Size Doesn’t Matter (43): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (43): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerThree Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare
Series: Stud Club #3
Published by Ballantine on July 27, 2010
Genres: Romance, Historical
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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In Tessa Dare’s dazzling new trilogy, the men of the Stud Club live and play by their own rules—until passion changes the game.

The bastard son of a nobleman, Julian Bellamy is now polished to perfection, enthralling the ton with wit and charm while clandestinely plotting to ruin the lords, ravish the ladies, and have the last laugh on a society that once spurned him. But after meeting Leo Chatwick, a decent man and founder of an elite gentlemen’s club, and Lily, Leo’s enchanting sister, Julian reconsiders his wild ways. And when Leo’s tragic murder demands that Julian hunt for justice, he vows to see the woman he secretly loves married to a man of her own class.

Lily, however, has a very different husband in mind. She’s loved Julian forever, adores the man beneath the rakish façade, and wants to savor the delicious attraction they share—as his wife. His insistence on marrying her off only reinforces her intent to prove that he is the only man for her. Obsessed with catching a killer, Julian sinks back to the gutters of his youth, forcing Lily to reach out with a sweet, reckless passion Julian can’t resist. Can her desire for a scoundrel save them both—or will dangerous secrets threaten more than their tender love?

*sighs deeply* Going through the older Tessa Dare series has mostly been an exercise in masochism. Every book has a few elements that point to the wonderful books to come, but, as a whole, they’re just not that great. Three Nights with a Scoundrel is perhaps my least favorite, though it’s not actually the worst of the bunch. This one bored me, which was even more disappointing because Lily was such a delight in One Dance with a Duke, by far the best of her first six books and the only one I would recommend that anyone seek out.

Lily and Julian are boring. I was so hoping to love Lily’s book, because, when hanging out with Amelia, she was so fabulous. I love that Dare’s written a deaf romance novel heroine. I just wish she had more personality in her actual book. I wish that it wasn’t all tied around this murder plot that’s been building since book one. Dare really overdoes the melodrama. While sometimes the chemistry between the leads makes that tolerable, I really didn’t feel it between Lily and Julian. It’s a friends to lovers thing, and it just didn’t really work for me.

It’s weird how it’s the ones like this that bore me that really are a struggle to get through, whereas the ones that I dislike but find entertaining end up being better reads. The only shining light here was the role for Peter Faraday. It just wasn’t enough though. To say I’m disappointed in how the original Dare series were would be an understatement, especially since I spent a bunch of money on these ebooks, but oh well. I had to know. Besides, the Tessa Dare of Spindle Cove and Castles Ever After can have my money.

My official recommendation: don’t read any Tessa Dare from before A Night to Surrender, except for One Dance with a Duke and the novella How to Catch a Wild Viscount, the only ones that are actually funny.

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 (43): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerLove, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Published by Swoon Reads on April 19, 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.

Speaking of Tessa Dare, I know Love, Lies and Spies was pitched as being Pride and Prejudice-esque, but it’s actually trying to be a YA Tessa Dare. The P&P comparison makes no sense really, aside from them both being romances set in roughly the same period, so don’t go into it hoping for that.

I say it’s trying to be Tessa Dare because it doesn’t quite get there. Love, Lies and Spies is a cute little book, but the voice and characterization aren’t quite on point, so it doesn’t make me snort and guffaw and chuckle and mayhap swoon the way Castles Ever After and Spindle Cove do.

The romance is fine, but it’s not really more than that. There’s no hate to love here, and Anstey hasn’t quite got a total hold on banter yet. There are some sparkling moments, but mostly it’s somewhat lackluster. The relationship between Spencer and Juliana is still the best part of the book, but it could have been so much more.

Despite being somewhat underwhelmed, there’s enough good here that I’ll be watching to see what Anstey does next, because I do think this book has good bones. I think she could get there and do a YA Tessa Dare historical romance thing. Please let that be a trend that catches on. In the meantime, you might be happier picking up These Vicious Masks or The Dark Days Club.

Size Doesn’t Matter (43): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerA Wicked Thing by Rhiannon Thomas
Series: A Wicked Thing #1
Published by HarperTeen on February 24, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Retelling
Pages: 337
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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Rhiannon Thomas's dazzling debut novel is a spellbinding reimagining of Sleeping Beauty and what happens after happily ever after.

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her "true love" is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

Rhiannon Thomas weaves together vivid scenes of action, romance, and gorgeous gowns to reveal a richly imagined world … and Sleeping Beauty as she’s never been seen before.

Rereading A Wicked Thing before diving into the sequel was a bit of a slog. I’ve not been in a bookish frame of mind of late (who even am I?), and this book is very slowly paced. I found the pace even slower this second time around. I know this book didn’t work for a lot of people, and I totally get why, but I still really like this book even if it was time-consuming to get through.

The slow pace and lack of action is actually what makes this book really stand out for me, what makes it unique. Thomas does such a good job making this Sleeping Beauty retelling feel realistic in terms of Aurora’s reactions to things. The weakness of the pacing is also a strength, so whether you’ll be into this book is really going to depend on a) your patience and b) whether you connect to Aurora.

The romance is minimal and mostly putting some possibilities in front of Aurora, but, again, Aurora isn’t ready. She doesn’t have kissing on her mind really because she’s freaked out about what’s happening to her.

I love the way Thomas chose to end the book, and I’m curious to see Aurora finally take action in Kingdom of Ashes.

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (43): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger”

  1. I totally agree with you about A Wicked Thing. I loved how realistic Aurora’s reactions were, and I enjoyed the slower pace, even if I wanted more at the same time. I got Kingdom of Ashes recently, really hoping I like it as well!
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