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Author: Sarah MacLean

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLeanA Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #2
Published by Avon on August 30th 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 392
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1834)

First Line(s): Miss Lillian Hargrove was the most beautiful woman in England.

 

I always get a little giddy when a new Sarah MacLean books is placed in my hands and I was super excited to get an early copy of her newest, A SCOT IN THE DARK. I really liked the first book in this new series, THE ROGUE WORTH TAKING (my review) and was looking forward to seeing more of King’s friend the Duke of Warnick. And while I liked this book I didn’t love it as much as the first in the series but any book that has Freddie (aka the Earl of Stanhope) in it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I enjoyed the chemistry between Warnick and Lily but, for me, there was just something missing from this one and looking back I can’t quite put my finger on what.

A SCOT IN THE DARK was a quick read but its also one that I found easy to put down. There was nothing about it that made me want to keep picking up. Though when I was reading it I was throughly engaged and even laughed out loud on several occasions. There is some good banter between the hero and heroine but they just paled in comparison to King and Sophie from the first book. Those two just set a really high bar and Warnick and Lily didn’t live up. But they did have some really fun scenes together and I loved the cameos from the Talbot sisters. I think perhaps, part of my disappointment with A SCOT IN THE DARK is because it wasn’t a Talbot sister book. I just got really attached to that crazy family and it was hard to say goodbye to them.

scot-in-the-dark-quote

My disappointment is all my own. I think that any devoted reader of Sarah MacLean will love A SCOT IN THE DARK. There is humor and adventure and potential for scandal around every corner. There is chemistry and heart ache and a book that has a lot but still remains true to the love story at its core. There is some fun banter between the main characters and some good side scenes when they are not sharing a page. I just wish that I was able to connect with the lead characters more which would have had me liking this book more than I did.

A SCOT IN THE DARK is a book that can be read as a standalone but why would you want to? It totally helps to read all of MacLean’s books in publication order because then you can enjoy the cameos all the more. I just love how those little cameos really help to flesh out a world and make it seem more real across the various series that MacLean writes. And MacLean can write, that is something that never changes from book to book. She is a gifted author and one that I think all lovers of romance should experience. I know that I, for one, am already looking forward to her next book even though April 2017 seems like its an eternity away!

 

irishdarkblue

ir-scot-in-the-dark

Add Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale to Goodreads. (Click here for my review.)

Add Duke of My Heart by Kelly Bowen to Goodreads.

three-stars
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Monday, December 28, 2015

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Excerpt, Review1 Comment

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Review + Excerpt: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLeanThe Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel,
Also in this series: A Scot in the Dark
Published by Avon on 29 Dec 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, People & Places, Road Trip, Social Issues
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

Sophie’s Society Splash

When Sophie, the least interesting of the Talbot sisters, lands her philandering brother-in-law backside-first in a goldfish pond in front of all society, she becomes the target of very public aristocratic scorn. Her only choice is to flee London, vowing to start a new life far from the aristocracy. Unfortunately, the carriage in which she stows away isn’t saving her from ruin. . . it’s filled with it.

Rogue’s Reign of Ravishment!

Kingscote, “King,” the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, resulting in a reputation far worse than the truth, a general sense that he’s more pretty face than proper gentleman, and an irate summons home to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the journey becomes anything but boring.

War? Or More?

He thinks she’s trying to trick him into marriage. She wouldn’t have him if he were the last man on earth. But carriages bring close quarters, dark secrets, and unbearable temptation, making opposites altogether too attractive . . .

Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England // Cumbria, England // Sprotbrough, England // Mossband, England // (1833)

First Line(s): If only the Countess of Liverpool hadn’t been such an admirer of aquatic creatures, perhaps things would have turned out differently.

Long time readers of my blog will know that I am a big fan of Sarah MacLean’s books. She tends to write strong, fiesty heroines and the rogues who fall for them. This is no different in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and fans of MacLean will find a lot to love in Sophie and King. There is so much to like about Sophie that its hard to put it into words and I just love what she brings out in King, who could be sullen fellow if left to his own devices. Sophie adds a little topsy-turvey into his life although this is not something she’d ever admit to as she is the most tame of her family who all thrive off their scandalous behavior in London. There is so much to like in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN but the parts that I love best is the banter between Sophie and King. They are both quick witted and sharp and just really play well off each other. They truly are a perfect match even if they both refuse to see it much of the time.

