Friday, July 12, 2013

Rock Stars and Rakes: Two Novellas

I've been reading a lot of novellas lately, because that seems like all I have the attention span for at the moment, and these are two of the most memorable. I don't think either warrants a full review, but as a pairing? Why not.

the scandalous dissolute no good mr wright cover

The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright by Tessa Dare

Eliza would love to go to balls and parties like her sisters, but her dad has decided she's a troublemaker and must wait until all of them are married before she can make her debut. In the meantime, she meets Harry Wright, a rakehell who likes to encourage her to misbehave. Is it possible these two crazy kids will get together???

This is the first book I've read by Tessa Dare, and I really enjoyed her voice. It was light-hearted and fun and clever, kind of like Julia Quinn but better (I've never been a big Quinn fan, for what it's worth). That being said, I did have a few problems with this novella.

First (and most) of all, The Scandalous, Dissolute, No-Good Mr. Wright (hereafter known as TSDNGMW, because carpal tunnel) has a prologue. In a novella??? Are you freaking kidding me? What in the name of... ::deep breaths:: Naturally it's not labeled as a prologue, and normally the subsequent rage I would feel over this fact would make me immediately DNF a book; so I think it's a testament to Dare's writing style that I was able to keep reading and not get too upset about it. Somewhat. I tried not to think about it and that almost worked.

The thing with the prologue (yes, I'm going to keep harping on it) was that 1. I could tell while I was reading it that it was a prologue, just because it had that tone of "Oh, I need to capture the reader's attention with a super-intense meet-cute scene;" and 2. the prologue was substantially better than the rest of the book. WHICH IS WHY I FREAKING HATE PROLOGUES. I'm not going to pretend I understand the psychology of writing prologues, because begin at the beginning is like the number one rule of storytelling, but it seems as if prologues are always either different (read: better) stories from the actual novel OR they're just boring and pointless infodumps. And when it comes to the former, one really should be bringing one's A-game that way for the entire book.

That's not to say the rest of TSDNGMW was bad, though. It was still very entertaining and Eliza and Harry had insane chemistry. I also liked how Harry's true character was gradually revealed, although I felt like more could have been done with the story of Eliza's supposed indiscretion. The ending was kind of sappy, hard to believe and didn't gel well with the rest of the book. The heir to a dukedom is going to join the army as a PRIVATE? Yeah, right. That stretches the bounds of credibility even for a romance novel.

Nevertheless, like I said, I did enjoy Dare's writing style and would be willing to read another book by her. As long as it didn't have a prologue.

one hit wonder cover

One Hit Wonder by Elyssa Patrick

Jane is the personal assistant to Damon Suarez (there's an attractive name), a singer who peaked as a teenager with his single hit song. Now in his 30's, Suarez is still living the life: performing in concerts, hanging out with groupies, and perpetually planning his big come-back. Then Jane throws him for a loop when she gives her two weeks notice. He has no idea that Jane is quitting because she's hopelessly in love with him. Will these two crazy kids get together before Jane gathers up her resume and leaves?

russel brand
Visual approximation of Damon Suarez.

One Hit Wonder was kind of hokey and cheesy, but what really bothered me about it was Damon. Imagine if Russel Brand and David Cassidy had a baby with the fashion sense of Rod Stewart and you have a pretty good idea of what Damon is like. Why is this attractive? I don't know. It was kind of a train wreck. Also: why is a one-hit-wonder teen idol considered a "rock star" in this scenario? I'm sorry, but no. If you're going to title your series "Rock Stars in Love," you need to have actual ROCK STARS as your heroes. Not pop stars, not rappers (although I would totally read a book with a rapper hero), not jazz musicians, not folksy singer-song writers, but ACTUAL. ROCK. STARS.

So my sensibilities were offended on that account. Other than that, the romance was kind of meh, the dancing sounded almost as embarrassing as the clothes, and I swear the author mentioned Damon had brown eyes like eighty-five times. I did like the sex scenes, though. wink wink, nudge nudge

Despite my problems with this novella, I would like to read one of Elyssa Patrick's full-length novels, more because I love rock star heroes than because I was terribly enamoured of her writing style. Just as long as the novels have actual rock stars.

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