Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

Dreaming of You (The Gamblers, #2)

Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I have three issues here, and the first one is mostly my own fault: when I read the description I have imagined something different, and then I felt disappointed, which lowered my impression of the whole book. …Which would be why I usually avoid reading descriptions and reviews that include summaries of the book.


The second one is that this book is like an overstylized romance on steroids. Everything feels just too exaggerated, tuned to max level of whatever they are: the overly damaged hero, who of course is the richest man in England; the overly saintly innocent heroine, who of course doesn’t want to be innocent anymore; the overly cowardly almost-fiancée with more mommy issues than brains; the overly despicable and malicious former lover/female villain; the overly helpful side characters; the overly dramatic unnecessary drama, followed by numerous overly cheesy declarations, and so on. Everything is just so THICK. Then there’s the problem of drama for the sake of drama, villainy for the sake of villainy, stubbornness of the sake of the stubbornness, and the fact that 90% of the plot simply rests on the issues of people not pulling their heads out of their asses and nothing more. It doesn’t really feel logical or organic.
And the third one is the constant head-hopping.


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An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

An Offer from a Gentleman (Bridgertons, #3)

An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


One thought: “Omg, please please please don’t be some kind of Cinderella retelling…” was pounding in my head while I was trying to read through the prologue… and then of course it goes and does just that.
Which will make this review even more subjective and negative than usual. I never liked Cinderella, and that is mostly because the character/idea of disgustingly malicious and abusive ‘evil stepmother’ sends me into fits of rage and disgust the second I see it, and the fact that everyone runs in circles of angst because everyone keeps lying to each other.
After I finished the prologue I knew that the only way I will be able to read this book is by sometimes skipping through whole pages, because the moment the ‘stepmother’ appeared on the page I would want to commit murder in some violent way and I don’t enjoy the feeling. And I don’t read books to experience it.

Angst is definitely not what I look for in this series.
While I’m sure some readers loooved the drama (the evilness, the worrying about how the main characters will escape their increasingly angsty circumstances, eagerly waiting for the truth to finally come out), I personally hate hate hate it. And I hate plots that are built on angst that is built on lies on top of lies on top of lies. Plots like this are not enjoyable to read at all, and I had to read this book very selectively to get through it while hoping that maybe at least the next one could be more like the first one.
Benedict is the only good thing about this book, and it made him a character to ‘feel sorry for’ in double: first because his characters in general invites some feeling sorry for (almost of maternal variety), and then because it’s unfortunate that he is the one who ended up with a book with a plot like this.
The main character Sophie just might be the most irritating female main character in the series so far (and books by Julia Quinn I’ve read in general). She was determined to make her own life and everything around her more complicated at every step.
Then there’s the fact that it didn’t really feel as romantic and all that he made his advances before he knew the truth. Or decided that he didn’t care.
There were a few good and fun moments in this book, but there’s also way too much cheesy angst, too much of too cheesy romance lines, and too much of irritating mess in general. Not a book to relax with and enjoy peacefully at all.



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The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever (Bevelstoke, #1)

The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever by Julia Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I have a lot of mixed feeling about this one. I feel it’s about 3.5 stars, and am still not sure if I rounded the correct way.
While I don’t believe this book is one of the author’s earliest, judging by the publication date, it certainly reads like one. Both plot and writing-wise.
On one hand, it certainly had its perfect moments (like the brilliant first chapter), and on the other hand the whole main ‘drama’ of the story (the one with obsessing about people not saying the words) and the whole conclusion were utterly and toothachingly cliched and cheesy. In fact, there were uncharacteristically (at least I’d like to think so) many cliched and cheesy moments in this, compared to other books.
Then there is the fact that the main female friendship was of a rather insincere nature that shouldn’t be normalized, and the problem that the issue of the ‘friendship’ being half-sided was never recognized or addressed. As well as the fact that there was a number of side characters who were left too glaringly underdeveloped and faceless, which I also felt was uncharacteristic for the author.
And there is also the fact that POV floated all over the place.
In all, this book just reads very much like ‘one of very first books’, where there are some good ideas but execution lacks style and sophistication that develops with experience.



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The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2)

The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Perhaps a level lower on the fun and giggles meter than the first book, but still delightful. Even brilliant in some places, like the roles bees played. I love the fact that behind all the humor and romance these books pick up on some very real and serious issues that occur in human psyche and do a pretty good job of showing what goes on in people’s heads.



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Keegan’s Lady by Catherine Anderson

Keegan's Lady (Keegan-Paxton #1)

Keegan’s Lady by Catherine Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


A romance so thick and corny it will be perfect for those who people who want to bury themselves in it like in a bathtub of honey and not think much.

I only read 2 other books by Catherine Anderson, and while it is enough to realize that her romances tend to be extra-archetypal in their structure and content (predictable story arch, strongly female perspective, unbelievably perfect males, damaged girls who carry some deep emotional trauma but are also of course very pretty and domestic (usually great cooks), etc.), this one just had a bit too much of ‘over the top’ element. Ace, while carrying the ‘dangerous bad boy in black’ image visually, is practically a psychiatrist in one moment, saint in another, and notices and thinks all the right things all the time–the picture of ‘ideal man’ from female perspective drawn thick and unapologetic. And it goes on like that: the hero is too perfect, the heroine is too much of a ‘tortured innocence’, her brother is too unbearable (every time he opens his moth you’ll want to vomit, but apparently he needs to be understood and forgiven), her father is too horrific, the romance and setting is too idealistic, the mess in the end is too dramatic… The story and world setting ‘outside’ the relationship of the two also seemed thinner than in other books.
There’s certainly a time and place for books like this, when your mind might need something entirely unrealistic, some great evil that hurt women to be banished by a ‘bad boy price charming’ who is also drawn entirely whom a female perspective and will make everything right… But I have to say there’s such thing as laying it on too thick.
I’m also kind of glad that I read ‘Summer Breeze’ before this, because I’m not sure I would’ve picked up these series if I judged them by this book…



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