Author: Sarah MacLean

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

Posted May 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean.Reviewer: Rowena
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #3
Also in this series: 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
Published by Avon
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 367
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Goodreads
four-stars

There is no telling where a scandal might lead...

She lives for passion.

Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society’s rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London’s most practiced gossips... and precisely the kind of woman the Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.

He swears by reputation.

Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety.

She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on April 12, 2011.

Sarah MacLean is fast becoming one of my go to authors for wonderful historical romances. She writes the kind of romances that never fail to make me laugh, tear up and sigh all throughout the story. This story is no different. I was first introduced to MacLean’s work back when she released her first romance, Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake. I read and adored that book and was anxious for the next installment in this series, Ten Ways to be Adored when Landing a Lord. I enjoyed Nick’s story and was even more anxious for Juliana’s story and finally, we have it.

This book wasn’t as funny as the first two but it still a wonderful romance novel. The chemistry between Simon and Juliana is undeniable and I totally fell right in with all of it. The fighting, the making up, the confusion- all of it made for one helluva ride.

This book starts up not too long after the last book left off. Gabriel and Callie are happily married as are Nicholas and Isabel. Nicholas and Isabel still have their girls over at Minerva House and Georgeanne is still over there, pregnant and still trucking along. Simon, brother to Georgeanne is back in London, pretending that his world is not going to come crawling down because his sister went and got herself pregnant and is hiding away at his friend’s house in the country. He’s also trying to stay far away from that damn scandal a minute maker, Juliana Fiori who he secretly has the hots for.

Juliana is living with Gabriel and Callie, suffering through more of the same dull balls and gossip that is nearly always about her. She knows that she’ll never fit in with these dull English folks and she’s at the point where she doesn’t care if she does either. She hates the English, well with the exception of her English family members and she most definitely hates the uptight, Duke of disdain, the Duke of Leighton.

These two rub each other the wrong way and it was only a matter of time before they’d be rubbing each other in a totally different way. Simon spends much of this book, saving Juliana from yet another almost-scandal and he also spends a good chunk of the book fighting his feelings for her. Juliana bets Leighton that she could bring him to his knees in two weeks because she thinks that nobody can live their lives without passion and Simon is like, do your worst. Reputation matters most in the end and he’s going to be standing firmly on his feet at the end of the two weeks.

Now throughout the book, there were plenty of times that I wanted to strangle both Simon and Juliana. Simon mostly because everything with Penelope and then with his sister, it all just made me want to give him a swift kick in the nuts but not once in all the times that I was annoyed with him, did I hate him. MacLean did a good job of making me anxious for him to get it right without making me lose interest in him as a hero. I should have hated him right along with Juliana but like Juliana, I couldn’t.

I liked Simon. When things finally come together for him and Juliana, my heart did a little happy dance inside my chest. I was so happy for the both of them and that’s why I love reading books by Sarah MacLean. She makes me come to love her characters a little more with each book.

I loved Juliana from the jump. From the time we meet her in the previous books and Callie is trying to teach her how to become a lady with manners, I loved her. She always got everything wrong and yet, she was so charming that I couldn’t help but love her. Want to be her friend, want what’s best for her. I hated when those stupid cows at the balls were mean to her and I loved the friendships that blossomed between her and Marianna and then later, Georgeanne. Her character really came into her own in this book and I enjoyed watching her grow into the woman she was in this book.

I can’t help but want books for both Benedick and Georgeann…hell, it would be totally awesome if they were to meet and then fall in love with each other. They were both wonderful characters in this book and my greedy ass wants more!

All in all, this book was another wonderfully written story about two people who take the long road to their happy ending. They fought, they laughed and they got to know each other and then in the end, they fell in love with each other. You can’t ask for more and I definitely recommend this book to historical lovers and to fans of Sarah MacLean, you won’t be disappointed with this one.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Love By Numbers

four-stars


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Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

Posted July 6, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #3
Published by Avon
Publication Date: June 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
five-stars

The one woman he will never forget…Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.

The one man she will never forgive…After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.

A love that neither can deny…The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day The Day of the Duchess.

I was not prepared to love this book as much as I did because I was not a fan of Malcolm’s in any of the other books in this series. After the first book, I pretty much wrote him off as being a total scumbag but holy cow you guys, Sarah MacLean’s redeem game is strong because not only did I love the book but I hella loved Malcolm, too. Warts and all. By the end, I was a blubbering mess and my daughter laughed and laughed and laughed at how much crying I was doing over a fictional couple. More than my love of Malcolm though was my love and admiration for Sera.

Holy cow, Sera was one boss ass bitch.

