One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

One Good Earl Deserves a LoverSetting: Regency

Summary:

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 willpower to resist giving the lady more than she ever imagined.

Review:

I love Sarah MacLean. All her books thus have been sexy, witty, and surprisingly fresh in a genre that can seem very predictable at times. But I never expected how much I would love this book. To be honest, I came into this book with a lot misapprehensions because I thought the way that Philippa and Cross got thrown together was a bit cliche (Philippa’s sister and Cross’s friend are the heroes of the first book in the series) and I couldn’t really see how they would suit each other. A cold, calculating, rakish, gaming hell partner with a socially awkward bluestocking who wears glasses? Not really an ideal match at all!

But I should never have doubted Sarah MacLean’s talent for creating emotionally poignant stories with characters that have so many layers and who slowly reveal themselves to be so perfect for each other, you should never have doubted it in the first place. At least that was the case for me!

This was an amazing book and this was clearly one of Ms. MacLean’s favourites to write because of the amount of thought and downright awesome-ness that was just packed into it. The story was so well paced and flowed so well and yet managed to be unpredictable and fresh at the same time.  I loved the way it was written and I honestly had the hardest time putting this down!

Despite not warming to Philippa in the last book when she introduced, I grew to adore this determined, logically based young woman. Sure she can be immature and naive sometimes but that’s part of the reason she is so endearing to the reader. And don’t get me started on Cross who turned out to be one of my biggest romance hero crushes ever! You gotta love a guy who has a thing for the wallflower 😛 I simply adored their scenes together and their love scenes literally had me fanning myself, they were sizzling with tension! I love how they didn’t jump right into bed either but held back-makes it all so much more exciting to read!

To sum it all up: A great plot with great characters and a romance you won’t soon forget! This is definitely one of my top picks for this year! Well done Sarah! Can’t wait for your next book! 😀

Sensuality Rating: Pretty hot (4/5)

Verdict: Just read it! You won’t regret this one!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Advertisements

A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

Setting: Late Regency 1831

Summary:

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 such unexplored pleasures.

Bourne may be a prince of London’s 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.

Click cover for more info!

Review:

After very much mostly enjoying Ms. MacLean’s first series Love By Numbers, I figured I would enjoy her next series about four fallen aristocrats living in the underworld of London trying to find their way back to society. A great premise and something different from the usual ballroom and afternoon tea drama. I knew it would be good but not this good. Sarah MacLean has really outdone herself here! I’m so glad I read this book as I can safely say it is one of the best romances I have ever read! 😀

This is a story about two very different people who are thrown together and despite the odds end up falling in love.

The heroine is Penelope Marbury, the jilted fiance from Eleven Scandals to Win a Duke’s Heart who was described in a very unflattering light as ‘the grape’ by that book’s very feisty and scandalous heroine. A very odd choice for a heroine as there was nothing particular special about Penelope except that she is so proper and so perfect. But she really shines in this book and I admired the way MacLean pealed back the perfect, demure (dare I say dull?) exterior and revealed a woman of inner strength and selflessness. She ends being a heroine you quite admire, perhaps more than the usual daring, feisty heroines.

As for the hero, Bourne was not just your typical arrogant, rakish so called ‘bad’ hero with a heart a gold: he really was a scoundrel and he had real problems which took time to overcome, especially his desire for revenge. He was admirable, particularly for driving himself to make a good life for himself as part owner of The Fallen Angel gaming hell after he had everything taken from him.

It wasn’t easy liking these two protagonists and it says something that MacLean manged to make both way more than they first appeared and making us root for their happy ever after. They were amazing together and you really believed they were meant for each other. Putting their childhood letters in at the start of every chapter was a very nice touch and allowed us access to their past association. Alot of their scenes had me sighing and truly touched by the real emotions they held for each other. She had to come to terms with the fact he isn’t the man she used to know and he had to accept the fact that if he wanted a future with her, he had to stop his revenge. There isn’t an easy way out for these two but that makes the ending so much more enjoyable.