Another aspect that I adore in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN is that it is a road trip book. I love a good road trip story and its not one that you see very often in historicals, for obvious reasons, and I just love MacLean’s take on it. Sophie’s journey isn’t like most journey’s and I just love how she manages to fool those around her. Everyone but King that is. Which just makes you want to shake them a bit because as I reader you can clearly see how right they are for each other even as they are in denial. King sees Sophie for who she is and she does the same with him. This is something that neither has experienced as they are always judged by the stories that are told about them or their family.

Rogue Not Taken Quote

 

There were some things that I didn’t like as much in THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN such as the cryptic references to King’s past. I’m never a fan of cryptic references and I always just want to shake the character doing it to spit it out! King’s history is also nothing unique but it does explain a lot in shaping who he is. I also wasn’t a fan of the little headlines that began each chapter. I found them to be distracting and hard to ignore. I did try to skip them but always seemed to find myself reading them and then wishing I hadn’t. They just didn’t add anything to the story for me. THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN also includes an epilogue, which regular readers will know that I usually do not like, but in this case I found it a cute addition to the story. It was nice to get a glimpse of where Sophie and King ended up after their main story ended and I hope to see cameos of them in the next book, A SCOT IN THE DARK (Goodreads).

Overall though, I really enjoyed THE ROGUE NOT TAKEN and think that it will appeal to new and old fans of Sarah MacLean. Its a quick read filled with an entertaining cast of characters. The secondary characters are all fleshed out and they all add to the story even if they are just being discussed and they don’t appear in a scene. I liked the mentions of MacLean’s other books, however brief, as it just helps to flesh out this world that she has created in her stories. The banter of Sophie and King will make you laugh out loud and there are lots of heart achy moments that will really make you fall in love with these two. Oh, there are times when you want to shake Sophie and King for being stubborn but the best thing about a MacLean romance is that you know that eventually the hero and heroine will find their HEA and it will totally be worth the journey in getting there.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - The Rogue Not Taken

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Excerpt


(Being shot on the Great North Road isn’t exactly a thing people expect to happen, and Lady Sophie Talbot finds herself in the rooms above The Warbling Wren pub, under the welcome care of a rather mad doctor and the watchful eye of the rather infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) Kingscote, Marquess of Eversley. There are worse things, she supposes. Or are there? Not for King.)

“If you want a bath, you’ll have to accept my help,” he said.

She pursed her lips at that, her gaze settling longingly on the steaming bath. “You mustn’t look.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it.” It might have been the most obvious lie he’d ever told.

Somehow, she believed it, nodding and throwing back the coverlet to step out of the bed. She came to her feet, the top of her head at his chin, and he resisted the urge to help her across the room. “How do you feel?” he asked, hearing the gravel in his words. He cleared his throat.

“As though I’ve been shot, I’d imagine.”

He raised a brow. “Clever. There’s food when you’ve bathed.” The words summoned a low growl from her, and her hands flew to her stomach. Her cheeks turned red, and he smiled. “I take it you are hungry.”

“It seems so,” she said.

“Food after the bath. And then sleep.”

She met his gaze. “You’re very domineering.”

“It’s a particular talent.”

“What with you being called King.”

“Name is destiny.”

She moved past him to the high copper bathtub. He resumed his place against the wall, arms crossed, watching her carefully as she reached down, her long fingers trailing in the hot water as she sighed her anticipation. The sound was like gunfire in the room—pure, unadulterated pleasure. It was delicious.

King stiffened. He was not interested in the lady’s pleasure.

If only someone would tell his body that.

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 Sarah MacLean grew up in Rhode Island, obsessed with historical romance and bemoaning the fact that she was born far too late for her own season. Her love of all things historical helped to earn her degrees from Smith College and Harvard University before she finally set pen to paper and wrote her first book.

Sarah now lives in New York City with her husband, baby daughter, their dog, and a ridiculously large collection of romance novels. She loves to hear from readers. Please visit her at www.macleanspace.com
four-stars
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Monday, November 24, 2014

Review: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLeanNever Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels,
Published by Avon on 25 November 2014
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Social Issues
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, The Rogue Not Taken, A Scot in the Dark

 

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1833)

First Line(s): “I love you.” Three strange words that held so much power.

