Browsed by
Category: Book Reviews

The Reading Corner: A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

The Reading Corner: A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean

♥♥♥ ½

Not too long ago I would have protested that I was not by any means a fan of historical romance. And maybe calling myself a “fan” is too strong even now but I think I might be standing on shaky ground either way.

Last time on The Book Corner I raved about Untamed by Anna Cowan—a book I described as a sexier Jane Austen. It had regency romance, gambling, and an alpha female protagonist. Apparently these are some of my favorite things.

a rogue by any other name sara macleanThis week I’m reviewing A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean. A Rogue is the first book from Sarah’s Rules of Scoundrels series, which I picked up as a KDD at the end of January. I first heard about the Rules of Scoundrels books from the DBSA podcast and have been dying to read one ever since.

I had very little idea what A Rogue was about when I started reading it beyond that it was a Regency historical romance. I can’t say I didn’t know gambling would be a central theme in the story—after all, the 4 scoundrels are all co-owners of London gambling hell—but in my brain it didn’t really connect with Untamed until I was halfway through the opening scenes where our hero—Bourne—loses his inheritance in a card game.

Rules of Scoundrels

Overall, the writing in A Rogue was quite good and the relationship between the hero and heroine was more or less above board, for an historical. I didn’t stay up all night reading it, desperate to get to the end, and I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the heroine but it was an entertaining read. I found the pace lagging a little through the second half. At times it felt like the two protagonists kept having the same argument (about their feelings or lack of feelings) over and over again, to the point that I probably would have only given the book a 2 ½ or 3 rating but for the ending. The epilogue includes a short scene between Cross—one of Bourne’s business partners—and the heroine’s younger sister that made me laugh out loud and cry, “Shit, now I have to keep reading!” Not kidding, I yelled shit in the middle of my empty house. 1 part dismay, 3 parts delight.

I should probably make more of an effort to judge a book based solely on its own merits and not compare it to anything else but in some ways it comes down to taste. The alpha heroine in Untamed was a huge draw for me. A Rogue features a much more demure heroine whose spent her entire life being passed over by men. And while she does stand up for herself by the end—including playing cards in the hero’s stead—she never reached quite the breathlessly HBIC presence displayed by Kit. Or maybe it’s that it took her too long for me to be really satisfied with her character growth.

Will I keep reading Rules of Scoundrels? Yes, definitely, as I find them for sale. If you enjoy Regency, demure heroines, childhood friends and more alpha male heroes A Rogue By Any Other Name is a good read.

Book Launch News

Lia CooperJust a reminder that my first book, The Duality Paradigm (Blood & Bone Book One) is now available for sale.

Two beings do not compete, rather collaborate. They contribute to creation in a coequal way.”

Everyone knows magic users and werewolves are intrinsically diametrically opposed…

Seattle Police Detective Ethan Ellison, born into a long line of Quebecois magicians, leads a fairly unassuming life working Theft and consulting on magical misdemeanors. He’s spent eight years building a life for himself in Seattle, far from his father’s shadow. He works hard, lives under the radar, and fucks whoever catches his eye.

Detective Patrick Clanahan, beta-heir to Pack McClanahan, is a tightly wired bundle of rage and guilt, still trying to come to terms with the murder of his last partner.

When a human woman is murdered in werewolf territory under suspicious circumstances, Ethan is reassigned to worked the case with Clanahan in the hopes that he’ll be able to balance out the wolf’s rougher edges.

Too bad they mostly just rub each other the wrong way.

Purchase @ Amazon | Nook | GooglePlay

The Reading Corner: Untamed by Anna Cowan

The Reading Corner: Untamed by Anna Cowan



I first heard about Untamed by Anna Cowan while catching up on the DBSA Podcast—yes, from back in August. But I’m so glad that that I did! In general, I read for characters and inter-character relationships but I have a hard time finding romance books that are written to a high enough standard and have interesting, believable characters. Out-Of-Character (OOC) actions are probably the #1 thing that throws me, as a reader, out of a story. But as soon as I started reading the preview for this book, I knew I was going to have to buy it.

Untamed is a debut novel from Anna Cowan, published by Destiny Romance, an Australian romance imprint for Penguin. It tells the story of Kat Sutherland, the eldest child in a family that has fallen into destitution. Poor and more accustomed to menial labor in the country, Kat takes it upon herself to save her sister from a scandalous affair with the Duke of Darlington by confronting the Duke. This does little more than capture the Duke’s attention, and he engages Kat in an elaborate deception in exchange for leaving her sister’s reputation alone.

On the podcast, they referred to this book as “the one with the cross-dressing duke.” But it’s so much more than that. It has a cross-dressing duke, an alpha female protagonist, clever supporting characters, social machinations, gambling, and a little sex. Anna Cowen’s written a delicious, in character and racier Jane Austen.

Kat Sutherland Doesn’t Need To Be Tamed

Shirley Henderson and Rufus Sewell in The Taming of the Shrew

Did you ever see the BBC’s ShakespeaRe-Told version of The Taming of the Shrew? If you didn’t, go watch it because it’s delightful, but I digress. The character dynamics in Untamed and that movie are very similar and equally engaging. The Duke is clever, witty, mad and secure in his own personage. Kat is self-possessed, smart, uncompromising and true to herself. She does not sit around waiting for anyone to rescue her. I think it’s this quality that is most appealing. I’m sick to death of stories where the hero sweeps in to solve all of the heroine’s problems. The two characters are partners who have excellent, often difficult to bear, tension and who support one another.

My only complaint was that I think the story could have done with a little bit more sex. But I’m biased. I read a lot of erotic fiction so I’m accustomed to a fairly explicit rating. I would rate Untamed at maybe Teen for it’s use of fade-to-blacks, which are perhaps keeping with the style of a Regency novel. And in the context of the rest of the book, is a rather minor gripe that is not enough to keep me from re-reading Untamed sometime in the future.

If you’re looking to mix it up with an historical romance with a believable, take-charge heroine this holiday season, check out Untamed.