MacLean writes in a style that reminds me of Anna Campbell, particularly for this book with its dark undertones and focus on the characters’ feelings. Be warned, this is not a happy, light read. There are moments of lightness though, with lots of funny scenes with Penelope’s sisters and some great scenes between the four heroes of this whole series. I enjoyed the peek into the world of Regency gambling, rife with danger and risk.

I also loved the wit, humor and emotion in her writing. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, I was surprised at how things ended up. What an amazing read! 😀

Overall, this book is a great example of what historical romance can be when done right. It is funny, deep, touching, romantic, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable! Some readers might be put off by how ‘prudish’ and ‘dull’ the heroine was at the start but stick with the book and I promise you’ll be surprised. It was a joy reading this book and I’m now very impatient to read book 2 and return to the world of The Fallen Angel!

Sensuality Rating: HOT!

Verdict: Absolutely brilliant. Highly recommended. You won’t be able to put it down!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart by Sarah MacLean

Setting: Regency 1823

*Third in Love By Numbers trilogy*

Summary:

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.

Click cover for excerpt and more info!

Review:

I loved Nine Rules, was disappointed with Ten Ways and really hoped that Eleven Scandals would show me once again why I loved Sarah MacLean. I’m very happy to say that this was a book that did credit to Sarah and I thoroughly enjoyed this sweet, touching (and spicy!) opposites attract story! 😀

Juliana, the heroine, is the outspoken Italian miss who’s scandalous past makes her stand out among the English roses of high society. Readers who have followed the series from book one know just how outrageous she is with her impulsive speech and how lovable she is with her lack of knowledge of English phrases and her insecurity about fitting in. From book one, I wanted this spunky, yet secretly vulnerable heroine to get her own book and was so excited when this book came out!

Simon, our greatly esteemed duke is the perfect match for our feisty heroine and the sparks are there every time these two meet! He’s obsessed with propriety but secretly guards a hidden passionate nature to match hers 😉 It was hard liking this stuck-up, snobbish, self-righteous hero but thankfully he turned out ok in the end! So she’s too improper and he’s too proper-so you know these two have got things to teach other. A lot like Pride and Prejudice, the story features opposites who bicker and duel but end up learning things from each other and end up happily ever after. (Oh wait, that was a spoiler! :P)

And like Nine Rules, the story was unpredictable enough to keep a veteran romance reader like myself hooked. It had a couple of twists I generally didn’t see coming! I also love Sarah’s writing-witty, sophisticated and just so good that part of the pleasure of this book came from just enjoying her writing alone. Simon and Juliana were adorable together and I loved seeing them get their happily ever after! The only thing that could have been improved was seeing more of Simon’s transformation into a man Juliana could love. I felt that it kinda happened too suddenly, without much explanation.

In terms of plotline, the story was very character-driven and there was no external villain-instead the hero and heroine had to deal with their (at first) unwanted feelings for each other. The love scenes were pretty spicy, and were probably made more so by seeing such a proper, stiff hero succumb to his baser passions 😉 I also loved seeing the heroes and heroines from the other novels and how they were getting on. It’s always nice to see what happens after happily ever after. 🙂

So, if you’re looking for a well-written, fresh, witty, touching, spicy romance reminiscent of Pride and Prejudice, pick this one up-you won’t regret it! Can’t wait for Sarah’s next book!

Sensuality Rating: Hot (Love scenes are pretty long and pretty explicit)

Verdict: A sweet, witty romance and a perfect ending to a good trilogy!

Rating: 4 and a half out of 5 stars

Ten Ways to Be Adored When Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean

Setting: Regency 1823

Summary:

Since being named “London’s Lord to Land” by a popular ladies’ magazine, Nicholas St. John has been relentlessly pursued by every matrimony-minded female in the ton. So when an opportunity to escape fashionable society presents itself, 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.

Click cover for more info!

Review:

After reading and loving the first book in this series, I couldn’t wait for the second one, especially since I had kinda fallen for the hero as a secondary character in the first one. 😉 Nick seemed like an awesome hero and since I personally have a soft spot for kind, honorable heroes rather than the more rakish ones, I was just dying to read this one.

