Frothen has returned home. But she can scarcely catch her breath before she is summoned by regent Darien Serlast, the man who made her a spy. Leah is reluctant to take on a new assignment, but Darien has dangled the perfect lure to draw her in…

Leah finds she enjoys the challenges of opening a shop catering to foreign visitors, especially since it affords her the opportunity to get to know Mally, the child she abandoned five years ago.

But when the regent asks her to spy on ambassadors from a visiting nation, Leah soon learns that everyone—her regent, her lover, and even her daughter—have secrets that could save the nation, but might very well break her heart.

Because Leah’s parts of Jeweled Fire were the weakest parts for me (aside from the romance), I was a bit hesitant going into Unquiet Land. I’m definitely not torz (okay, I don’t live in Welce but I can pretend), and Leah’s not got the vibrancy of any of the other heroines. She has the most in common with Zoe when she does her whole still waters thing in the first half of Troubled Waters. All of that is fact, but surprisingly her narration worked really well and I was just as invested as I always am in Shinn books.

In some ways, Unquiet Land is most definitely a weak installment of Elemental Blessings. Plotwise, things get downright silly and the romance isn’t majorly shippy. However, at this point, I love all of these characters and this world so incredibly much that I was a mess of feels during every scene where Leah interacted with anyone from the other books. I even had major feels about her evolving relationship with her daughter Mally.

Leah’s romance is sweet, and it’s certainly better built than the romance in Jeweled Fire, but it’s very much not the tropes that get my shippy heart beating. Partly, I feel like I don’t know Chandran all that well; for example, I’m really not sure how old he is at all, though I’m guessing somewhere from 40 to 50 but idk. I do appreciate how hesitant Chandran was to start something and that Leah really did take time to carefully consider whether she wanted to enter into a romance with someone with that much scary baggage.

Speaking of scary, Unquiet Land is pretty horrifying. Sharon has this massive gift for creating intriguing cultures, and she ties it in this book to her gift for writing fluffy fantasy that’s surprisingly dark. Darien’s hosting some Karkan leaders, and you get to learn about life in the Karkades and it is absolutely horrifying. I mean, I thought the stuff with the rival country in Troubled Waters was bad, but holy shit. It’s truly remarkable that Shinn manages to keep this book feeling light because it is creepy af.

Plotwise, this is by far the worst of the five Shinn novels I’ve read so far. The ending is hilariously silly. I honestly did laugh through the final scenes. View Spoiler »

Unquiet Land has some definite issues, but I kinda loved it anyway. I love Welce and this whole cast of people too much not to. I’m really hoping that the final book in this series happens, because I NEED my hunti heroine very badly. Also, I’m kind of hoping the heroine is Natalie, since she is hunti af in Unquiet Land (after not having been in books two or three hardly at all).

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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 (147): Unquiet Land; Romeo & What’s Her NameRomeo & What's Her Name by Shani Petroff
Published by Swoon Reads on February 7, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
half-star

Understudies never get to perform

. . . which is why being Juliet's understudy in the school's yearly "Evening with Shakespeare" is the perfect role for Emily. She can earn some much-needed extra credit while pursuing her main goal of spending time with Wes, aka Romeo, aka the hottest, nicest guy in school (in her completely unbiased opinion). And she meant to learn her lines, really, it's just:
a) Shakespeare is HARD,
b) Amanda, aka the "real" Juliet, makes her run errands instead of lines, and
c) there's no point because Amanda would never miss the chance to be the star of the show.

Then, Amanda ends up in the hospital and Emily, as the (completely unprepared!) understudy, has to star opposite the guy of her dreams. Oops?

I DNFed Romeo & What’s Her Name earlier this year, but I wanted to snark it for a friend (because I hate myself and my friend apparently), so I found myself in the unfortunate position of having to finish. It’s not good. In fact, it’s atrocious.

One thing I will absolutely never understand is why someone would write a story inspired by the work of another author only to constantly rip on that author. Like, the Shakespeare reference is clear in the title. This means that many people who pick this book up (like myself) are hoping for a cute Shakespeare retelling or at least some clever references. Instead, it’s just Emily talking about how stupid and impossible Shakespeare’s writing is. This does not endear Emily to me.

Then again, Emily is absolutely the worst human ever, so being hated by her is really a compliment. I feel like she’s meant to be charmingly obsessive and awkward, but Emily is an actual stalker. She notices that her crush, Wes, has taken down all of his photos from the Facebook stand-in somewhere between the previous night and the following morning. SHE CHECKS ALL OF HIS PHOTOS MULTIPLE TIMES A DAY. She wishes she had a recording of his laugh so she could listen to it on repeat. Like, honestly, if this story were realistic, she would murder Wes’ new crush and lock him in her basement.

The plot is heinous, something the book even acknowledges sometimes. The book’s meant to be hilarious, but the only thing it induces is cringing. The scene where Emily inevitably needs to act in the scene she didn’t bother to memorize is abjectly painful. Her grand gesture to Wes, in which she tries to write like Shakespeare, is more-so. There’s also just know way Wes would be into this girl. And no way that Emily would have friends, considering that she is selfish and talks about NOTHING but Wes.

The writing’s also just horrific, though that should come as no surprise. Do not read this book. It is perhaps the worst thing published by Swoon Reads thus far, which is truly an accomplishment.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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