Some more historical romances for y’all! But, tbh it’s basically Sarah MacLean mini review time since 3 of the 5 titles are her books. I can’t help that I’m HYPED for Heartbreaker coming in August!! As of the writing of this post I’m rereading Bombshell so I can read my eARC of Heartbreaker and. I’m Ready. But also not ready? Anyways.
Present Day Tree here: I read Heartbreaker and it was amazing.
If you missed the first parts of this “series” you can read Part One here, Part Two here, & Part Three here, Part Four here, Part Five here, & Part Six here.
I also read and reviewed (almost) the entire Bridgerton series if you want to check that out here & the entire Scandal & Scoundrel series here.
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare
Plot: After being caught in a compromising position (even though they were hiding from the people actually partaking in the scandalous behavior) Charlotte and Piers are being forced into marriage. But Charlotte wants to marry for love so she is determined to find the lovers and force them to own up so she does not need to marry Piers.
This was my first historical romances of 2022, and it was so much fun and I loved reading this one. It’s been a second since I finished this one and I don’t remember much of it (curse past me for not writing my thoughts down earlier on) but I read this one super quickly and just had a fun time.
Piers is mentioned in the second Castles Ever After book and I was expecting not to like him because of that, but what a guy!! I already want to reread this one and am glad I have a physical copy of it.
Also, a bookstagram friend told me that she asked Tessa if the title was inspired by the iconic Frozen lyric “Do you want to build a snowman?” and Tessa said YES. 4.5/5 stars.
TW: suicide/death of parent (prior to novel, but discussed)
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake (Love by Numbers #1) by Sarah MacLean
London, 1813 & 1823
Plot: Callie has been crushing on Gabriel since a chance encounter years ago. Now, years later she is feeling stuck in her life. She has followed all the rules and yet is still unmarried and judged by society. She makes a list of everything that she wants to try that “a good lady” would not do and sets out to complete it. Since Gabriel does not know about her list, he decides that she would make the perfect chaperone for his younger sister who is joining society. Callie and Gabriel keep running into each other and sparks start to fly.
This started really strong, but got super cyclical and I just wanted everything to get wrapped up.
I am such a fan of Sarah MacLean that is was fun to go back to her adult romance debut. Her writing has improved a ton. In this one it’s solid, but a tad hard to follow, I even had a bit of a hard time tracking whose POV we were in at times.
I’m curious to see where the rest of the series goes, but this one was not my favorite. I did like the introduction of the siblings whose the next books will follow.
I do know that this is a beloved book by MacLean and I know I am an unpopular opinion. I see why people love the story and the characters, it just wasn’t anything special to me. I did love hearing Sarah talking about this book in a recent episode of her podcast. 3/5 stars.
TW: toxic parental relationship
The Bride Goes Rogue (The Fifth Avenue Rebels #3) by Joanna Schupe
Plot: Katherine has spent the last year assuming she would be marrying Preston Clarke. But, Preston has no interest in upholding a betrothal that his dead father set up for him. Especially when Katherine’s father did nothing to help his struggling father. Now Katherine is determined to live her life to the fullest and goes to a ~scandalous~ costume party where her and Preston have a romantic encounter. They don’t recognize each other until they meet up the next day. Suddenly they have to confront their attraction for each other with their general dislike of each other.
This is the third book in the Fifth Avenue Rebels series. I have not read book one, but I adored book two, which I read last year (see my thoughts here). This one was just okay. I was having a fun time until about 50% of the way in and then I just sort of lost interest. I think I just wasn’t that invested in the plot. Book two had a solid plot and here the plot was looser, which usually works for me, but idk I just got bored.
This one doesn’t have much of a plot and honestly had a few more sex scenes that I needed, but I did like Kat and Preston together and liked them as characters. I didn’t love the conflict in this one either, but was happy with how everything worked out, I just didn’t really enjoy the journey.
I mainly am obsessed with the cover bc wow *fire emoji*
I don’t have a ton of comments on this one, if you like Joanna Shupe and this series then I would recommend it, but if you’re new to her, I would not recommend starting with this one. Try The Lady Gets Lucky or The Prince of Broadway for your introduction to Joanna Shupe’s steamy Gilded Age books! 3/5 stars.
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover (The Rules of Scoundrels #2) by Sarah MacLean
Time period: 1824 & 1831
Plot: Phillipa is due to be married in two weeks, but she is not sure what to expect when it comes to being intimate with one’s partner. Being a scientist she decides to seek out an expert. This leads her to Jasper Cross who is notorious with the ladies. Cross refuses to answer any of Pippa’s questions, but she is not that easily deterred. This entire series follows four men who work at the Fallen Angel, a gambling club.
Folks this is a slowburn so buckle up!! It takes a second to get going with the plot, but honestly I did not mind the build up. It is slow, but this entire book takes place during a week, it does have to be slow. Also, I guess if it takes places over a week it isn’t a slowburn? But nothing happens between these two (aside from LONGING AND WANTING) for like 60%.
This book’s downfall is that it did not stand out from MacLean’s other books to me. Not really in a bad way since I love her writing and her characters so I still had a fabulous time, I just wanted a bit more from Pippa and Cross.
As a note, I did not think I had read book one of this series, but when I got the kindle copy from my library it started at the end of the book which is what happens if you’ve already checked out the book before. And when I read the first chapter it seemed familiar. So I guess I already started this series, but I have no memory of it.
Also, I think I would have rated this one a tad higher if I hadn’t had terrible cramps while reading the last 40% of this book. Sorry book. You deserved better. But, also if you had been a tad better maybe you would have distracted me from my cramps more? Much to ponder. 3.5/5 stars.
No Good Duke Goes Unpunished (The Rules of Scoundrels #3) by Sarah MacLean
Time Period: 1819 & 1831
Plot: Temple has been known as “The Killer Duke” ever since he was accused of murdering Mara Lowe. To this day, even he isn’t sure if he actually did it. At least until she shows up wanting to get back her brother’s money from Temple. She promises to clear his name if he will give all of it back. But, Temple wants to do things on his term. So they reach an agreement.
Okay I read this series out of order. I read book four like years ago which is a mistake since their is a major reveal at the end of this book that sets up book four. Which I spoiled myself for by reading book four first (lol). If you’re interested in this series read them in order. But, this is my favorite of the series.
I love books with fake dating or a bet or any sort of agreement where the characters start forgetting that there is an agreement because they like hanging out. Mara is ruthless with their agreement and I loved her for it. She runs an orphanage and will do whatever she can to protect them. I also loved her second in command.
I saw a few reviews that did not like Mara and well I loved her! She is scrappy and had to literally take her survival into her own hands which means she doesn’t trust anyone and yes has made some questionable decisions. But, she survived so good for her!
Also, Temple was great. In true Sarah MacLean fashion, he doesn’t think he is worthy and has a lot of doubt since everyone has thought he was a killer for years. I also loved Temple’s friends (who are the leads of the other books) and seeing how they reacted to Mara. We also get to glimpse the other couples which was fun.
Anyways. I am almost caught up with Sarah MacLean’s backlist and I’m sad about it. 5/5 stars
TW: death of a parent, child abuse, domestic violence
CW: injury, violence, blood
Thanks for reading & if you have any historical recommendations please leave them in the comments!
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