She wasn’t going to let no punk ass run her life anymore. She walked up into that room with all of those Dukes and Marquesses and Earls and was like, “Y’all gon’ give me this divorce cause I ain’t playing the fool no more!” She was over being chattel to her husband and she was going after a future that was hers and hers alone, with the help of her best friend Caleb.

Malcolm, the Duke of Haven, on the other hand, has been searching high and low for his wife but she was nowhere to be found. Her sisters sent him on a merry chase all over the place but he wasn’t going to give up and when she showed up at the House of Lords, he was equal parts relieved and furious. Relieved that she was okay and furious because she was demanding a divorce. He knew that things had gotten out of hand and more than anything, he wanted to fix things. He had a long road ahead of him but he wasn’t going to let his wife go without a fight.

So he proposes that she give him the summer to help him choose his replacement and once that’s done, she’ll be free to go and he’ll grant her the divorce.

This book had me deep in my feels for a lot of the story. The scene that began The Rogue Not Taken is a scene that I have never forgotten. It’s still vivid in my head. I had Malcolm painted with the bad guy brush and I wasn’t sure I even wanted his side of the story but I’m so glad that we got it.

Getting to know both Sera and Malcolm before the scandal and then after the scandal was everything that I hoped to get once I found out they were getting a book. I wanted to know what happened that was so bad that it broke their marriage. I wanted to know why Malcolm behaved the way that he did and what Sera held herself at fault for. I got all of that and more.

Sera was such a strong heroine and one that I loved the hell out of. She wasn’t the same hurt woman from before. She was back and she was strong and she knew her own mind and had plans for her future. A future that did not include a husband. Sure, she still loved her husband but she also hated him and she just wanted to be free. She never wanted to be that scared and rejected woman again and the only way that she could secure a future for herself that was hers and hers alone was to get a divorce. She’s desperate to be free so she agrees to Malcolm’s request to give him the summer.

There was a lot of growth in both Sera and Malcolm’s characters but in this book, we see Malcolm’s growth. When we see Sera again, she’s already stronger but we actually see Malcolm realize where his marriage went wrong and how to fix it. When we first see him again, he just wants his wife back. He wants to forget the past and start anew but nothing is ever that simple and when he finally realizes that and the steps he takes to fix what he broke…holy cow, it broke my heart.

I cried so much reading this book but I also laughed and smiled and fell in love. Sarah MacLean really knocked it out of the park, IMO. This book had everything romance lovers want in a romance and so much more. A second chance story that will break your heart and then piece it back together with each passing chapter. Did I love it? Yes. Should you read it? Hell yes. This book was just flat out good. My favorite of the bunch!

Grade: 5 out of 5

five-stars


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Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean

Posted September 13, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #2
Published by Avon
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Pages: 400
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Goodreads

Lonesome Lily Turned Scandalous Siren

Miss Lillian Hargrove has lived much of her life alone in a gilded cage, longing for love and companionship. When an artist offers her pretty promises and begs her to pose for a scandalous portrait, Lily doesn't hesitate...until the lying libertine leaves her in disgrace. With the painting now public, Lily has no choice but to turn to the one man who might save her from ruin.

Highland Devil turned Halfhearted Duke

The Duke of Warnick loathes all things English, none more so than the aristocracy. It does not matter that the imposing Scotsman has inherited one of the most venerable dukedoms in Britain—he wants nothing to do with it, especially when he discovers that the unwanted title comes with a troublesome ward, one who is far too old and far too beautiful to be his problem.

Tartan Comes to Town

Warnick arrives in London with a single goal: get the chit married and see her become someone else's problem, then return to a normal, quiet life in Scotland. It's the perfect plan, until Lily declares she'll only marry for love...and the Scot finds that there is one thing in England he likes far too much...

A Scot in the Dark is the second book in the Scandal & Scoundrel series by Sarah MacLean and it was a book that I was looking forward to. I loved the hell out of the first book in this series so I jumped into this book with both feet. I was so ready for more of the same with Warnick and Lily but sadly, that didn’t happen at all. At least, not for me.

So this story is about Warnick (King’s friend from The Rogue Not Taken), the newly appointed Duke of Warnick and Lillian Hargrove, his ward. Alec becomes the twenty-something Duke of Warnick and he really wants nothing to do with the title. He inherits the dukedom and everything that comes with it, including the ward of the dukedom. A young woman who is under his care and he knows nothing about her until she lands herself at the center of a huge scandal. He hails to London to try to figure things out and help out in whatever way that he can. Now, he may not want to be a Duke but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a Duke. I’ll explain what I mean about that in a minute.

