Friday, March 26, 2010

Review -- Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake
by Sarah MacLean
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: March 30, 2010

“What if she could live a life other than the staid, boring mockery of one that she currently lived? What if she could do all the things that she would never dream of doing? What was to keep her from taking such a leap?

At twenty-eight, no one much thought about her. Her reputation had been impeccable for years – for all the years that it had mattered that she retain such an untarnished name. It wasn’t as if she were about to traipse off and completely destroy that reputation, anyway. She wasn’t going to do anything that a well-respected male member of the ton wouldn’t do on any given day without a second thought. And if they could, why shouldn’t she?”

During her first season, young Lady Calpurnia Hartwell quickly comes to the conclusion that she will never be the belle of the ball. No, she is not the type to sparkle amidst a sea of beautiful ladies of the ton. While she exudes grace and elegance, acknowledged by the entire ton, everyone knows she is not a beauty by their standards. Disheartened by her prospects of impoverished, aged, and deadly dull male companions, Callie escapes the crush of a ball for the cooler air of a garden and stumbles upon the Marquess of Ralston, who in turn gives Callie a pep talk that includes complimenting her on her unusual name. Starry-eyed by a secluded conversation with a renowned rake, Callie returns to the ball with her head held high.

Ten years later, Callie is still a single woman. Bored with the staid, confined life of a spinster woman, Callie laments to her brother, the Earl of Allendale, about the double standard of the ton. Single men have much more freedom than single woman and it is just not fair! Her brother proves to be very supportive and encourages Callie to enjoy some lively activities that will not cause much of a ripple in the waters of the ton. Later, as Callie ponders her conversation with her brother, she burns her lace cap (ala the bra burnings of the women’s lib movement in 1960s) and composes a list of nine things she would love to do if she had the courage and more so the opportunity.

Kiss someone – passionately
Smoke cheroot and drink scotch
Ride astride
Attend a duel
Fire a pistol
Gamble (at a gentleman’s club)
Dance every dance at a ball
Be considered beautiful. Just once.

Determined to mark the first item off of her wish list, Callie journeys in the dead of night to Ralston House, the home of the Marquess of Ralston, the man she has loved from afar for ten years, and quite meekly requests a kiss from him.

Amused by the quiet, wallflower standing in his bedchamber in the middle of night requesting a kiss, Gabriel St. John, The Marquess of Ralston, quickly analyzes the situation and proposes a trade of sorts. In exchange for a passionate kiss, Callie will serve as Gabriel’s newly discovered half-sister’s proper sponsor for entry into society. With Callie’s impeccable reputation, Gabriel feels certain his new half-sister will have an easier time adjusting to life among the ton. Callie agrees to this unique transaction with an amendment of an additional favor of her choosing in the future. Sealing their deal with a small kiss, Callie informs Gabriel that she is quite satisfied with the peck, to which Gabriel responds:

“His lips curved at her ear as he spoke, his harsh breathing making the words more a caress than a sound, “Kisses should not leave you satisfied.”

He returned his lips to her, claiming her mouth again, robbing her of all thought with a rich, heady caress. All she wanted was to be closer to him, to be held more firmly. And, as though he could read her thoughts, he gathered her closer, deepening the kiss. His heat consumed her; his soft, teasing lips seemed to know all of her secrets.

When he lifted his mouth from hers, she had lost all strength. His next words pierced through her sensual haze.

“They should leave you wanting.”

And let me tell you this is just one of many scenes that leave you wanting more!!! The dynamic yin and yang relationship between Callie and Gabriel is superbly written. Ms. MacLean had me cheering for Callie from the very beginning of the book. While it speaks well of Callie for following the rules of society and I totally understand her reasons for doing so, I was elated to see her throw caution to the wind and enjoy life to the fullest.

Gabriel is an incredible hero, who shows his heroine that life needs to be a rewarding, delightful experience every single day. I loved how he encourages Callie to do things on her list, even extracting a promise from her that she only tries those things while in his presence. A rake has to feel like he is always in control. LOL! But as Gabriel falls for Callie, he realizes he has lost all control when it comes to her and nothing and no one will come between him and his woman.

“I’ve tried to forget that kiss . . . and the carriage ride . . . and the fencing club . . . but you seem to have taken up residence . . . in my memory.”