Longtime readers of Sarah MacLean’s books will all remember Lady Georgiana Pearson from her appearance in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart. She was a young mary sue of a girl who was the sister of a Duke and who was lured into a hayloft and ended up an unwed mother. To avoid an unwanted marriage she ran away and acted as one of the catalysts that led to her brother’s marriage and to Penelope’s ostrication which lead into the first Rules of Scoundrels book, A Rogue by Any Other Name. In Rogue, we meet Chase the elusive and mysterious partner in the Fallen Angel gaming hell and who played in instrumental role in the love stories of the 3 partners and its Chase’s story that has been coveted from the start. There was much speculation on who Chase was and it came as a surprise to many that Chase was Lady Georgiana all grown up. No longer meak but strong and a force to be reckoned with.

I was looking forward to Chase’s story from the start and when it was officially revealed to by Georgiana I was excited because from the moment she was introduced in Eleven Scandals wanted her to find her very own happily ever after. What I was a bit wary on with Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover was the hero of the story, Duncan West. West makes an appearance in the other books and I was never fully drawn to him. Although my thoughts on him may have been different if I’d been able to finish No Good Duke Goes Unpunished but as that one was a DNF I’m not sure what role he played in that story. I will also say that with Never Judge a Lady I struggled to get into the story. The prologue was just so-so and I thought there would have been more to Georgiana’s ruining based on the little snippets that we’d read before.

It wasn’t until around 25% or so that I became fully invested and unable to put the book down. I fell in love with the strong woman that Georgiana had become and I also fell in love with Duncan West. In Eleven Scandals, Georgiana was young and naive but she became this strong sassy woman and she needed someone equally strong to be her match. Anyone weaker than her in mental agility and power she’d walk all over and not be happy. She needed someone to challenge her, to complement her strengths, and to bolster up her weaknessness. Duncan was just as strong and powerful as she was and his backstory is heartbreaking and my heart just went out to this couple as they journeyed to their happily ever after. I found their story to be realistic and engaging and gave me all those heart-achy feels that I love. Their separation (for there is always a separation) broke my heart as I understood where both Georiana and Duncan were coming from, it made sense even as I wanted to shake them and beg them to defy convention and just take the leap.

I read the bulk of Never Judge a Lady in a single sitting and I hated when it ended. I loved the cameo appearance of Freddie Stanhope from The Season and I still really want him to meet his Petunia and get his own story. (I will never stop begging for this Sarah MacLean…so please just make it happen!) I also fell for a new character in this book, Viscount Langley and would love to read his story as told by MacLean. I know that the world of the Scoundrels is done but I do hope that with whatever series MacLean writes next that there will be little cameos and nods from these characters as they are all near and dear to my heart and I will miss them. Never Judge a Lady is a good end to a good series and its one that I think that all fans of MacLean will enjoy.

irishdarkblue

 

Never Judge a Lady Quote

 

 

four-stars
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Review2 Comments

Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLeanEleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers,
Also in this series: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord
Published by Avon on 26 April 2011
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 367
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled to: London, England and Dunscroft // Yorkshire, England (1823)

First Line: In retrospect, there were four actions Miss Juliana Fiori should have considered that evening.

Related Posts: Fragment Friday

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean is the third and final book in her Love by Numbers series. The first two books dealt with twin brothers Nick and Gabriel St John who were both a bit rakish and (at least with Gabriel) seemed to enjoy breaking the rules of society. But of all the members of the St. John clan no one breaks as many rules as Nick and Gabriel’s younger half-sister Juliana Fiori. Although, in her case, all the rule breaking is unintentional…mostly. You see, Juliana was raised in Italy where the rules of conduct are different. She is shipped to England to live with previously unknown brothers on the death of her father and has to quickly learn to navigate in a society that loves rules and has a quick disdain for those that don’t quite fit in. And no one dishes out disdain more than Simon Pearson, Duke of Leighton. Which just means that he and Juliana are going to have one heck of a roller coaster ride to love.

I loved this book. I think its safe to say that Eleven Scandals is my favorite Sarah MacLean book to date. Juliana is such a fun character filled with spunk and strength and I couldn’t get enough of her. Simon could be a total jerk at times with his condensation but I often felt sorry for this fictional man as he was no match for the fiesty Juliana. And before anyone gets on me for spoiling this *IS* a romance novel so of course the two MCs are going to get together in the end. Although I have to admit that even this long time romance reader had her doubts that MacLean would be able to pull these two very strong willed characters together! But she managed to do so in a believable and totally heart achey way that left me a bit breathless from the non-stop push and pull of these two fabulous characters.

