Author: Sarah MacLean

Review: The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

Posted July 6, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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 | 8 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
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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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Review: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

Posted January 22, 2013 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Holly
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #2
Also in this series: A Rogue by Any Other Name, , Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: January 29th 2013
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Lady Philippa Marbury is . . . odd
The brilliant, bespectacled daughter of a double marquess cares more for books than balls, for science than the season, and for laboratories than love. She's looking forward to marrying her simple fiancé and living out her days quietly with her dogs and her scientific experiments. But before that, Pippa has two weeks to experience all the rest—fourteen days to research the exciting parts of life. It's not much time, and to do it right she needs a guide familiar with London's darker corners.
She needs . . . a Scoundrel
She needs Cross, the clever, controlled partner in London's most exclusive gaming hell, with a carefully crafted reputation for wickedness. But reputations often hide the darkest secrets, and when the unconventional Pippa boldly propositions him, seeking science without emotion, she threatens all he works to protect. He is tempted to give Pippa precisely what she wants . . . but the scoundrel is more than he seems, and it will take every ounce of his willpower to resist giving the lady more than she ever imagined.

I absolutely loved the first book in this series, A Rogue By Any Other Name (a rare 5 star read for me), and couldn’t wait to read this second book. I wasn’t disappointed. MacLean pulled me in again for another fabulous read.

Pippa is a very smart young woman. She knows she’s considered odd by the ton and is grateful to have been offered a chance at marriage – something she didn’t think would ever happen. She’s to have a double wedding with her sister Olivia in less than a month. The problem is, she has no idea what to expect from marriage. She needs help…and she knows just who to get it from. Mr. Cross, her brother-in-law’s business partner, is the perfect man to help her discover what she’s in for in the marriage bed. His reputation proceeds him and Pippa knows he’ll be the best partner for her research.

Cross is shocked when his partner’s sister-in-law shows up in his office asking to be ruined. He can’t deny it’s a tempting offer, but he’s not in a position to be able to help. Except..he can’t quite seem to be rid of the girl. Every time he turns around, there’s Pippa, insinuating herself in his life and ensuring she stays on his mind constantly. The more he’s around her, the more he wants her..but that isn’t to be. He has other obligations and they don’t include tying himself to a woman. Not even one as interesting and irresistible as Pippa.

When scandal threatens, Cross must do what is right for both of them. But sometimes that’s easier said than done, especially when the lady has other ideas…

Pippa is a bluestocking through and through. She’s interested in mathematics and science and horticulture – is, in fact, working on cross-breeding roses – but she’s very naive when it comes to the relationship between a man and a woman. She believes knowledge is power and intends to find out as much as she can before her marriage, so it won’t be so frightening. I really enjoyed Pippa. She was a strong-willed, clever girl. She also had common sense. She wasn’t looking for true ruination, but knowledge. That she was willing to marry because she’d made a vow and intended to stick to it..well, I really enjoyed that.

Cross is a tortured soul. He walked away from his family as a young man out of guilt and a misplaced sense of protection. Now he’s trying to help his sister get out of a tight spot. He had a strong sense of right and wrong, despite owning a gaming hell. I enjoyed his wit and his sense of justice. I also loved how much he admired Pippa. Right from the beginning he respects her. It always amuses me when a man is surprised when a woman is honorable. Cross was surprised at first, which made me laugh.

I wish we’d seen more between Cross and his sister. I expected there to be some kind of confrontation between them with Pippa working as his advocate..or something. That was the weakest part of the novel for me.

Aside from that, I enjoyed the romance and the resolution. I’m truly sorry it ended.

4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

four-half-stars


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