Current Contests/Announcements

The story of the Orange Cake Click here to find out more.


Check out the NKOTB Book Tag Meme Here!

Having trouble leaving a comment? If you have trouble commenting then please click on the refresh button, this usually fixes the issue. I also use comment moderation for new commenters to the blog.

Genre: Regency

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
Divider

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Mini Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa DareLord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove,
Also in this series: A Week to be Wicked
Published by Avon on 08 December 2015
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, Regency, Road Trip, Short Story / Novella
Pages: 144
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: A Week to be Wicked, Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot

Place(s) Traveled To: Hastings, England // Spindle Cove, England // Canterbury, England (19th Century)

First Line(s): By the age of three-and-twenty, Miss Elinora Browning had given up on wedding vows – instead, she made herself a promise.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a novella set in Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cover universe and was a quick, fun story that I enjoyed. As with most of Dare’s books the two leads had some amazing banter and good chemistry. I loved the story of Nora and Dashwood and their scenes often brought a smile to my face. When they weren’t making my heart ache with their backstory. What I didn’t like about LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT was how the POV would split and go into other characters from Dare’s Spindle Cove books. Those POVs were distracting and didn’t add anything to the story for me. What I wanted more of in this book was more time spent with Nora and Dash.

LORD DASHWOOD MISSED OUT is a sweet romance and the declaration at the end will just melt your heart. This is a short novella but it feels like a full story. It was fun revisiting Spindle Cove and seeing some of those characters and I hope that we get to see Nora and Dash in the upcoming book, DO YOU WANT TO START A SCANDAL.

 

irishdarkblue

Lord Dashwood Quote
three-stars
Divider

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Adult, Blog Tour, Contest, Review0 Comments

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale

Blog Tour Review + Excerpt: Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya RodaleLady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale
Series: Cavendish,
Published by Avon on 23 February 2016
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, People & Places, Regency, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Chasing Lady Amelia

Place(s) Traveled To: London, England (1824)

First Line(s): All of London is talking about one thing and one thing only: the arrival of the seventh Duke of Durham.

LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY is my first book by Maya Rodale but I don’t think it will be my last. LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY isn’t a perfect book and at times it tries to hard to be the retelling that it is but at its core its a fun, family historical that is sure to entertain. Lady Bridget Cavendish is your classic fish out of water being a newly titled American thrust into British society. She and her sisters invite scandal wherever they go but with the formidable Dowager Duchess to guide them then maybe they won’t as big a scandal as say The Talbot Sisters. Lady Bridget, while unsure if she wants to stay in England does make an attempt to fit in after a disastourous debut outing where she runs into the insufferable Looord Darcy.

Lord Darcy and Lady Bridget are total opposites but as any reader knows that makes them the perfect yin and yang for each other. They struggle against their feelings even as they are drawn more and more to each other. They each try to deny their feelings but anyone who has ever read a romance knows they are perfect for other. Their journey starts off to a rough start and it took me a little bit to get into the groove of LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY but the end totally makes up for the beginning. I really enjoyed the Cavendish clan and can’t wait to get to know them better as their stories are told. They are a fun, close knit family and heaven help the uptight English Lord or Lady that falls under their spell.

Lady Bridget's Diary Quote

Where LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY suffered most for me was in how obvious a retelling of PRIDE & PREJUDICE that it was. It was almost painful at times with how hard it tried to follow that formula. The story worked best when it was allowed to flow and form organically and it suffered when Rodale tried to force it back into PRIDE & PREJUDICE format. Normally I don’t mind a retelling, especially one of PRIDE & PREJUDICE but this one was just painful at times. I also wasn’t a fan of the random POVs outside of Darcy and Bridget and the random diary entries. Lady Bridget’s diary entries could have been a fun addition but I just found the haphazard use of the passage to be a distraction more than anything else.

Overall though, LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY was a quick, fun read and once I got into its groove I had trouble putting it down. I read the bulk of this book in a day and even found myself giggling a time or two at some of the situations that Bridget and her family found themselves in. Lady Bridget is the sort of heroine that people can relate to. She’s fun and honest and I’m glad that she found her happily ever ever. The epilogue was a little too cutesy for my tastes but that could just be my general apathy towards epilogues in general. While the weather outside is still a but wintery, LADY BRIDGET’S DIARY would make a great beach read….or a great book to curl up with on a blustery winter day.

irishdarkblue

IR - Lady Bridget's Diary

Add My American Duchess by Eloisa James to Goodreads.