I wish I could say I loved it and that it was a worthy sequel but that would be a lie. There was so much promise for this one but somewhere along the way, the potential was lost in a predictable, cheesy, improbable and frankly quite dull novel. The beginning was funny, witty and promised another great read but once the hero/heroine met, things went downhill.

It was clear from the start that the hero/heroine were meant for each other which heightened my anticipation for when they met, but I was very disappointed. They just didn’t have enough chemistry! Nick who was a great secondary character in the first one, was just plain bland here. It was enough to put me off the ‘good’ hero for good, which isn’t right because I know from personal experience, if done right, they make awesome swoon worthy heroes. He had his moments though but he couldn’t save this book. Isabel was your typical independent, spunky heroine but that was about it. I tried to sympathize with her situation but I couldn’t help feeling that she really didn’t have much to complain about. I just couldn’t admire her all that much. The conflict was also not big enough to keep me hooked and I just struggled through the book, waiting for it too pick up which it never did.

The plot was also full of improbabilities. I mean more than 3/4 of the book took place in 4 days! 4 days and we have the heroine, who has been let down by every man in her life (and has some serious trust issues) completely falling for the hero. I mean really, realistically, it would take a much longer time for her to trust a man so absolutely. Isabel runs a house protecting young women which was a bit improbable but acceptable. What wasn’t was how she actually climbed on a roof to try to fix it, in full view of the hero. I just felt like banging my head on a wall, her behavior was so beyond what was acceptable.

And then after being let down the first half by the H and H, I waited to meet the characters from the first book and spend more time with them but even that was a letdown. The heroine didn’t even meet any of the previous characters! They all appeared for like two pages and were gone! The only light here was meeting the hero for the next book, who will prove interesting!

The love scenes were bland as well, and just seemed like copies of the love scenes in the first book-Looks like the brothers really are twins-they even have sex the same way!! :O I just found the scenes cheesy and unlikely as Isabel just seemed to jump right onto Nick’s lap without even the slightest consideration for propriety or even the smallest concern for her virtue.

Please, Ms MacLean, I know you can do much better than this! I’ll be reading your next book just because I have so much faith in you!

Sensuality Rating: Hot (Long and explicit scenes)

Final Verdict: Sorry to say, but you should skip this one and wait for book three!

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean

Setting: Regency 1823

Summary:

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 . . .

Click cover to order from Amazon

Review:

A book that starts with an adventurous list… What’s not to like?

I completely fell in love with this book from page one. Callie was such a great heroine and one with issues we all can relate to. She’s been a wallflower much of her life because she isn’t considered beautiful by society’s standards and yet she’s passionate, adventurous and so much more than anyone would have expected. I really related to her and rooted for her the entire novel.

Ralston on the other hand… Well, let’s just say he had me glued to the page, my cheeks aflame for much of the book. 😛

But it wasn’t just his obvious sexiness that hooked me, it was his ability to recognize Callie as worth so much more than his typical courtesans-to fall in love with her and see her for the true beauty she really is.

As for the rest of the characters, they were all easy to fall in love with as well-Callie’s sister and brother and Ralston’s sister and brother were all great; really fleshed out characters that are REAL.

The romance was spicy and well-written and it was clear that Callie and Ralston were well-matched. I love that in books when you can really see the connection between a hero and heroine and I could certainly see it in this one. I loved how Raslton was simultaneously irritated and bewitched by Callie-it made for some spicy interludes. The interactions between them were also so real you can almost imagine them taking place right in front of you.

The premise was unique and very well carried out-It wasn’t at all predictable in terms of what she would do to get the things on her list ticked off and more than that, the book was funny. I laughed several times throughout at the wittiness and the antics that the characters performed. Sarah Maclean has some serious talent and I cannot wait to see what she comes up with for the hero of her next book, Ralston’s twin brother, Nick!

Sensuality Level: Very, very spicy 😉 (Very explicit love scenes)

Verdict: It was fresh, witty, sexy and very romantic–Sarah Maclean is now on my favourite authors list!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

%d bloggers like this: