I started my first Sarah MacLean many months ago, but I didn’t get very far. The heroine started out pretty wimpy, and that’s not really my style. Fast forward a few months to a long weekend of just me and the little one, and now I’m four books in. But to begin the first series: Love by Numbers.
Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake is the one that started pretty slow, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. This is the story of Calpurnia (I know), spinster and all around goody goody, and Gabriel, rake extraordinaire. Our tale starts with Callie realizing that she is really the most boring person around, and ends with a lot of adventures and professing love. I really enjoy a hero who goes all in, and doesn’t spend 75% of the story listing all the reasons he can’t be with the heroine. Here, it’s Callie who needs some convincing, and I really appreciated it overall. It’s a story that’s worth it in the end, with great character development. 4 Stars.
Ten Ways to be Adored When Landing a Lord is, obviously, book two in our series. Here we have Nicholas, Gabriel’s twin brother, and Isabel, daughter of a useless Earl and provider of a safe haven for women in need. They meet when Nick is sent on a mission by the Duke of Leighton to find his wayward sister. From there Nick begins unraveling all of Isabel’s secrets and a very sweet story ensues. My main complaint with this one is how fast it happens. Yes, all romance novels are condensed timelines, but the entire story of this one takes place in less than two weeks if I remember correctly. That’s too fast for me, even in romance land, to go from meeting to marriage to undying love. Other than that though this is a nice protector/damsel in distress tale. 3 stars.
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart is the final book in the series. This time it’s Juliana, Gabriel and Nick’s half sister (scandal in and of itself!) and Simon, the Duke of Leighton. Juliana is a highly inappropriate “lady” (her mother abandoned her brothers and husband and then re-married, had her, and left again), and the Duke of Leighton is entirely concerned about appearances. Yet, the two are drawn to each other, and after many, MANY scandals find their way together. This one suffered from one of my major pet peeves in that the hero continues to deny his attraction to the heroine. Just get over yourself, like the gal, and move on, but it never works that way. Otherwise, again a fun enough romp, and sets up our heroine for the next series. 3 stars.
Overall a decent starting series for Ms. MacLean. They’re light and fun, with well rounded characters and some good banter/smolder. I shall continue progressing through her library.