Add How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke. (Click here for my review.)

 

 

 

 

In the first hilarious entry in her brand new series, USA Today bestselling author Maya Rodale re-invents a love story we all know and cherish.

Lord Darcy is the epitome of perfect

Lord Darcy is the quintessential Englishman: wealthy, titled, impossibly proper and horrified that a pack of Americans have inherited one of England’s most respected dukedoms. But his manners, his infamous self-restraint and better judgment fly out the window when he finds himself with the maddening American girl next door.

Lady Bridget is the opposite of perfect

Lady Bridget Cavendish has grand-but thwarted-plans to become a Perfect Lady and take the haute ton by storm. In her diary, Bridget records her disastrous attempts to assimilate in London high society, her adoration of the handsome rogue next door, her loathing of the Dreadful Lord Darcy and some truly scandalous secrets that could ruin them all.

They cannot stand each other-and yet they cannot stay away


It was loathing at first sight for Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. But their paths keep crossing…and somehow involve kissing. When Lady Bridget’s diary goes missing, both Darcy and Bridget must decide what matters most of all-a sterling reputation or a perfectly imperfect love.

 

Excerpt

Prologue

Oceans crossed: 1

Sisters who plagued me the entire journey: 2

Brothers who suddenly became a duke: 1

Fearsome duchesses: 1

Lady Bridget’s Diary

London, 1824

Durham Residence

The Ballroom

One would think that having one’s brother inherit a dukedom was a stroke of good fortune that would transform their lives from ho-hum to utterly fantastic. One would think that until one was on a reducing diet, stuffed into a tightly laced corset, and forced to practice walking backward.

“Once again, Lady Bridget,” the duchess said crisply.

She was Lady Bridget Cavendish now. Before she had just been Bridget Cavendish of Duncraven farm in Maryland. But then a letter had arrived one day, with the unexpected news that James was now a duke and they were all to leave everything behind and travel to England, immediately.

“Yes Lady Bridget, once more please,” Amelia said with a smirk.

“Do shut up, Amelia,” Bridget said, under her breath. Younger sisters were quite annoying, on any continent.

“It’s ‘Do shut up, Lady Amelia,’” Claire, the oldest sister, corrected. She found all the formality as ridiculous as the rest of their family, much to the despair of the duchess.

Somewhere about the massive house—probably in the stables, even though the duchess made it perfectly clear dukes were above mucking about in the stables—was her brother, James. Or, as he was now to be known, His Grace, the Duke of Durham. Dukes had many responsibilities, it seemed, but walking backward in a gown with an excessively long train was not one of them.

Before her, with sharp blue eyes and perfectly coiffed blond hair, was Josephine Marie Elizabeth Cavendish, Her Grace, the Duchess of Durham, widow of the previous duke, and aunt to the Cavendish siblings.

One did not call her Josie. Amelia had asked.

“Remind me why we are learning to do something as ridiculous as walk backward?” Claire asked. From a young age, she had spent her free hours devoted to the study of mathematics, otherwise known as Important Work. Bridget’s head ached just to think about it.

“It is for your presentation at court,” the duchess replied. “Which is necessary before your debut in society, which you must do in order to find a husband, which a lady must do, lest she become an impoverished spinster.”

“What if we do not wish for a husband?” Amelia asked.

“What a silly question,” the duchess replied. “Lady Bridget, once again.”

At the duchess’s request, Bridget sank into a curtsy. They had practiced this extensively on Tuesday afternoon. Then, with as much grace as she could muster, Bridget rose and began to elegantly glide backward. Or so she tried; feats of grace did not come easily to her (a point upon which their dancing instructor would absolutely agree). Nothing about being a True Lady did. Bridget had daydreamt through lessons on the order of precedence amongst members of the haute ton, how to properly pour a cup of tea, and all the other lessons on etiquette and deportment they endured morning, noon, and night.

“Now Lady Amelia, it is your turn.”

While the duchess’s attention was focused on her sisters, Bridget took advantage of her distraction to continue walking backward until she had crossed the length of the ballroom, then she continued through the large double doors and halfway down the corridor, at which point she turned, lifted her skirts, and proceeded to the kitchens. Reducing diet, deportment lessons, and True Lady-ness be damned.

