Series: Love by Numbers

Throwback Thursday Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean

Posted March 19, 2020 by Rowena in Giveaways, Reviews | 7 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers #1
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: March 30, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 422
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.

But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.

If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on March 31, 2010.

I am a sucker for the unrequited love story. The longing and the pining never cease to make my heart race as I wonder how the author is going to bring these two people together. Whether they’re best friends turned lovers or a woman with a longstanding crush, the excitement of that kind of story never fails to make my heart sigh as I’m reading the book. That was the case with this book.

I adored it.

It took me no time at all to read this book because every spare moment I had, I had my nose buried in this book. It’s funny because my sister was visiting from Colorado when I started this book and her 4-year-old son took to teasing me about all the reading I did with. He would sit on the couch and put his hands in the shape of a book in front of his face, pretending to read and ask me, “Who am I, Aunty Wena?”

Haha, Kainoa…very funny but I couldn’t help it. This book was so good. It wasn’t anything new, the storyline isn’t a storyline that was fresh but the dialogue and the characters were refreshing and unbelievably bewitching. My favorite part of this book is surprising, the heroine, Lady Calpurnia Hartwell. She’s a wallflower, a spinster. She’s on the shelf and after a conversation, she overheard between her younger sister and her sister’s fiance about her and another conversation with her brother, the Earl of Allendale, Callie sets about having adventures. She goes about learning how to fence, smoking cheroots, kissing men in the middle of the night and all sorts of other adventures that had me laughing, holding my breath and laughing all over again.

As great as Gabriel was, it was Callie that made this story for me. I loved seeing her interact with her family, most especially her brother and sister. You can tell that there was a wealth of love between the siblings and I loved the scene between Callie and Benny when Callie comes home late and Benny’s waiting up for her and she confesses all about her adventures and then asks him to let her smoke a cheroot and he finally caves. That scene was such a sweet and funny scene, one that I absolutely adored.

I seriously adored this book. I can’t recommend it enough because it was a great book with fantastic characters and a storyline that kept me entertained from the beginning to the end. I will definitely be checking out more books by Sarah McLean and I’m very anxious to do so. If you’re looking for a fantastic historical that will make you laugh, this is definitely the book for you.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Love By Numbers

four-half-stars


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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 MacLeanReviewer: Rowena
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers #3
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 367
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: 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: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean

Posted May 1, 2011 by Tracy in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Tracy
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love By Numbers #3
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 367
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: 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.

Juliana’s mother took off when she was 10 and when her father died she was shipped off to a family (brothers) that she didn’t even know existed. The brothers, Gabriel and Nick, very much care for Juliana but they want her to fit in to London Society and while Juliana wants to make them happy, society & Juliana really aren’t a good fit. Juliana’s got a passion and a zest for life that society wants nothing to do with. She tries to fit in an become the perfect little Stepford Child that everyone expects but because of who she is A) Italian (gasp!) and B) of questionable birth, scandal surrounds her no matter where she goes.

Juliana, besides having a wonderful joie de vivre, has a burning desire for the Duke of Leighton. But Simon was raised by his mother – I call her the Commander of Cold – and he is one of those in society that bases everything on reputation. He wants no hint of scandal to surround him as his is all that is good and proper. Simon and Juliana meet and he has no idea who she is. He is enthralled with her…until he finds out her identity. Then it’s harsh remarks and cold, disdainful looks. Though this hurts Juliana she is determined to break his hard outer shell, get to the soft Simon center and make him feel passion.

The duke agrees to 2 weeks of Juliana “showing” him passion but he argues with himself about doing it. At the same time as he is having his “experiences” with Juliana he’s making arrangements to marry a proper, perfect, wealthy girl. You see, Simon has a scandal in his family that is a secret and he’s preparing for when that scandal is found out and he wants everything to be perfect before that. I’m not quite sure what he thinks getting things prepared will do. With London society as it was apparently you didn’t actually have to do anything bad – you could be related to someone who did and still be ostracized.

This book kind of reminded me of when I was little and I would capture the lightning bugs in a jar when I went to visit my grandparents in Iowa. I would capture the lightning bug in the jar and be completely fascinated by it’s light. But it would buzz around trying to get out and find freedom. Eventually its light would dim and die out. Ok, granted the bug eventually died from lack of air and Juliana in the book didn’t but you get the whole idea, right? (and I only did that a couple of times before I realized the bugs were dying and never did it again!)

The story is about Juliana trying to fit in and be herself, without having her light dimmed by society, and Simon trying to hold on to all he knows without letting scandal touch his family. But in the end we find that neither can happen.

I really, really liked this book. If felt so strongly for both Simon and Juliana in two completely different ways. Simon I was sad for because of his upbringing and his lack of fun. He’d been in control for so long and I just wanted him to let loose and give in to the things he desired. For Juliana – I hated to see the hurt she had to go through with the London socialites who were mean and vicious. Man they had sharp tongues! I loved Simon and Juliana together. They each had something that they could give the other and I adored seeing them come together the way they did, especially because no one else could see the attraction – an unlikely couple that just worked.

Overall a really great book

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Love By Numbers

four-half-stars


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

Posted April 27, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah McLeanReviewer: Holly
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #3
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1)
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 26th 2011
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

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.

 
I was somewhat disappointed with the 2nd book in this series, Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord, but this was much more on par with MacLean’s first release, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake. I really enjoyed it. The characters came across well and the storyline was lively and fun.