I just can’t say enough about this novel. I am so excited to have found another author who has exceeded my expectations, and I do predict that Ms. MacLean will have a very long and fruitful future in the romance novel industry. Hopefully, Ms. MacLean's next books will be for Gabriel’s twin brother, Nick, and his newly discovered half sister, Juliana, both of whom truly deserve their own story.

Be sure to put this book at the VERY TOP of your TBR pile because it deserves that coveted spot!

~ Buffie

And look, even the stepback is scrumptious!


  1. Wow, this sounds like a great book, Buffie. I visited Sarah's site and found out that she writes YA novels, too.

  2. Loooooved your reveiw Buffie. And it didn't leave me satisfied either... but wanting for more ;-)

  3. Here we go again, it is a good thing it is just me and my son because with all of the books there isn't room for much more. Off I go to pre-order, got to hear more about Gabriel and Callie.

  4. Jane, it is a great book! Yes, Sarah has published one YA novel thus far, The Season. And I have heard wonderful things about it too.

  5. Thanks Emmanuelle! That means I did what I set out to do. You really need to buy this book!

  6. LOL @ Dianna! I know! It is hard to even say the word "budget" when it involves book. This one is definitely worth giving up a lunch for :-)

  7. Buffie, I'd heard great things about this book but, after reading your wonderful review, it's moved to the very top of my tbb list!

  8. PJ, that is exactly where it should be -- AT THE TOP! I think you will really enjoy this one.

  9. Oh, I am totally SOLD!! If you loved it this much, Buffie, then I know I will, too. Terrific review!!

  10. Thanks, Andrea! This is one you will be sure to enjoy :-)

  11. She wasn’t going to do anything that a well-respected male member of the ton wouldn’t do on any given day without a second thought…”
    This had me laughing out loud. Wow Buffie what a great review. Nine Rules To Break truly sounds like my kind of book. Sigh. It is going to be a long couple of days waiting for it to be released.

  12. Buffie, ever since I saw the title of this book, I wanted to read it. Now after your fantastic review--and that yummy stepback cover--I'm moving it to the top of my TBB list! :-)

  13. Consider me sold! I'll check this out on my Borders run this weekend. Sounds charming.

  14. I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this book to come out! Tuesday can't come soon enough now! :)

  15. Julie, there are several of those LOL moments in this book. It is quite refreshing!

    Gannon, it's that stepback just delicious!!! I *had* to include it in the review ;-)

    Scorpia, it is a wonderful read. Hope you enjoy it!

    JWZ1978, I am now waiting and waiting and waiting for the NEXT book! :0

  16. Sounds Great! can hardly wait to check it out -- almost want to run out to the bookstore now (is it the 30th yet ;)?)

    Thanks for the review and bringing this to my attention.

  17. OOH, this sounds s-o-o-o good, Buffie, and we usually like the same type of story, so I am putting it on my TBB list to add to my TBRM (To Be Read Mountain!). Great review!

  18. Glad to hear this book is good. I've had it on my to-read list for awhile now.

  19. Sounds fabulous. You've convinced me!

  20. Great review, Buffie!! I read her YA book The Season and it was wonderful, so I'm sure this one will be too! :)

  21. Great review, you got me sold. I'm definitely going to check this one out! :)

  22. gamistress66, You are very welcome for the review. This is one that I truly enjoyed and think everyone should read it :-)

    Thanks Deb!! Yes, be sure to put it at the peak of your mount :0

    Jedi, you will have to let me know what you think after reading it.

    Maria, convinced ya huh? Guess my job is done :-)

    Trisha, I heard her YA book was really good. I just may have to go out and find it. I think you would really like this heroine.

    Edna, glad to know of another sale :-)

  23. Good review. Sounds like a good book. Sigh, one more author I need to try and one more book to add to my TBR mountain.

  24. Oh yes, Patricia, you need to get this book and add it to the top of your pile!

  25. Great review and I've got my coupons ready for my weekend buy...and this novel will be at top of my list!!! Thanks!!!

  26. Thanks Mitzi!! A great book with a coupon? Man, there's nothing better than getting something fabulous for a bargain. I love bargains :-)

  27. Loved your reveiw Buffie. And it didn't leave me satisfied either... but wanting for more ;-)