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Search tags: Nine-Rules-to-Break-When-Romancing-a-Rake
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review 2017-03-30 23:44
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake - Sarah MacLean

Bah humbug!
New author for me, thought I'd like, but man, I wasn't crazy about this book!
Callie just wants to live, so she is going to break some rules! My main issue is, I didn't connect to either character. I wasn't cheering for their story. I really didn't care. I don't know if it's the writing, my mood, or what.
One takeaway- I really want to know what, exactly, Callie used to bind her chest. I would never be able to bind mine enough to pass as a man (and as the books said, she is well-endowed)!

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review 2015-09-06 19:59
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake - Sarah MacLean

I love historical romances but why oh why do they have to do with the aristocracy 95% of the time. And I think that frustration was there as I read this book. I was so tired of the ton. I was so tired of the rules. Ugh! I want to read something about the servants please! Wrong book at wrong time.

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review 2015-07-22 00:00
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Number, #1)
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love By Number, #1) - Sarah MacLean MY GOD WHAT A PAINFUL READ.

I stayed up until 3am to finish this book, NOT because I loved it, but because I just cannot bear to have to come back to this book again. I knew if I had stopped, it would be another month before I could pick up the book again.

What makes this book so painful, is not that it is a bad book. On the contrary, it was a well-written romance with all the right ingredients to make a romance good. The writing is superb. Ms. Sarah MacLean I am sorry that I am giving this book such a low rating. I think you write beautifully.

But for the love of God, what a pathetic heroine. I despise Callie.

Imagine a woman, who did not believe that she was beautiful, fancied that she fell in love with a man who gave her a few nice words and fantasized about him for 10 years. Now firmly on the shelf, she thought oh let me live a little. I will do that with a list of things I would like to do to save myself from my boring aristocratic life with evening gowns and balls. And oh what a poor dear I am because I am so prim and proer and nobody notices me because I am not pretty enough and all that I am worth is to be a spinster and secretly dream about the man who does not even remember having met me. This, is Callie.

And that is not all. Callie listed kissing and decided to get that kiss from said fantasy man, Gabriel St. John. Their entire "relationship" is basically Callie wanting Gabriel to love her and Gabriel was just alone for the ride. What is one more woman to him? It is not that he had never done it before. And seriously, if a woman wants to lay her dignity at the feet of a man, who is he to say no?

For the life of me, I cannot imagine why would ANY woman do such a thing. A man tells his brother behind doors that he thinks you are plain, missish and passive. And he is not interested in you and he is not to blame if you find him attractive. Door opens and it is revealed that you have overheard the conversation. You are hurt and angry. And...............................you let him have oral sex with you right afterwards??

I am sorry this type of ugly duckling turn swan because of a man story just pisses me off. I love the writing and how the story was built up, the tension, the feel of historical romance. Sarah MacLean did well. But the characterization of Callie made me cringe from the beginning to the end. This "oh I am so ugly and he would never love me" sense of inferiority infuriates me to no end.

And th list. Jesus Christ, another bored high-born lady seeking "adventures". Do something useful, help the orphans, visit the sick. You are a spinster, ok, I get it. Do you have to be selfish too?

UGH the frustration I experienced reading this book was beyond words. Everything about Callie rubs me the wrong way. I hardly noticed anyone else. A cad that Gabriel St. John was, I liked him much better than Callie. I even felt sorry for him being stuck with a character like her. The only good thing I can say about Callie is that she is at least not a shrew. She is just a very bored, plain, missish, passive woman who realized she was well past her prime and wanted to "go out with a bang", so to speak. And that she did.

My rating is overly harsh but it truly reflects my feeling toward the character of Callie. Everything else about the book was good.
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review 2015-06-25 02:04
Nine rules for writing an awesome historical romance!
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake - Sarah MacLean

Romance is a huge hit or miss genre for me.  I really enjoy a good romance but I'm picky about what I find to be good.  So finding a new favorite romance author is always VERY exciting.  MacLean was brought to my attention by Rebecca Schinsky of Book Riot. While she and I's book tastes don't overlap terribly, she is an outspoken feminist and fan of literary fiction so I figured if she liked MacLean, I figured her books should be a decently written and feature heroines who wouldn't make me want to scrub my brain out.  I wasn't disappointed!


Calpurnia Hartwell is a well bred lady on the shelf at the age of 27.   She has always played it safe and by the rules but as her younger sister prepares to marry she starts to question what having a spotless reputation has done for her and what it is she really wants from her life.  She makes a list; a bucket list of sorts; of nine things she wants to experience and damn the consequences.  What does she really have to lose after all?  Number one on the list is to be kissed.  In a fit of boldness she decides to approach the man she's had a crush on for 10 years, ever since he'd been kind to her during a disastrous ball in her first season. The Marquess of Ralston has a rake's reputation so she figures he'll be obliging.  He is but he also exacts a price: he wants Callie to use her impeccable reputation to help launch his somewhat scandalous sister into society.  Thus the dance begins.


The most important part of a romance for me are the characters and that is definitely a strength of this book.  Callie is just a regular woman - nothing super special about her.  In fact, on the surface, she's quite dull as she's always followed society's rules and as such does her best at being invisible.  She's got low self esteem which I know may irritate some readers but I think it is a real problem amongst women (and men, really) and was likely especially bad in Regency Era England when women were not valued much.  The book does a good job showing how irrational and crippling it is.  While she is not stunningly beautiful (thank god), she's attractive enough and has a great personality and she shouldn't have had a problem finding a husband but her conviction that she is ugly convinces others she's not worth bothering with.  Her "bucket list" is her declaration of liberation - she finally decides that she matters and that she deserves to find pleasure in life.


Ralston is an alpha hero but I found him to be pretty laid back for his ilk.  He can be grumpy and controlling but mostly when things aren't going well.  Otherwise he's charming and has a live and let live attitude.  Most importantly, he always respects Callie and sympathizes with her desires to break free from her oh so proper life even if he find her exploits inconvenient.


I am a fan of the trope of a long-time unrequited crush which this romance employs to great success.  Callie and Ralston fit well together as a pair.  And the feminist credentials?  Many of the items on Callie's list are things that were major symbols of male privilege at the time; smoke a cigar, drink whiskey etc....  It explores how stifling a woman's existence likely was at the time and gently pokes at it without being strident.  It's kept light with a generous dose of humor and lots of romantic tension-based banter.


There was a thing or two I didn't love.  I don't love when a heroine is challenging the hero or she's irritated with him and he shuts her up/makes her forgive/forget everything with a make out session.  A little of this is fine but it happens a little too much in this book.  However even with this, it was a totally delightful read!


FINAL VERDICT:  An original heroine, in that she's pretty ordinary, and her journey to stop being what society expects of her makes for a really great romance! 

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review 2014-07-16 05:08
A million re-reads and Rake is still my happy place
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake - Sarah MacLean

I cannot tell you how many times I have re-read this book. It is my go to happy place, my fav HR and of all the thousands of romance novels I read, one of my absolute favs period. I love Callie, love Gabriel, love their wit and their steam and her spark. Just yes on all levels!

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