Lillian Hargrove has been a ward of the Dukedom since she was eleven years old. Her mother died when she was a child and her father died a few years later, leaving her an orphan. Her fathers employer, a previous Duke of Warnick takes over the care of Lily so while she’s got a roof over her head and food to eat, she’s still all alone in the world. She doesn’t fit in with the servants, she’s not a lady of the ton so she exists somewhere in the middle where nobody really pays attention to her.

Lily was really hard to take in the beginning of this novel. I understood her anguish and her humiliation but her attitude toward Warnick when he shows up on the scene to try to help her out of the jam, made me want to punch her in the tits. Lily is the ward of the Duke of Warnick. She has a house over her head, a bed to sleep in and food to eat because he allows it so I find it very hard to believe a ward in a historical romance who just got caught up in a scandal would speak to and treat their guardian with as much disrespect as Lily treated Alec. She was a freaking brat and she doesn’t have the excuse of being a kid to fall on since she’s a grown ass woman!

But things turned around with Lily. I understood why she acted out and while I didn’t agree with her lashing out at every turn, she does come around. She does let Warnick in and she does begin to trust him and then it was Warnicks turn to get on my hot damn nerves.

They fall in love with each other but Warnick has a secret that he’s not telling Lily. The main reason he can’t and will not marry her, even though he wishes that he were the kind of man that could marry her. [Insert eye roll emoji here] He won’t marry her because she deserves better. So he tries to push her on someone who doesn’t love her and is only marrying her for the large dowry he’s giving him. So…she doesn’t deserve him but she does deserve someone who is only marrying her for money? WTF? He wishes he were a better man, someone deserving of her? Then be a freaking better man for her! Stop crying about old shit.

On top of that stuff, there were so many other things that disappointed me in this book. I was sorely disappointed in King and Sophie in this book. King and Warnick are supposed to be friends, good friends from their school days but how close could they have been if Warnick didn’t get a heads up that Peg (someone that King knew about) was at the ball that King and Sophie threw? Why was Derek Hawkins allowed entrance into their ball as well? They didn’t want to cause a scandal? I call bullshit on that since Sophie is a freaking Dangerous Daughter. Her family thrives on scandal. I mean, wasn’t Lily hurt enough by that point? I mean, I guess maybe King didn’t know Warnick’s secret but by then, it didn’t even matter because so many other things bothered me.

Overall, this was a disappointing read all around. I started the book disappointed in the bratty behavior of the heroine and ended the book disappointed with how dumb the hero acted.

Grade: 1 out of 5


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Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

Posted September 1, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
The Rogue Not Taken (Scandal & Scoundrel #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Scandal & Scoundrel #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: December 29th 2015
Pages: 419
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Goodreads
five-stars

LADY SOPHIE'S SOCIETY SPLASH

The youngest of the infamous Talbot sisters scandalized society at the Liverpool Summer Soiree, striking her sister’s notoriously philandering husband and landing him backside-first in a goldfish pond. And we thought Sophie was the quiet one…

When she finds herself the target of very public aristocratic scorn, Sophie Talbot does what she must to escape the city and its judgment—she flees on the back of a carriage, vowing never to return to London…or to society. But the carriage isn’t saving her from ruin. It’s filled with it.

ROYAL ROGUE'S REIGN OF RAVISHMENT!

The Marquess of Eversley was espied descending a rose trellis—escaping an irate Earl and his once-future countess. No lady is safe from Eversley’s Engagement Ending Escapades!

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley, has never met a woman he couldn’t charm, a quality that results in a reputation far worse than the truth, a furious summons home, and a long, boring trip to the Scottish border. When King discovers stowaway Sophie, however, the trip 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, and suddenly opposites are altogether too attractive…

Holy cow, this book!

I think this book entertained the socks off of me throughout the entire thing. Right from the very beginning, I was wrapped up in Sophie and King. Their first conversation? LOVED IT. When he realizes that she’s still around? LOVED IT. All of the bickering, all of the sexual tension, I ate it all up. I’m hard pressed to find something that I didn’t like though if I had to choose, it would probably be King taking Sophie to meet his father at his childhood home. That wasn’t a bundle of fun but it wasn’t supposed to be. I should probably mention the initial scandal that Sophie was part of as well. I wasn’t a fan of that either. That freaking brother in law of hers was such a dickhead that I’m glad she pushed in the pond.

This book had everything that I love in my romances so of course it was a winner in my book.