Another thing that Sarah MacLean managed to do with her book was to make me gasp aloud. This isn’t something that I do with books. Laugh out loud yes. Yell at books when a character makes me angry (more often then I care to admit) but gasp? I can’t recall the last time that happened. But it did in Eleven Scandals, right around page 159 where something happened that I never expected and so I gasped in pleasant surprise. That same scene was already a fun one as it saw the appearance of a beloved character from MacLean’s YA book The Season and that had made me all giddy. Then you have this bit of shock and….well….it just further shows just what a roller coaster ride this book was.

In the end, Eleven Scandals, was a lot of fun. Juliana is a total fish out of water and I loved her little mistakes in coming up with the right vocabulary when trying to describe something. She was bold and unapologetic and despite her mistakes she was always honest about her self. She wasn’t perfect but she never pretended to be. She simply tried her best and people had to accept her or not for who she was and because of that she makes a great role model for girls of today. Because who doesn’t struggle with identity and tries to fit in? I loved this book and recommend it to all…and I also learned recently that the heroine of Sarah MacLean’s next book actually makes her debut here for those observant enough to catch it. I admit i rushed through my first reading of this book but I think that trying to figure out the heroine of A Rogue by Any Other Name is more than enough reason for a reread of Eleven Scandals…not that I need a reason but it helps in rationalizing why I am ignore the bagillion other books in my house waiting to be read. 😉

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Review6 Comments

Review: Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLeanTen Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers, Book 2
Also in this series: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart
Published by Avon on 26 October 2010
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Girls & Women, Health & Daily Living, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 357
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled to: London, England // Dunscroft, Yorkshire, England (1823)

First Line: It cannot be denied that there is a veritable epidemic spreading among the young ladies of London – a tragic reality that ends in nothing but the very worst possible scenario.

Any regular reader of my blog knows that I am a fan of Sarah Maclean. She is an author who writes really good heartfelt stories. Her heroines aren’t your typical girls. They are usually a bit awkward, bookish and perhaps a bit plumper than what is considered the norm. They are girls that defy the conventions in their own ways in order to blaze their own path. They are girls in which you can see yourself in and become really attached to. But there is something about Isabel Townsend that really sets her apart for me. I think it might have begun in part because of the roof incident (see vlog reading).

This may seem odd to you but roofs hold a special place in my heart and were a big part in my growing up years. You see the house I grew up in had a porch – it wrapped around most of the building and went under all of our second floor windows. Reading books like A Tree Grows in Brooklyn made me long for a place like Francie Nolan’s fire escape. And since I couldn’t convince my parents to move to a place with one I had my roof. Only the roof was FORBIDDEN.

My dad had few rules but they were meant to be followed to a T. We weren’t allowed on the roof. We weren’t allowed in the attic. We weren’t allowed to dig holes in the yard. We aren’t allowed to take things apart (along with a long hard stare at me). There were others to be sure but those were repeated. Often. Probably because they were the ones we broke the most. Especially after The Incident – which involved my brother, a friend, the attic and a hole in the ceiling. After The Incident there were so many talks on not going in the attic that even now in my 30s when my mom sends me to fetch something my first response is ‘but I’m not allowed’ followed by a sigh, a look and an exasperated that was when you were a child. So you can only imagine my glee to find Isabel ON THE ROOF….which she got to by GOING THROUGH THE ATTIC. (Yes I am weird, I know.)

Its not just the roof though, Isabel is such a strong character who bears a HUGE weight on her shoulders. She has relied only on herself for so long that she has forgotten what its like to lean on someone else. This is both good and bad as you can imagine. She is smart and resourceful and also can get so lost in her thoughts sometimes that she doesn’t always see what’s around her. Which is like me in some ways. Her first meeting with Nick St. John….yeah that could so happen to me – well something similar since I don’t live in 1823 England. (Now if only I could find me a Nick too…*wanders off to dreamland*)

As with many romances the plot is pretty standard in that the heroine is poor, about to lose her home, has some secrets and is searching for a solution to all her woes. Our hero, the very swoon worthy Nick, is trying to escape the marriage minded mamas on the ton and so leaps at a chance to escape to the country.  Especially after being named London’s most eligible bachelor. (Eep! poor Nick lol) The two meet and the reader is taken on a fun and wonderful journey as you watch them struggle with what you know is gonna happen. Added to the mix are some of the best side characters ever. I ADORE Rock almost as much, if not more than Nick. He is this great and wonderful teddy bear of man with some laugh out loud lines. Rock is such a perfect counter point to Nick you can see why they are friends. Isabel’s house staff also add in some amusement and her younger brother is both endearing and the sort of boy who just makes your heart melt.