Contest

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Stops

Feb 15th – Becky on Books -Rev/Exc
(Stop 2)  Christine’s Words – P/Exc
(Stop 3) – The Bookwhore Diaries – P/Exc
(Stop 4) – Mikky’s World Of Books -P/Exc
(Stop 5) – Hart’s Romance Pulse -P/Exc
(Stop 6) – The Ardent Reader – Rev/Exc
(Stop 7) – Romance Authors at Large -Promo
Feb 16th Buried Under Romance – Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) Bows & Bullets Reviews – Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – The Book Sirens – Rev/Exc
(Stop 4) – Cat’s Guilty Pleasure – Promo
(Stop 5) – 3Partners in Shopping – P/Exc
(Stop 6) – SOS Aloha -P/Exc
(Stop 7) –  Lady Bridget’s Diary -P/Exc
Feb 17th – E Romance News – P/Exc
(Stop 2) – Lushbookreviews – P/Exc
Feb 18th – Unquietly Me -P/Exc
(Stop 2) – Bambi Unbridled – Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – What I’m Reading – P/Exc
(Stop 4) – underneath the covers – P/Exc
(Stop 5) – To Each Their Own Reviews – P/Rev
Feb 19th – Romancing the Readers – Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Moonlight Rendezvous – Rev/P
(Stop 3) – Eskimo Princess Book Reviews – Promo
Feb 22nd – The Lusty Literate -Rev/Exc
(Stop 2)  The Consummate Reader – Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Reading in Pajamas  – P/Exc
(Stop 4) – Itsy Bitsy Book Bits -Promo
Feb 23rd – I am, Indeed  -Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Cris Conquers -Rev/P
(Stop 3) – Ali – The Dragon Slayer – P/Exc
(Stop 4) – Karen’s Killer Book Bench -P/Exc
Feb 24th – Polished Bookworm –Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – eyeheartromance – P/Rev
(Stop 3) – Njkinny’s World of Books & Stuff -Rev/Exc
Feb 25th – Cara’s Book Boudoir -Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Nelle’s Nightstand – Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – I’m A Book Shark -P/Exc
Feb 26th –   The Book Junkie Reads -Rev/P
(Stop 2) –  Romantic Historical Reviews -Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Brooke Blogs – P/Exc
(Stop 4) –  Books & Spoons – P/Exc
***
Feb 29th  – Born to Read Books – Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Margie’s Must Reads -Rev/P
March 1st  – Ticket to Anywhere – Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – VampyRelady’s Fave – Promo
(Stop 3) –  Teatime and Books – Promo
(Stop 4) – A Sky Full of Stars Blog – Promo
March 2nd  Wicked Reads -Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Romorror Fan Girl – P/Rev
March 3rd – Crystal Blogs Books -Rev/P
(Stop 2) – Nicole’s Book Musings -P/Exc
(Stop 3) – Book Munchies – Rev/Exc
March 4th  – T&L Book Revie(Stows -Rev/P
(Stop 2) – Sofia Loves Books – P/Rev
(Stop 3) – Once Upon A Book – Rev/Exc
March 7th – Ramblings From This Chick -P/Exc
(Stop 2) – BJ’s Reviews – P/Exc
March 8th – Cocktails and Books – Rev/Exc
(Stop 2)  The Sassy Bookster – Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Confessions From Romaholics – P/Exc
 
March 9th – Ever After Book Reviews – P/Exc
(Stop 2) – Written Love Reviews – Rev/Exc
March 10th – WTF Are You Reading? -Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Jen’s Reading Obsession -Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Rambling Reads – P/Rev
March 11th  Romantic Reads and Such –Rev/Exc
(Stop 2) – Sassy Moms Say Read Romance  -Rev/Exc
(Stop 3) – Reader Girls -Rev/Exc

(Stop 4) – A Bluestocking’s Place – P/Exc

 
Don’t Miss More of the Cavendishes
Pre-order CHASING LADY AMELIA
three-half-stars
Divider

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Romancing the Duke by Tessa DareRomancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
Series: Castles Ever After,
Also in this series: Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot
Published by Avon on 28 January 2014
Genres: Adult, Historical, Regency, Romance: Historical
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: A Week to be Wicked, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot, Lord Dashwood Missed Out

Place(s) Traveled To: Woolington, Northumberland, England

First Line(s): The name Isolde Ophelia Goodnight did rather spell a life of tragedy.

Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare is the start of a new series and after her Spindle Cove books I was really looking forward to this one. I’m also a sucker for a good historical romance and that is something that I can always count on Tessa Dare for. Romancing the Duke is not a serious story and there were many giggle worthy moments as I read the story. I loved how Izzy and her Duke, Ransom interacted. They had chemistry from the get-go even if Ransom your typical antisocial wounded warrior.

