Size Doesn’t Matter (213): Practice Makes Perfect; Your Wicked Heart; That Scandalous Summer

Size Doesn’t Matter (213): Practice Makes Perfect; Your Wicked Heart; That Scandalous SummerPractice Makes Perfect by Julie James
Published by Berkley Sensation on March 3, 2009
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 291
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
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one-star

Behind closed doors, they're laying down the law.

When it comes to the laws of attraction...

Payton Kendall and J.D. Jameson are lawyers who know the meaning of objection. A feminist to the bone, Payton has fought hard to succeed in a profession dominated by men. Born wealthy, privileged, and cocky, J.D. has fought hard to ignore her. Face-to-face, they're perfectly civil. They have to be. For eight years they have kept a safe distance and tolerated each other as coworkers for one reason: to make partner at the firm.

...There are no rules.

But all bets are off when they're asked to join forces on a major case. Though apprehensive at first, they begin to appreciate each other's dedication to the law—and the sparks between them quickly turn into attraction. But the increasingly hot connection does not last long when they discover that only one of them will be named partner. Now it's an all-out war. And the battle between the sexes is bound to make these lawyers hot under the collar...

After I read and fucking loved The Hating Game, Practice Makes Perfect got recommended to me a lot as a read-a-like. On the surface, it certainly sounds like it should scratch similar itches, being another hate to love workplace romance. Practice Makes Perfect has a lot of great ratings from readers I usually agree with, but, you guys, I am decidedly not a fan. This book is nowhere near as good as The Hating Game.

From the start, I was skeptical about this book. Though the writing is pretty decent and I think James could likely write a book I might be into (and I’ll try at least one more), Practice Makes Perfect starts off on the wrong foot. Practice Makes Perfect uses dual third person limited narration, and that’s the first issue. There’s no way for me to ship this after being in J.D.’s head. See, J.D. is an incredibly sexist conservative douchecanoe of a man. Near the start of the book, he argues with Payton about how it’s “reverse discrimination” (he actually literally says this) for a magazine to do a list of 50 successful female lawyers when they could not do so for male lawyers. He’s not just antagonizing her either. He also tells his male friend how unfair it is that their law firm wants specifically to increase the number of female partners. J.D. is a sexist mansplainer, and he absolutely would have voted for Trump.

So yeah, I immediately absolutely loathed J.D. Payton, according to the description is a “feminist to the bone,” but that’s not particularly true. She’s a feminist, but she also goes along with all but completely flagrant sexism. Her mother, who’s a much more staunch feminist, she views with some amount of derision. Payton’s POV is also full of antiquated sexist ideas and microaggressions, and it’s all the worse for the fact that she’s supposed to be a major feminist. And, FYI, J.D.’s sexism isn’t ever dealt with through a character arc; I kept expecting him to confront his privilege and shitty beliefs but nope.

Setting aside all of that, as much as it’s possible to, I had a host of other problems with Practice Makes Perfect. Where the office games/wars/pranks in The Hating Game were charming and harmless one-upmanship, the ones in Practice Makes Perfect are overtly cruel. This culminates in J.D. cutting off part of Payton’s $400 heels and gluing it back on, so that it will break off while she’s in court and embarrass her. He changes his mind but too late, and in an embarrassment porn scene that’s meant to be funny, her shoe breaks and her skirt splits so the whole room sees her thong and her ass. She recovers well, but it’s such fucking bullshit. The “banter” between the two is forced and awkward, so I felt zero spark between them. The sex, when it finally happens right at the end of the book, FADES TO BLACK. I don’t think I’ve EVER seen that in an adult romance. What the actual fuck.

Though lots of people love Practice Makes Perfect, I can’t personally recommend it. Read (or reread) The Hating Game instead. Unless you’re a staunch republican who likes romance novels and then idk maybe?

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

Size Doesn’t Matter (213): Practice Makes Perfect; Your Wicked Heart; That Scandalous SummerYour Wicked Heart by Meredith Duran
Series: Rules for the Reckless #0.5
Published by Pocket Star on December 11, 2012
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 100
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
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two-stars

Meredith Duran returns with another witty, humorous and smart romance in this Rules for the Reckless novella. Fans of Julia Quinn, Jane Feather and Eloisa James will delight in Meredith's trademark headstrong heroine, cunning hero and tale of deep emotional intensity!