As of this posting, I think that Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, is my favorite book by Sarah Maclean yet. Which is saying a lot since I LOVE LOVE LOVED The Season! (my review) (Speaking of I STILL want more of that story Sarah! The girls need swoon worthy boys and Freddie needs to meet his Petunia!!) Ten Ways isn’t as naughty as Nine Rules but there was less head jumping and I felt that the story was just a bit tighter. Although I missed the lack of Callie and Gabriel. (I know I know Yorkshire is a long way from London but still…I just want EVERYTHING lol). I really just can’t say enough how much I loved this book. I just couldn’t stop reading it once I had begun. I laughed out loud and would have happily moved into the story if such a thing were possible. Don’t believe me…well here is a wee snippet from the book that is will hopefully tease your appetite a bit:

“Minutes later, Isabel was pressing her ear to the heavy mahogany door of the earl’s study. She could detect the low hum of masculine voices from within, but their words were impossible to understand. She leaned closer, cursing the ancestor who had selected such a sturdy portal. While she appreciated that had in question likely had goings-on that he had not wanted overheard, the choice of two-inch-thick wood showed an obvious lack of foresight when it came to the requirements of future generations.” (Note: Text is taken from the ARC and may not be the same as in the finished version.)

Seriously folks, this is a book that I can gush on at length. I really could. This is the sort of book that I will reread. I don’t do that with many books but I just know that Nick and Isabel will become good friends and a welcome distraction when I am sick or my life is just so chaotic that I can’t focus on anything new. I also want it said that I think that Rock deserves his own novella. I want to know what he was doing when Nick and Isabel were busy on rooftops. So Sarah, please make that happen. pretty please?

Now begins the long wait until the release of the third book in this series, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart which won’t be out until June 2011. *le sigh* Until then I guess I’ll just have to pick up a hard copy of Nine Ways (out 26 Oct) and reread it for any clues to what might happen in Eleven Scandals. Hmm…I might just have to reread Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake as well…..you know….for the clues.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review2 Comments

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLeanNine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers,
Also in this series: Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart
Published by Avon on 30 March 2010
Genres: Adult, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Girls & Women, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 422
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: The Season, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled to: London, England (1823)

First Line(s): Lady Calpurnia Hartwell blinked back tears as she fled the ballroom of Worthington House, the scene of her most recent and most devastating embarrassment.

Last year I kept hearing about this wonderful debut author named Sarah MacLean and her book The Season (my review). Which was about three teenage friends trying to survive in Regency England. I just had to run out and get it and instantly fell in love with Sarah MacLean’s writing. Then when I heard the premise for her next book, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, I was giddy with anticipation. Lady Calpurnia Hartwell is your typical women living in Regency England. She follows the strict rules of society and tries to convince herself she’s content even though she is considered to be ‘on the shelf.’ But when her younger sister becomes engaged and makes some comments that Callie inadvertently overhears, Callie realizes that she’s tired of being the woman that society expects her to be. So she decides to make a list of nine things that she’d like to do.

The list ranges from things like ‘learning to fence’ and ‘wanting to gamble ‘(in a gentleman’s club no less) to the almost heartbreaking of ‘to be considered beautiful.’ Along the way Callie meets Gabriel St. John, the Marquis of Ralston who becomes her partner in crime as Callie dives into her list with both feet. Their encounters are both humorous and at times very very steamy. I swear I think that MacLean made me blush at least once….maybe more. Nine Rules to Break is more than just your typical romance novel though its a journey of self discovery and about accepting one’s self for who they are. I loved watching Callie come out of her shell and learn that she could be happy even if she doesn’t fit into the mold that society says she fit in.

While I did enjoy this book it wasn’t perfect and does fall into some of the common pitfalls of a romance novel. Most notably was the head jumping. The book starts off alternating between Ralston and Callie and at first this is structured. But its not long before the POV would change based on what is convenient to move the scene along. So there are moments when the story will be told for a paragraph or two by Ralston or another character and then return to Callie. There was also that one scene that took up 1/2 a chapter from the POV of Ralston’s sister Juliana – a scene that just seemed so randomly dropped into the story. It did nothing to move Ralston’s & Callie’s story along and I for one found it very distracting.

I also thought that the word “shan’t” was used a bit too much. Yes this might be a bit nitpicky of me and I understand that its not easy to try to write a story in a time when many of the words and phrases that we take for granted in this modern world just didn’t exist back then. So while I did get annoyed with the over use of that one word I do have to admire Sarah MacLean’s ability to write in the Regency time period. Just from reading her blog I know that it wasn’t an easy feat to do. I mean who knew the word neckline didn’t really come into being until the 1920’s? I know I didn’t.

