Series: The Rules of Scoundrels

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, Romance, Historical, General
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: Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean

Posted December 8, 2014 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #4
Also in this series: A Rogue by Any Other Name, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover

chaseRowena’s review of Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover (Rules of Scoundrels #4) by Sarah MacLean.

SPOILERS AHEAD, READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK

She is the most powerful woman in Britain,
A queen of the London Underworld …
But no one can ever know.

He is the only man smart enough to uncover the truth,
Putting all she has at risk . . .
Including her heart.

The fourth book in New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean’s incredible Rule of Scoundrels/Fallen Angels series. These four dark heroes will steal the hearts of their heroines and the readers alike! This is the last in the Rules of Scoundrels series—Chase’s story

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.

This is the final book in the Rules of Scoundrels series by Sarah MacLean and I was very satisfied with the way that MacLean ended the series. I closed the book (well on my eReader) with a happy sigh because I was completely content with the way that things turned out. Each character ended up with who they were meant to be with and the links between her two series made my happy. When I found out who Chase was, I hit myself in the forehead because duh it couldn’t have been anyone else. It made sense.

It was nice to see Chase come as far as she did from the very first time that we saw her and I really liked the person that she grew up to be. Her circumstances shaped her life and it wasn’t an easy life for her but she turned things around for her and made a great life for, not only herself but for her daughter as well. I thought that was commendable.

So this story follows Chase, aka Lady Georgiana, sister to the Duke of Leighton as she falls in love with Mr. Duncan West.  The guy behind the newspapers. All of the newspapers. Lady Georgianna needs to get married to secure a good future for her daughter, Caroline. So she’s re-entering society to find a titled husband who can get her the respectability she needs. She doesn’t necessarily care for it or want it for herself since she hates the ton with everything in her but for her daughter, there isn’t a thing she wouldn’t do.

Enter Mr. Duncan West. He’s a journalist first and foremost and he smells a good story in a the fallen angel (ha, literally!) trying to re-enter a society that gives her the cut direct at every turn but when he comes across Lady Georgianna giving as good as she gets outside a ballroom, he’s intrigued. By the woman and by her story. Okay, so he feels a little guilty for his part in her downfall but he’s got a chance to make up a bit of it up to her by helping her in the papers.

The attraction is hot right from the jump between these two. Every time that they shared page time, the chemistry is evident. I really enjoyed their interactions with each other. I thought MacLean did a wonderful job of bringing these two together. Their word play and their obvious attraction made for some pretty entertaining reading.

Now, this wasn’t the most perfect of books. I thought it took far too long for Chase to trust West. She could have saved herself a lot of heartache if she would have come clean a lot sooner than she did. West was a bit impatient but that’s understandable, considering Chase was holding her cards close to her chest without taking any of the chances she had to fess up. But in the end, I was incredibly happy that they finally got it right. So I guess I didn’t mind all the angst as much as I thought. Ha!

As the main character of the story, I thought Chase was a well rounded character. You really see her vulnerability but you also see the growth in character from the beginning to end so I thought MacLean handled Chase’s character really well. Same for West. He was imperfectly perfect for Chase and I really liked getting to know him. Seeing the way that he was with both his sister and Caroline was great and I really enjoyed seeing his pool. I wanted to swim with him in that pool.

MacLean did a great job with the recurring characters as well. They were included in the story without overshadowing the main characters. I enjoyed seeing what motivated both Chase and Duncan in their every day lives and I loved seeing their love for the people around them. It was in every interaction Chase had with her partners and their wives. It was in West’s interactions with his sister. It made them approachable and more likable. Chase was this larger than life persona who was untouchable, and same with West. Because of who they were and what they did for a living, they were above every day people and seeing their relationships with the people close to them was great.

Overall, this was a great ending to a great series and I was happy with the way everything came together. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Reading Order:

This book is available from Avon. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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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
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, General
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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Review: A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Posted February 28, 2012 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLeanReviewer: Holly
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
Series: The Rules of Scoundrels #1
Also in this series: One Good Earl Deserves a Lover, , Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover
Published by Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 28th 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Historical, General
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

What a scoundrel wants, a scoundrel gets. . .
A decade ago, the Marquess of Bourne was cast from society with nothing but his title. Now a partner in London's most exclusive gaming hell, the cold, ruthless Bourne will do whatever it takes to regain his inheritance—including marrying perfect, proper Lady Penelope Marbury.
A broken engagement and years of disappointing courtships have left Penelope with little interest in a quiet, comfortable marriage, and a longing for something more. How lucky that her new husband has access to an unexplored world of pleasures.
Bourne may be a prince of London's illicit underworld, but he vows to keep Penelope untouched by its wickedness—a challenge indeed as the lady discovers her own desires, and her willingness to wager anything for them . . . .even her heart.

Another stellar release from MacLean. This is a novel I’ll re-read again and again.

Bourne had everything taken from him in an instant. His guardian, the man his father trusted most in the world, ruined him in a card game. He lost everything – including his land. 10 years later he runs a very successful gaming club. He’s a powerful man with a lot of money behind him. But he still wants revenge. When he finds out his property is part of the dowry of Penelope Marbury, his old childhood friend, he doesn’t hesitate to compromise her into marriage.

Penelope was basically ruined when the Duke of Leighton called off their engagement for a love match. She’s firmly on the shelf and – mostly – happy there. She doesn’t want to settle for a boring, perfect marriage. She wants more. When Michael kidnaps her and says he plans to force her into marriage she realizes this is her chance to really live, to have an adventure. She agrees to marry him as long as he agrees to rejoin society, so that her sisters might make good matches. She also makes him agree to give her adventure.

In order to get the ton to accept him back into their fold and facilitate marriages for her sisters, they pretend to have a love match. But pretending to love each while keeping their feelings out of it is almost impossible. Her feelings for him are tied up in her memories of him from childhood. His are wrapped in the feelings she opens up inside him.

Michael is a dark and tormented man. Penelope is a bright and innocent woman who longs for something more than a boring ton marriage. Together they are…perfect. Her inner strength came through wonderfully. I very much enjoyed watching her grow into her own…and watching him fall for her as she did. She didn’t enjoy being thrown over by Leighton (something that happened in MacLean’s first series), but it made her realize there was more to life than duty. Leighton married for love, and though Penelope doesn’t hold out hope for that, she does think she can be happy. In the beginning she’s somewhat timid and innocent, but she changes as the novel wears on. She finds her confidence, and in the process catches Michael.

Bourne wants nothing more than revenge. He has a plan in place to bring down his former guardian, and that plan includes Penelope. But he doesn’t want a wife, especially not one who makes him feel. Right from the beginning Penelope has him tied up in knots. She surprises him at every turn. She isn’t the same girl he remembers from childhood. She’s bold and warm and caring and willing to stand up for those she cares about..and she’s way too good for him. He’s determined to protect her from himself. He starts out as cold and cynical, but Penelope wears him down. She opens him up and makes him want more from life.

The characters were well drawn and three-dimensional. In the end I came to care for him. I ended the novel feeling warm and fuzzy inside. What more can a reader ask for?

5 out of 5

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

five-stars

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