Fortunately for him, his retreat from society allowed for his castle to be sold and then given to Izzy who was just the one to pull him out of his funk. Just as Random was good at helping Izzy realize many truths about herself. I also loved how Romancing the Duke was a nod to all the delightful things about being part of a fandom. Seriously there were times when I thought this story was a bit like tumblr in book form. I liked how Dare shows how powerful stories can be, not just in the now, but also in the past. I enjoyed the crazy cos-players and wish they could somehow appear in every book Dare writes from now on. (Though alas, I am sure that is not to be.)

Izzy is a strong, fiesty character and she needs her Duke every bit as much as he needs her. She’s just not as headstrong as he is and realizes it all so much faster. Men, always so hard headed when it comes to matters of the heart. Especially alpha males in historical romances. But Random wasn’t your typical jackass alpha. Oh he was grumbly and he’d shout but he was never mean to Izzy. There was always a tenderness to his actions that took away from his bark.

Romancing the Duke is a quick story with an engrossing plot that I didn’t want to put down. Once I started this book I didn’t put it down until I had hit the last page. And even while there were a few cliched moments that made me roll my eyes and groan a bit the overall effect of this story was magical. Romancing the Duke doesn’t have any deep plots or mysteries but there is more to it than just a boy meets girl story. And while it didn’t always feel like a historical story it managed to hit all the right notes that I could forgive its flaws.

Romancing the Duke is a fun story and one that I could recommend to anyone looking for a quick escape. A story that they don’t have to think about too much and where all a reader needs to do is just sit back and let themselves be entertained. I hated for the Spindle Cove series to end (and have in fact been avoiding the end by avoiding the last book) so I am glad that Dare has a whole new series for me to fall in love with. I can meet a whole bunch of new friends as I work my way up to saying goodbye to the ones in her other series.

irishdarkblue

four-stars
Divider

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Adult, Review4 Comments

A Week to be Wicked by Tessa DareA Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare
Series: Spindle Cove,
Also in this series: Lord Dashwood Missed Out
Published by Avon on 27 March 2012
Genres: Adult, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Romance, Love & Romance, People & Places, Regency, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Romancing the Duke, Say Yes to the Marquess, When a Scot Ties the Knot, Lord Dashwood Missed Out

Place(s) Traveled to: Spindle Cove – Sussex, England // Edinburgh, Scotland // London, England (1814)

First Line: When a girl trudged through the rain at midnight to knock at the Devil’s door, the Devil should at least have the depravity—if not the decency—to answer.

I was very excited to learn that A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare would feature the story of Minerva Highwood and Colin Sandhurst as I loved the scenes that those two shared in A Night to Surrender. I can easily say that the romance between Minerva and Colin did not disappoint. Not in the slightest. It was just such a fun journey with them all the wait up to Scotland. The pair were just so opposite from each other, and poor Colin was just so broken, but the two really complement each other well.

With this book I often found myself laughing out loud at some of the ridiculous names and stories that Colin and Minerva would concoct to strangers that they met on their journey. From long lost royalty (Prince Ampersand lol) to a sword swallowing circus act. I loved watching Minerva go from a quiet and bookish girl into a free spirited woman confident in her own abilities. I also really enjoyed seeing Colin open up and start to heal the wounds he’d been carrying around with him since his boyhood.

About the only thing that I was disappointed in with A Week to be Wicked were the cut away moments to Kate and Thorne who were back in Spindle’s Cove. Now while I did enjoy the little snippets that they learned about Colin and his thoughts in regards to Minerva I also felt taken out of the story each time we journeyed back to Spindle’s Cove. Their scenes I felt were more set up for the third and final book of the series, A Lady by Midnight, rather than add to Colin and Minerva’s story. Especially since the cut always always seemed to happened when things were really getting enjoyable with Colin and Minerva.

Overall though, I really enjoyed A Week to be Wicked. I thought that it was a fun story and was a great way to pass a couple of hours as I got lost in the book. I enjoyed this book far more than the first book in the series as well. Its always nice when books improve over the course of a series rather than decline. If you are a fan of historical romance and want a fun story then this is a book for you. As I said before, Colin is a bit broken (and really the best heroes always are, aren’t they?) so its not all sunshine and roses for for these two. But the journey that takes them from Minerva hitting Colin with a satchel full of rocks to their HEA is a wonderful one and not to be missed.

irishdarkblue

 

Week to be Wicked Quote
five-stars
Divider

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
Divider

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
Divider