Overall though I did enjoy reading Nine Rules to Break While Romancing a Rake. I found all the characters to be believable and loved Callie and Ralston’s romance. Did I mention that their story is steamy? If not, then trust me….this is a book that can make even the regular romance reader blush. The dialogue was witty and fun and I loved Callie’s brother. I hope that he gets his own story at some point. One that will hopefully include more of his and Callie’s mother who I think was underused in Nine Rules. She was a secondary character that I think could have added some really humorous scenes to the novel. But she’s also one who could potentially be a big distraction so I can understand why she was kept on the sidelines.

The next story in this series will feature Ralston’s twin brother, Nick and will be called Ten Ways to Be Adored When Romancing a Lord. Doesn’t that just sound like fun? I know that I cannot wait to read this one and learn more about Nick and that mysterious scar of his. There is no official release date for Ten Ways as of yet but I believe its expected in stores sometime in the winter of 2010. You can bet that I will be stalking Sarah MacLean on her blog and twitter until the announcement is made. Until then….I think I might just have to go and re-read Nine Rules again. Nine Rules to Break While Romancing a Rake will be available in stores on Tuesday so mark your calendars and be sure to check it out the next time you find yourself in the bookstore.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review: The Season by Sarah MacLean

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult5 Comments

Review: The Season by Sarah MacLeanThe Season by Sarah MacLean
Published by Orchard Books on 01 March 2009
Genres: Adolescence, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friends to Lovers, Friendship, Girls & Women, Historical, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Parents, Young Adult
Pages: 343
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover, The Rogue Not Taken, A Scot in the Dark

Place(s) Traveled To: Essex, England // London, England (1815)

First Line(s): The rain fell steadily on the slick rocks marking the edge of the Essex countryside, where the land fell in sheer cliffs to a frigid winter sea.

It is the year 1815, the elite of London are still the titled class (aka the Ton) balls and parties are a common thing and if you are a young girl, around 17 you are about to enter your first Season. The Season is a big deal it is where all ladies and gentlemen of a certain class go to mingle, to see and be seen…and if you are an unmarried girl you go with the purpose of trying to find a suitable match in the crush of society. Any man won’t do and love really isn’t the aim of young single girls. Its all about elevating your status. To marry above you rank if possible or at the very least marry someone of equal status. To marry below could result in doors being shut to you and your family. This is the world that Alexandra Stafford is born into. She is the only daughter and youngest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Worthington. Her mother has been waiting for Alex to come of age almost since the day she was born and would be having the grandest of times….if only Alex would cooperate. Alex has other plans though she wants to enjoy time with her best friends Viv and Ella. She doesn’t want to get married at only 17…especially when most of the eligible marriage minded males are at least twice her age! But she goes to the balls to appease her mother and she makes sure to drag along her 3 older (and eligible) brothers and old family friend Gavin Sewell, the new Earl of Blackmoor. For as they say, misery loves company. During the crush of the Season, Alex and her friends stumble on a mystery…a question that the previous Earl of Blackmoor, Gavin’s father, may not have died of an accident. That he may have been murdered. Sensing some fun and intrigue to what would otherwise be a boring Season, Alex and her friends begin to investigate….and along the way may end up where they least expected.

The Season is the first novel of the amazing Sarah MacLean. She has created a rich and vivid world with some of the most intriguing and believable characters (can I just give a shout out to Freddie?? Love him!). Alex is filled with life and spunk and just makes you want to be her friend. If I could survive in Regency England then I would so try to be a part of her crowd. They conform without really conforming and are able to maintain their sense of self in a time and place where it is really difficult to be a woman. The options open to Alex, Vivi & Ella are far far different then what girls our age face today. MacLean does a wonderful job in giving the history of this world and its social constraints without bogging the narrative down in details. The mystery isn’t one that is over the top and is realistic as is the involvement of Alex and her friends. While not an ideal pursuit for ladies of their social standing they always do their up-most best to keep from causing a scandal and bringing shame upon themselves. For while I am sure that there were many ladies happy to toe the line and stay fully within the social dictates there were those that would push the limits to see just how far they could go. Alex is a fun & witty character and I love her interactions with her family and her friends (have I mentioned Freddie?). This was a great read and I am eagerly awaiting books to be written for other characters in the series like Vivi and Ella….and of course Freddie!

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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