Sophie Talbot is the quiet one. She’s the Talbot sister that nobody pays much attention to because she’s not as glamorous as her other sisters or as scandalous. She’s kind of a wallflower and she despises all things that have to do with the ton but she is loyal and when she comes across her brother in law doing some shady shit with someone not her sister, she does what any loyal sister would do. She pushes him into a pond like a boss and then tells him off…in front of an audience. Needless to say, after that whole drama, Sophie is not popular amongst the aristocracy. She’s also in big trouble with her mother. Trying to escape the ball is turning out to be a whole lot of trouble.

Kingscote, the Marquess of Eversley meets Sophie Talbot when he’s climbing down a trellis of the very same ball where she caused quite a commotion of her own. He’s running from a woman’s fiance’ and she’s running from everyone else. Sophie asks King for a ride home and he said no. He thought that would be the end of his association with Sophie but haha, yeah right.

These two had me in fits throughout the entire book. They bickered like champs and the adventure they went on had me bent over laughing my ass off more than once. I loved watching them fall in love with each other at the same time that they were fighting with each other. They got on each other’s nerves but they couldn’t stay away from each other and I seriously adored the both of them.

This was a wonderfully written and completely charming historical romance that entertained the socks right off of me and made me want more from this world. I couldn’t wait to start the next book in this series. I’m hoping that we haven’t seen the last of Sera, Sophie’s sister. Highly recommend for fans of MacLean’s other works and for fans of the lighter historical romances like Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare and others like them.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

five-stars


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

Posted February 4, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Holly
Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #4
Also in this series: A Rogue by Any Other Name, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover,
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: November 25th 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

RITA® Award-winning author Sarah MacLean reveals the identity of The Fallen Angel's final scoundrel in the spectacular conclusion to her New York Times bestselling Rules of Scoundrels series . . .
By day, she is Lady Georgiana, sister to a duke, ruined before her first season in the worst kind of scandal. But the truth is far more shocking—in London's darkest corners, she is Chase, the mysterious, unknown founder of the city's most legendary gaming hell. For years, her double identity has gone undiscovered . . . until now.
Brilliant, driven, handsome-as-sin Duncan West is intrigued by the beautiful, ruined woman who is somehow connected to a world of darkness and sin. He knows she is more than she seems, and he vows to uncover all of Georgiana's secrets, laying bare her past, threatening her present, and risking all she holds dear . . . including her heart.

I’m sad to see the end of the Rules of Scoundrels series, though I’m happy to say MacLean really went out with a bang. This was an excellent read.

Lady Georgiana was introduced in Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart. She is the younger sister of The Duke of Leighton. She was ruined when she became pregnant out of wedlock. It’s been many years and she’s mostly fine with not being accepted in society, until it becomes apparent her daughter will also be snubbed. By day she may be the fallen sister of the Duke of Leighton, but by night she is Chase, the founder of the Fallen Angel, and she holds more power than any man in England, for she knows the secrets of everyone.

She plans to use her knowledge to secure herself a place in society, and a strong marriage to a titled gentleman, in order to pave the way for her daughter. She hopes to win a proposal without resorting to blackmail, though she isn’t above it if necessary. All is going as plan until Duncan West, owner of the city’s largest newspaper, takes an interest in her. She can’t let Duncan find out her secrets, but she can’t afford to turn him away when he offers to help repair her reputation. They’re more similar than they like to admit, and the attraction between them is hard to deny. But Duncan has secrets from his own past he doesn’t want revealed. Plus, he lacks the one thing Georgiana desperately needs…a title.

Chase is the most enigmatic and mysterious owner of the Fallen Angel. Throughout the series, there have been clues about Chase’s identity, but it isn’t until this book that she’s finally revealed (Though I feel pretty smug that I called who Chase was right after the last book was released.). I wasn’t sure what to expect from a female gaming hell owner, but Lady Georgiana was everything I could have hoped for. Strong, independent, wily and manipulative.

Duncan was a good fit for her, since he, too, was wily and manipulative. As a newspaper magnate, he’s learned to be cagey and trade in information. His secrets were well kept, and he did well at ferreting out the secrets of others. Yet he had a surprising about of honor for a journalist.

They had a good amount of chemistry. Their witty banter and constant sparring made for interesting reading. I did feel like Georgiana kept her secrets a lot longer than she needed to, but I understood why she felt the need to hold her cards close to her chest. I also felt like she took an unnecessary amount of risks with her identity after she came back out into society. Especially since she knew Duncan had figured out who she was (not Chase, but the madame at the club, who she’d masquerading as for years).

I’m sad to see the series end, but MacLean is ending on a high note.  The final resolution was satisfying and, though I’ll miss them, I think all four founders of the Fallen Angel have moved on to bigger and better things.

4 out of 5

Reading Order:

four-stars


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