Juliana has been feeling like an outcast since she left Italy to live with her brothers in England. The English are so reserved, so passionless. She longs for the day when she can leave and go back to Italy. Except..she can’t quite get over this small attraction she has to Simon Pearson, The Duke of Leighton. She shouldn’t be interested in him, he’s haughty and cold..except when he’s not. She wants to break through that icy exterior to find the heat beneath.

Simon is in a desperate rush to save his family reputation. Thanks to a reckless act by his sister, he must marry as quickly as possible – to someone with unimpeachable character. The frustrating Juliana Fiori is about as far as he can get from propriety. But when she stows-away in his carriage he has a hard time resisting temptation. Especially once she throws down a challenge – daring him to unleash the passion inside him. But Juliana doesn’t understand what’s at stake – passion could ruin his entire family.

Simon and Juliana have been dancing around each other since the first book. It seemed there was more to him than The Duke of Disdain, but he proved us wrong in the second book with his actions toward his sister. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this novel. While there were times I wanted to kosh him over the head with a chamberpot, I eventually came to love him just as much as Juliana did. The weight of his responsibilities sat very heavily on him, which made him a more likable character.

With Juliana, I was worried she’d be one of the harebrained women who acted first and thought later..but that wasn’t really the case. Yes, she wanted passion, but she wasn’t reckless. And most of the scandals she found herself wrapped up in – or almost scandals – were not of her making. Her attraction to Simon frustrated her, but she wasn’t afraid to confront him about it. I think that’s what I loved best about her..she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind, or tell others what she wanted. Simon might have been a stick-in-the-mud, but Juliana called him on it.

They had chemistry in spades, but as we all know, chemistry isn’t enough. I think MacLean did a good job of showcasing that for us here. Yes, they were attracted to each other, but duty and honor played a large part in their actions. So did friendship and mutual respect. They really came to rely on one another, which was touching.

I’m disappointed that MacLean didn’t tie up all the loose ends. Since this is to be the end of the series I expected everything would be cleared up. Why did she bother to introduce Juliana’s mother into the story if she was going to leave it unresolved?

Despite a few issues, overall this was a fun, sexy read. I found the story engrossing and the characters flawed but lovable.

4.5 out of 5

Love By Numbers

four-half-stars


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

Posted January 13, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Holly
Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Love by Numbers #2
Also in this series: Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord (Love By Numbers, #2), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart (Love By Numbers, #3), Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Numbers, #1)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 26th 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Since being named “London’s Lord to Land” by a popular ladies’ magazine, Nicholas St. John has been relentlesslypursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presentsitself, he eagerly jumps—only to land in the path of the most determined, damnably delicious woman he’s ever met!
The daughter of a titled wastrel, Lady Isabel Townsend has too many secrets and too little money. Though she is used to taking care of herself quite handily, her father’s recent passing has left Isabel at sea and in need of outside help to protect her young brother’s birthright. The sinfully handsome, eminently eligible Lord Nicholas could be the very salvation she seeks.
But the lady must be wary and not do anything reckless and foolish…like falling madly, passionately in love.

Although this was a good read (I even stayed up late to finish it in one sitting) it wasn’t as well done as her first release, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake.

Lady Isabel Townsend is at her wits end. Her wastrel of a father has died, leaving nothing behind for her or her brother, the new earl, to live on. The guardian he selected is no where to be found. And she has a house full of women she’s given sanctuary to. Other than marriage, something she flat out refuses to consider, her only available option for keeping everyone fed, clothed and in shelter is to sell the marble statues she inherited from her mother. The collection should bring her enough to start a new life, in a new house, where she, the girls and her brother will be safe and happy. The problem is finding someone who can value the collection while still keeping all her secrets and those of the manor safe.

Nicholas St. John is desperate to get away from London. Ever since a ladies magazine named him on the list of ‘Lords to Land’, he hasn’t had a moments peace from the unmarried ladies and matchmaking mamas. When his friend the Duke of Leighton asks him for help locating his missing sister he agrees just to get out of town. He ends up meeting Lady Isabel and agreeing to look at her statues, mainly because he’s suspicious of her and curious. He’s surprised to find that he truly likes her, however, and it isn’t long before they’re both fighting a strong attraction. But is it real, or is Nicholas just trying to rescue another damsel in distress? And can Isabel let go of her past and learn to trust him?

Isabel was a well rounded character, excepting that her reasons for avoiding marriage, especially her final denial, didn’t ring true to me. Her constant claims that she could take care of herself carried less weight than they should have, since she obviously couldn’t do it alone. In the beginning of the novel I applauded her independence, but as the novel wore on she seemed more stupid than strong.

Nicholas wasn’t quite what I expected based on the previous novel. For someone who wanted to save women, he was rather harsh with Isabel. Though he wasn’t dishonest, his words, and the way he spoke them, hurt. Not only the heroine, but the reader as well. He was a likable character with a strong sense of responsibility, but I thought he lashed out a little too often.

Naturally there was much to like. The secondary characters balanced the story well, especially Isabel’s ‘girls’ and the young earl. The scenes where he and Nicholas bonded were very touching.

My heart broke for Isabel’s plight. The lack of caring shown by her family was appalling, and explained much about her attitude toward marriage. Seeing her and Nicholas come to trust one another was compelling, though somewhat lessened by the actions of both.

Overall a strong read, but not as good as the first.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Love By Numbers

four-stars


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