Saturday, 28 June 2014

Mini Reviews: Five Romance Novellas

Only With You by Cecilia Gray (via Netgalley)
This is the fifth book in the Jane Austen Academy series, a modern adaptation of Austen's stories that sees all the heroines attending the same school. This book focused on Emma. I quite liked it. I liked the relationship she had with Knight and I thought it was a pretty accurate portrayal of Emma in a modern setting. It doesn't adapt the whole book, instead picking up a couple of incidents to cover within its limited space, and I think that's for the best. As I've said before, this series is by no means a perfect adaptation of Austen's novels, but it is a fun and easy read and obviously written with a lot of affection.
Rating: 3/5
Red at Night by Katie McGarry
This novella tells the story of Stella, a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and Jonah, a rich, popular guy who of course isn't without his own issues. They keep meeting at the cemetary and soon form a connection. This book was OK, it wasn't bad but it didn't blow me away either. It's quite short so of course you don't spend much time with the characters but I don't think that was the reason I didn't really connect with them. They just didn't feel particularly real to me, I suppose. Stella especially seemed to have been created just to deliver a particular message - this book was inspired by the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation as part of the "More Than Words" series after all, so her story relates to that and it just felt like the "lesson" was piled on a bit thick. But I think fans of Katie McGarry would enjoy it anyway.
Rating: 3/5

The Wicked Confessions of Lady Cecelia Stanton by Viveka Portman (via Netgalley)
This book is in the same series as another novella I read recently that I hated, but I'm trying to get through some of the many books I've requested on Netgalley in overexcited moods, and since it was only short I thought I'd read it anyway. I liked it a little better than the other story, but it still wasn't great. The olde worlde language wasn't quite as bad here and the characters were slightly less annoying. But only slightly. Basically, this book focuses on the newly married Cecelia, who gets "lessons" in how to please her husband (and actually just pleases herself) from her best friend and maid. So yeah it's a lot of sexytimes, but... meh. It's just not very good.
Rating: 2/5

Hero Duty by Jenny Schwartz (via Netgalley)
Jessica is a billionaire who gets bullied by her family. After the recent death of her father, she has to face her wicked step-mother and step-brother, who are trying to take the company that she's inherited away from her. Not feeling strong enough to face them alone, she hires ex-soldier Brodie to be her "emotional bodyguard". The whole premise just made no sense to me and it didn't really become clearer as I read the book. I feel like Jessica didn't even know what she wanted out of Brodie (well, other than sexytimes and love within five minutes of knowing each other), but if you ignore the weak reason they've been thrown together there is some nice scenes between the two. But I didn't actually like either of them, and Brodie in particular was a complete douche multiple times and behaved in completely unrealistic ways. So I didn't love this one. It was a quick read but very underwhelming.
Rating: 2.5/5

It's Love, Dude by Jenny Schwartz (via Netgalley)
This book actually came out before Hero Duty but I didn't realise it was part of the same series until I started reading the latter. It's about Brodie's brother, Zane, a world champion surfer who is back in his hometown for a press event. He quickly falls for Molly, who works for the local MP and is friends with Zane's granddad. I liked this book a lot more than Hero Duty, the characters were way less annoying. I still didn't love it because I'm not a fan of instalove, and it also didn't make sense that Zane and Molly didn't know each other at all considering they grew up in the same smalltown and apparently knew everyone else, but it was entertaining enough. It would make a good beach read.
Rating: 3/5


  1. Novellas almost never work for me - they always feel rushed and like the story wasn't allowed to develop properly and the characters weren't as well constructed as they could be. I've found a few exceptions to the rule but....ultimately I'm usually in the camp that finds the majority of them just "okay"

    1. Yep I think I'm in the same boat. Such a shame, often they're good concepts but the execution doesn't work.