Size Doesn’t Matter (41): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (41): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerTwice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare
Series: Stud Club #2
Published by Ballantine on June 22, 2010
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 386
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Luck is a double-edged sword for brooding war hero Rhys St. Maur. His death wish went unanswered on the battlefield, while fate allowed the murder of his friend in the elite gentlemen’s society known as the Stud Club. Out of options, Rhys returns to his ancestral home on the moors of Devonshire, expecting anything but a chance at redemption in the arms of a beautiful innkeeper, who dares him to take on the demons of his past — and the sweet temptation of a woman’s love.

Meredith Maddox believes in hard work, not fate, and romance isn’t part of her plan. But when Rhys returns, battle-scarred, world-weary, and more dangerously attractive than ever, the lovely widow is torn between determination and desire. As a deep mystery and dangerous smugglers threaten much more than their passionate reckoning, Meredith discovers that she must trust everything to a wager her heart placed long ago.

Despite the lows of the Wanton Dairymaids series, which tbh were many, Twice Tempted by a Rogue has turned out to be my least favorite Dare book. It turns out that totally unshipping is apparently not as bad as being completely bored by them.

I really liked Rhys in One Dance with a Duke, and I thought his book would be so fun, but apparently my instincts were super off on that one. He and Meredith are both good, earnest people who want to do right and oh my god they bored me nigh to tears. I slogged through this book. The only parts I actively enjoyed were the sex scenes, and, even there, I gave so few shits about them that I didn’t enjoy them as much as the ones in any other book.

At least in A Lady of Persuasion, there were lots of scenes with other characters to prop up my interest, but this book is fully Rhys and Meredith’s. One Dance with a Duke was so funny and lively and shippy, and this one was tepid. There’s scarcely a humorous moment to be had, but there is a melodramatic carriage accident. Even the side ship didn’t deliver.

That said, objectively I do appreciate some things about Twice Tempted by a Rogue. The sexual dynamics are atypical. The rogue in the title has to be Meredith, because she’s the sexual aggressor and the more experienced sexually. She’s pushing for casual sex and trying to seduce him out of his waiting for marriage plan. If only he wasn’t pushing for her to give up her job which she loves and then didn’t totally get his way on that. That role reversal doesn’t happen much in romance novels, even with Dare whose heroines do always have consensual sex. I like that she stepped out of the typical rake and innocent romance, but I wish that Rhys and Meredith were more interesting so I could enjoy it.

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 (41): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerThe Pages Between Us by Lindsey Leavitt, Robin Mellom
Published by HarperCollins on February 9, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Told in letters, posters, blog posts, homework assignments, and more, The Pages Between Us is a totally fun, totally earnest snapshot of middle grade friendship—and what it truly means to be there for someone during the ups, downs, and everything in between.

Piper and Olivia have been best friends since…well, forever. But they're distressed to find that their new middle school schedules aren't giving them enough together-time. Luckily, an idea sparks when Piper finds a cute, sparkly notebook to disguise as her "French Class" homework. It's genius—now the two BFFs can stick together all the time. And document their adventures—you know, for anthropology's sake.

But as the two navigate the tricky new world of sixth grade, they realize that they may need to branch out more than they originally thought. Their notebook, once a life raft, begins to feel like a big responsibility. Can they grow up, without growing apart?

The Pages Between Us is super cute, but I’m again sitting here and thinking I should probably stop requesting so much middle grade. Since I’ve enjoyed YA contemporaries by both Leavitt and Mellom, I wanted to read their combined middle grade effort. It’s super cute, and I think if I were in elementary or middle school I probably would have had a lot of feels about it.

Man do I feel old reading books like this. I spent most of the book trying to decide if it was reasonable for a sixth grader (Olivia) to have had a crush on the same guy for years. I mean, it must have started in like second or third grade, which tbh is a lot of focus at that age. I think I had my first vague crush-ish thing in second grade but it didn’t exactly take a lot of my thoughts. I got my first lingering crush in fifth grade. And I know the popular kids started “dating” in fourth or so. Idk whatever I AM SO OLD NOW.

As a lover of middle grade ships, I was hoping there would be a cute one, and there’s some potential, but nothing happens really. It’s a lot of friends discussing boys but not any real romance. That’s probably more fitting for the intended audience but a bit disappointing for me.

The friendship dynamics are pretty well done. Piper and Olivia are best friends split apart by the cruelty of fate (aka class schedules) and they communicate in a notebook passed between classes. That conceit is a good one but does sometimes lead to some believability issues, like when they have conversations by writing in the notebook even thought they’re somewhere together and could talk OUT LOUD. But whatever. The conflict that arises when two friends go from being attached at the hip to having other interests and friends is good subject matter for kids (or lbr humans of all ages). I couldn’t really tell Olivia and Piper’s voices apart, but the writing is pleasant and humorous and what kept me going.

One thing did annoy me, though. Olivia’s mother is from Atlanta (Atlaaaaaanta), and the book references multiple times how southern she is and how her accent comes out. As someone who’s actually from Atlanta, that’s not someone from Atlanta. Anywhere else in Georgia, sure, but not Atlanta.

The Pages Between Us wasn’t what I wanted (aka more YA romance from these guys), but it was cute and fun. It’s sort of like the Jessica Darling middle grades but for a younger set.

Size Doesn’t Matter (41): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerTell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte BFYR on April 5, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Gifted
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Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Julie Buxbaum mixes comedy and tragedy, love and loss, pain and elation, in her debut YA novel filled with characters who will come to feel like friends.

Tell Me Three Things is a cute, fluffy read,  and it’s got an excellent ship. Also, the whole falling in love through letters/emails/texts thing is one of my favorite shippy tropes. I recommend it if you’re into that stuff.

However, this didn’t become a new favorite because it’s basically the hetero younger step-sibling of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which was the only book with this sort of romance where I wasn’t a hundred percent sure who the mystery writer would be from the very beginning. I mean, it’s a cute construct and knowing isn’t a huge detractor from the enjoyment.

That said, I don’t really get why SN didn’t want to meet Jessie. Blue didn’t want to meet Simon because he wasn’t ready to be out. View Spoiler » The whole SN thing going on as long as it did felt like a forced plot rather than something believable.

Much as I loved the ship, I wasn’t super engaged in the rest of it. My attention wandered a bit when the focus shifted. That’s not really normal for me, so I think it must be something about the voice when Jessie wasn’t engaged in dialog.

This one’s a fun, quick read and worth checking out, but it’s not as good as similar novels that preceded it.

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