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

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When Harry Met Molly by Kieran Kramer

Setting: Regency 1816

Summary:

He’s always been a player.
Dashing Lord Harry Traemore is perfectly content to live out his days in the pursuit of pleasure. But when he’s named by the Prince Regent as one of society’s “Impossible Bachelors,” Harry is drafted into a ribald romantic wager. The rules of engagement are scandalously simple: The bachelor whose mistress wins the title of “Most Delectable Companion” gets to remain unmarried. Harry is utterly unconcerned about his status…until his latest lightskirt abandons him.

Who will win this game of love?
Enter Lady Molly Fairbanks. Harry’s childhood friend—actually, “foe” is more like it—is the most unlikely companion of all. She’s attractive but hot-headed, and in no mood for games. Besides, what could the self-indulgent Harry possibly know about what makes a woman delectable? It’s time for Molly to teach him a lesson once and for all…but will it lead to “happily ever after?”

Click cover for excerpt and more info!

Review:

After seeing how many authors graced the front and back covers of Kieran Kramer’s new debut spouting all kinds of praise and hearing all the hype about her, I had high hopes for her first book to blow me away. Sadly, though the book had it’s moments, and wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t near to what I expected after reading all that praise. This was a light, funny, quite fun, easy read that sometimes dragged and was also very implausible. My biggest problem? Lack of chemistry between the hero and heroine.

At the very start, it is made clear that Harry and his sister-in-law Molly are enemies. Now, I’m a sucker for a good hate-to-love story (think Pride and Prejudice) but the romance here just felt underdeveloped. I just couldn’t see what drew these two together, except for how much they couldn’t stand (and then eventually lusted) for each other. It was one more moment I hate you then next moment I want you sooo bad! As a result, I didn’t feel particularly drawn to them and wasn’t going over the moon when it seemed they couldn’t be together.

As a hero, Harry was just ok, though I didn’t particularly feel drawn to him, like I do with other heroes. He was a bit bland for me. I did like Molly alot though and found her feisty and sweet nature thoroughly irresistible!

The storyline was entertaining though and very fresh. I couldn’t wait to see what would come next in the competition for the Most Delectable Companion. I also enjoyed the secondary characters, exp the other mistresses Molly meets who (as one would expect) had very modern personalities and were not that lady like.

However, I couldn’t get over how Molly was able to be Harry’s fake mistress and yet go home, reputation untarnished. It wasn’t very well explained and ruined the good storyline slightly as I kept wondering how.

So overall, a fun, light read that’s something new in the romance genre but there was a lack of chemistry between the hero and heroine, which is a bummer as it might have been brilliant!

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

Verdict: A fun, fresh read but suffers from lack of chemistry and an implausible premise

Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 stars

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