We're going to start a new series today, composed entirely of little reviews. Reviewlets, if you will. Think of them like owlets - baby reviews that, sadly, will never fledge and leave the nest. These are the sort of review I post on GoodReads or Amazon when I don't have enough to say about the book to warrant a post. I'm also not going to add them to the searchable database (unless the masses demand).
For added fun, I'm giving these books a ranking based on whether or not I recommend them to fellow readers: DNF (Did Not Finish), Read it Soon, or Read it Eventually.
Wilde in Love, by Eloisa James
I tried to like the hero, Alaric, but I didn't. The book was really slow to start and he was arrogant and dismissive of his fans. After about 10%, I put it away in favor of the next book on this list. (Please set down your pitchforks.)
A Duke in Shining Armor, by Loretta Chase (This week's giveaway!)
Read it Soon
Despite Loretta Chase's insistence on referring to men as "males" and women as "females," I really liked this book. For better or worse, I'm now accustomed to her frequent assertion that "he was a man, and so he did X," so it doesn't ruin my reading of her books any longer. While I do think that men are capable of not staring at a woman's ankles, I was quite happy that the heroine, Olympia, finally got the attention and admiration that she deserved. This is a true "romp," with a runaway bride and all sorts of road trip shenanigans. All of the characters are more complicated than they initially appear, and Chase's love for fashion sets the story firmly in time and place. If you can overlook the implausibility of three dukes raising hell together for years and then falling for the same woman, you'll like this one. I will add that a big part of the central conflict is Olympia's frustration with the institution of marriage. I found some elements of her Dressmakers series to be slut-shamey, but this was a refreshing and much more progressive novel. Well done.
The Pact, by Karina Halle
Read it Eventually
I keep reading (listening) to Karina Halle's books and I'm never quite sure why. They seem to draw a 200 page plot out to nearly 400 pages, which is immensely frustrating while I'm reading but... I keep going back for another? There's something about her characters, I think, that keeps me hooked. I'm never sure if I really like them, but they do feel real and their conflicts are sometimes annoying so. The messy friendships in this book, a true friends-to-lovers story, are like something from my own life. This person dated her and then they broke up and started dating this other friend and now they're with this other friend... You know the story. So the frustrations I have with her books are ultimately what pulls me back, sort of like real friendships. If you see her books on sale or if you have the Audible Romance package, check out THE PACT or SMUT.
Lady Be Bad, by Megan Frampton
Sometimes it's not the book, it's me. This was probably one of those times, as I put it down about halfway in and I don't usually abandon books after having committed that much time. With a plot of good-girl-going-sort of-bad, this felt to me like Sarah MacLean's NINE RULES but not as original. Most of the plot devices were just past my ability to suspend disbelief. For example, I could never believe that the hero was taking the heroine out on dates in order to woo her for his brother, who didn't have the time. That's just not a thing. For starters, the heroine was supposedly in such dire straits that she didn't need to be wooed. Second, that's not how relationships work... and the story does indeed hinge upon that fact. It's not that I didn't believe that the two of them were a good fit. It's because I did believe it that I didn't finish the book. I could see the ending and just hit fast-forward in my head.