Size Doesn’t Matter (177): Internet Famous; The Duchess Deal

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 (177): Internet Famous; The Duchess DealInternet Famous by Danika Stone
Published by Swoon Reads on June 6, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads
two-half-stars

High school senior and internet sensation Madison Nakama seems to have it all: a happy family, good grades, and a massive online following for her pop-culture blog. But when her mother suddenly abandons the family, Madi finds herself struggling to keep up with all of her commitments.

Fandom to the rescue! As her online fans band together to help, an online/offline flirtation sparks with Laurent, a French exchange student. Their internet romance—played out in the comments section of her MadLibs blog—attracts the attention of an internet troll who threatens the separation of Madi’s real and online personas. With her carefully constructed life unraveling, Madi must uncover the hacker’s identity before he can do any more damage, or risk losing the people she loves the most… Laurent included.

After Stone’s first Swoon Reads attempt, All the Feels, failed to impress me, I wasn’t really planning on reading another of her books, but then Internet Famous showed up unsolicited, and it has that cover, so I thought I’d give it another shot. Internet Famous improves on All the Feels, and it definitely shows some development as an author, but I still would have liked more from it.

Though I ended up giving Internet Famous the same rating as All the Feels, I did like this one more. I waffled back and forth between 2.5 and 3 stars. Writing and character-wise, Internet Famous is a vast improvement. I really like the narrative voice in this one, and Madi’s familial struggles are very relatable and well-drawn. Her nerves are also very much on point. I found the book oddly compelling, and I read it straight through, which I really hadn’t expected to do. That aspect of the book was excellent, and I just wish that the premise and the romance had been anywhere near as good.

The romance is thoroughly meh. It’s one of the ones that is so perfect that I feel absolutely nothing. One of Madi’s blog readers “laurentabalard” turns out to be a Laurent rather than a Lauren. He also turns out to be really tall and model beautiful and French, and he’s into her from the very first moment they meet. He makes her feel comfortable about his interest, and he pursues her with maximum romanticness. Though he’s living in NYC and she’s in New Jersey, he shows up to surprise her with coffee dates, which is either thoughtful or completely creepy (especially since he just shows up at her house at one point). It’s all so perfect he could be an actual psychopath, but I think he’s meant to be a super nice guy. Mostly, he just doesn’t feel like a real person at all, because he’s so clearly fan service.

Meanwhile, the absolute worst part of the book is Madi’s blog. Madi watches or rewatches pop culture (or sometimes reads), and she writes reviews and does some liveblogs on Twitter. Some of her posts are included in the book, and I cannot believe that this girl would be remotely internet famous, let alone earning enough money to blog as a career. The reviews are two to three paragraphs long, lacking detail, and they’re also not particularly funny. And yet somehow she has thousands of readers and fans so intense they call themselves MadLibbers and buy merch. Also, seriously, MadLibs? She called her blog MadLibs? And it’s in no way a reference or a copyright violation (considering that she makes money off of it and, again, sells merch)? No way. Every single element relating to her blog was unrealistic, which is why this one ended up receiving the rating of meh.

Stone does seem to be improving on the whole, but I’m not sure that I’ll try again unless I see reviews from trusted people that show she’s figured out how to write romances that I would actually believe in and ship.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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 (177): Internet Famous; The Duchess DealThe Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Published by Avon on August 22, 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
three-half-stars

When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:
- They will be husband and wife by night only.
- No lights, no kissing.
- No questions about his battle scars.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:
- They will have dinner together every evening.
- With conversation.
- And unlimited teasing.
- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…

New Tessa Dare is always something to celebrate, even when it’s not a new favorite Tessa Dare. The Duchess Deal marks the start of a new series, and, so far, it’s not got the perfect concept of Spindle Cove or Castles Ever After, but Tessa’s delighful humor remains to make The Duchess Deal fun af.

So far as the ship goes, Tessa’s not hitting my favorite romance tropes here, though I like that she’s playing with the marriage of convenience in some atypical ways. Emma agrees to marry the grumpy duke who proposes to her so that she’ll be in a position to help a pregnant girl; at the start she has no illusions of changing the duke or of love, though she is attracted to him.

The Duke of Ashbury’s a pretty typically masculine, alpha male sort of hero, which means he’s not my favorite. He is, however, a squishy marshmallow deep down, beneath his massive insecurities about his appearance ever since half of his body was horribly burned in the war. The romance follows pretty typical lines, with Emma working to bring him out and the Duke trying to keep the marriage a transaction for heirs. With Dare’s classic focus on consent, and the fact that, for all his bluster, the Duke has trouble doing the deed at first because he doesn’t actually want to make her feel uncomfortable (and his insistence on having the lights out), he’s a more sympathetic figure than he could have been.

By far my favorite part of The Duchess Deal are the nicknames that Emma insists on giving Ash. He has a love/hate relationship with them, and they get funnier as the book progresses. Emma’s absorption into a friend group of ladies who don’t fit into society is also on point, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of them, as I believe the series is going to built around them.

Another fun romance from Dare, if not her shippiest.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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