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Search tags: Nine-Rules-to-Break-When-Romancing-a-Rake
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review 2017-11-07 07:21
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake - Sarah MacLean

Title:  Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Author:  Sarah MacLean

Genre: Historical Romance

Year Published: 2010

Number of Pages: 397 pages

Date Read: 12/15/2010

Series: Love By Numbers #1

Publisher: Avon 

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 18+ (Sex Scenes)



After reading so many romance novels with a generous and kind hero, I have finally stumbled upon a romance novel where we have here a “bad boy” hero. “Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake” is an amazing tale by Sarah MacLean about romance, drama, betrayal and lots of love making scenes that will have romance fans flipping over with excitement!

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell (Callie for short) has always wanted more out of her life since her life as a spinster to make a list of nine rules to break to make her life more interesting. While completing her list, Callie meets notorious and handsome rake Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston (Gabriel or Ralston for short) who she seems to have feelings for since ten years ago. Now Callie’s notorious list will either break her and Gabriel apart or bring them together.

Oh my goodness! Oh my gosh! I have never read a romance novel quite like this before! Sarah MacLean has certainly done an awesome job at writing this wonderful tale of love and betrayal! Now, I will talk about what I loved about the characters and the story. Sarah MacLean has probably created the most controversial yet most memorable characters in romance novels history! Callie is such a headstrong and passionate character, that I just loved her from the beginning! I loved the way that Callie was willing try something different in her life; even if it meant that she has to break the rules of the society she lives in to be a more daring person. Another character that really grew on me was Gabriel St. John and I will admit that when I first read about him, I was so annoyed by his rude and arrogant behavior towards Callie, but once I found out about how his mother had abandoned his family when he was small which caused him to distrust the power of love, I actually felt sympathy for him and when he stood up for Callie, watch out because Ralston truly shows his “bad” side when it comes to Callie! I also loved the fact that Gabriel is a true “bad boy” hero of the story as he has one rude and arrogant attitude, but he truly does have a heart of gold when it comes to protecting Callie. Now onto the juicy parts of this story! There are plenty of love-making scenes in this book from the very beginning to the very end and each love scene in this book will make you literally sweat and tingle all over as the scenes really go into great detail.

This book is basically filed to the brim with sex scenes, so anyone who is uncomfortable with reading about sex scenes might find it a bit difficult to read through this book.

Overall, “Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake” is definitely one of the most irresistible and unique romance novels ever written and any romance fans looking for pure love scenes and “bad boy” heroes will definitely get a kick out of this book!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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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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