Amanda Thomas is stranded a thousand miles from home. Jilted by a viscount and abandoned without a penny, she'll do whatever it takes to secure a berth on an England-bound ship. But when the anchor lifts, she's not the only impostor on board—for the stranger in her bed claims to be the real viscount. Can she trust this devastatingly attractive scoundrel? Or is his offer of friendship only a pretext for seduction...and revenge?

I’ve been so looking forward to Meredith Duran. Several people recommended her as a romance author I’d likely enjoy. Let’s just say that I didn’t get off to a great start with Your Wicked Heart.

Bear with me because I read this quite a while ago, since, you might have noticed, I didn’t blog for a very long time. The heroine, Amanda Thomas, is poor and has just been abandoned by the viscount who proposed to her, only to have another man show up claiming to be said viscount. He, thinking her a lying golddigger, treats her like shit, but, on the boat trip back to England, they have to share a bed and end up having feelings. Ummmm.

I didn’t buy their relationship at all, and I found the connection more creepy than romantic. Though the writing itself wasn’t bad and the concept has promise, the execution had me cringing rather than smiling.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Size Doesn’t Matter (213): Practice Makes Perfect; Your Wicked Heart; That Scandalous SummerThat Scandalous Summer by Meredith Duran
Series: Rules for the Reckless #1
Published by Pocket Books on January 29, 2013
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 372
Format: Paperback
Source: Library
AmazonThe Book DepositoryAudible
Goodreads
one-half-stars

One Daring Widow

In the social whirl of Regency England, Elizabeth Chudderley is at the top of every guest list, the life of every party, and the belle of every ball. But her friends and admirers would be stunned to know the truth: that the merriest widow in London is also the loneliest. Behind the gaiety and smiles lies a secret longing -- for something, or someone, to whisk her away ...

One Reluctant Suitor

Raised in scandal, Lord Michael de Grey is convinced that love is a losing gamble -- and seduction the only game worth playing. But when duty threatens to trump everything he desires, the only way out is marriage to a woman of his brother’s choosing. Elizabeth Chudderley is delightful, delicious -- and distressingly attractive. With such a captivating opponent, Michael isn’t quite sure who is winning the game. How can such passionate players negotiate a marriage of necessity -- when their hearts have needs of their own?

My first full Meredith Duran novel might be my last. Even though she came highly recommended, and I’ve heard the fifth book in this series is great, I don’t like to skip around. This book was so atrocious I really can’t imagine reading a bunch more Duran novels.

That Scandalous Summer opens with doctor Lord Michael de Grey finding sexy and infamous widow Elizabeth Chudderley passed out drunk in his rose bushes. He takes her inside and treats her, perving on her hotness while he does so, because that’s totally professional. This really sets the tone for the book.

Though Duran does some atypical things for romance, she doesn’t do them in ways I found delightful. For example, Elizabeth is older than Michael, which would be awesome, if I was able to ship them at all. Elizabeth also has a drinking problem (obviously), but it just sort of disappears, because I guess his love cured it? The execution of this plot really left me cold. And judgmental.

The sex scenes, too, are terrible. Apparently Elizabeth is “wet, wetter than the ocean,” and she “tasted of the ocean” as well. Metaphors are dangerous, authors. It may seem like a fab idea to give your sex scene an ocean theme, but it’s not. It just leaves the reader salty.

I feel quite defensive of romance as a genre, and this is a book that would absolutely give people ideas I don’t want them to have. It’s very silly but not in a knowing and clever way like Tessa Dare.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

2 responses to “Size Doesn’t Matter (213): Practice Makes Perfect; Your Wicked Heart; That Scandalous Summer”

  1. Sarah J. says:

    I actually just read Meredith Duran for the first time last week. I read The Sins of Lord Lockwood and I thought it was pretty fun. Not the most amazing HR, but I really enjoyed. I’m not really interested in her other work, but I’m glad I picked her up.

    • Christina Franke says:

      I’m glad you had a better experience than I did! But if it wasn’t good enough to want to pick up more of her work, I don’t think I’m going to be in a hurry to try her again myself either.

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