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She lives for passion.
Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society's rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a ...
She lives for passion.
Bold, impulsive, and a magnet for trouble, Juliana Fiori is no simpering English miss. She refuses to play by society's rules: she speaks her mind, cares nothing for the approval of the ton, and can throw a punch with remarkable accuracy. Her scandalous nature makes her a favorite subject of London's most practiced gossips . . . and precisely the kind of woman The Duke of Leighton wants far far away from him.
He swears by reputation.
Scandal is the last thing Simon Pearson has room for in his well-ordered world. The Duke of Disdain is too focused on keeping his title untainted and his secrets unknown. But when he discovers Juliana hiding in his carriage late one evening—risking everything he holds dear—he swears to teach the reckless beauty a lesson in propriety. She has other plans, however; she wants two weeks to prove that even an unflappable duke is not above passion.
From Eloisa James's "READING ROMANCE" column on The Barnes & Noble Review
Many years ago I tried out for the cheerleading squad. Alas, I was plump, awkward, and couldn't manage a cartwheel. But I wanted to fit in so desperately that I convinced myself that a pleated mini-skirt would transform me into a perky, high-kicking member of the in-group.
When the cartwheel fairy didn't show, I decided I was doomed to be a pigeon in a sea of swans. We've all encountered -- and failed to join -- groups formed by the rich, talented, powerful, or beautiful. The five romances I discuss this month each feature a heroine who doesn't belong to the most powerful group in her particular milieu. But these aren't novels about women who succeed in joining the elites. Each of these heroines champions a different kind of group: a twosome.
The heroine in Rachel Gibson's Any Man of Mine is living on the edges of a very powerful social group: the super-rich professional hockey players, Stanley Cup winners who limit their friends to the rich and beautiful. Autumn Haven -- a single mom struggling to get her event planning business on an even keel -- definitely doesn't qualify. She doesn't have fake breasts, blonde hair, or the faintest interest in hockey. What she does have is the memory of a drunken Las Vegas weekend with hockey star Sam LeClaire that resulted in a divorce certificate and a 6-year-old son. Any Man of Mine is a fascinating look at how hard it is to bridge two dissimilar worlds -- cool and uncool, cheerleader and bystander. Yet both Sam and Autumn come to realize that they want one thing: to create ties between the three of them that are stronger than any ties between friends.
Pia Giovanni, the heroine of Thea Harrison's Dragon Bound, also has to deal with a powerful group of successful men: the Elder Races -- magical shape-shifters -- who surround Dragos Cuelere, the most powerful shape-shifter of them all. Dragos is a phenomenally rich dragon who keeps a hoard of treasure beneath his Manhattan skyscraper. In human form he is a muscled predator, a man who dominates any group. Pia is his opposite, a tiny woman whose mother taught her to be always inconspicuous. His magic is flashy and known the world over; hers is subtle and hidden, yet wildly powerful. When Pia steals a penny from Dragos's hoard, he erupts in fury, determined to kill the thief who managed to get through all his locks and magical wards. But after tracking Pia down, Dragos finds himself fascinated and falling in love. Pia is a peppery, funny heroine, and Dragos is a classic alpha, but what makes this romance so compelling is not only the brilliant world-building (which brings to mind J. R. Ward's Brotherhood series), nor the sexy appeal of both characters, but the way in which Dragos learns that being part of a couple is better than being the leader of an elite group. In the end, the two of them are the only group that matters, as Dragos puts it: "You're with me everywhere I go but I miss you when we're apart."
Sarah MacLean's Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart places the insider/outsider dilemma in one of the toughest societies of all: the English Regency. Simon Pearson, Duke of Leighton, is, like Dragos, a born leader, wielding power, money, and birth. Miss Juliana Fiori has no place in England's elite: she's the daughter of an Italian merchant and a dissolute English marchioness. Worse, she's a magnet for scandal. But Juliana has a clear understanding of the arbitrary fortune that puts men like Sam, Dragos, and Simon on the top of the social hierarchy: "The way you behave," she tells him, "one would think you'd actually done something to earn the respect these English fools afford you." This is one of the most wildly romantic books I've read in a long time, stemming directly from the moment when Simon decides to break every rule that kept him at the center of English aristocratic society. I defy you not to sigh with happiness when Simon throws away his reputation, and then tells Juliana "everything I had spent my life espousing -- all of it…it is wrong. I want your version of life."
Julianne MacLean's Claimed by the Highlander puts her heroine, Gwendolen MacEwen, on the fringes of a very different -- but equally rigid -- social group: that of a Scottish clan. Gwendolen is a MacEwen, at least until she's stolen by Angus the Lion, the head of the MacDonald clan. For sheer brawn, power, and elite status, you can't get more leader-of-the-pack than Angus, and Gwendolen finds herself fascinated by the laird. Still, she fights back, betraying Angus to the British in an effort to save her own clan. By the time she realizes that she desperately wants to be a MacDonald -- to be trusted by Angus -- it's too late. Angus too must learn that the strongest bonds are between two people who love each other, and that trust between man and wife means more than kinship or family loyalty. Claimed by the Highlander reminded me of Julie Garwood's early, wonderful Scottish novels about warring clans and feisty girls: novels in which love triumphs over the strongest of clan bonds.
Jacquie D'Alessandro's Summer at Seaside Cove appears to reverse the paradigm. Jamie Newman is the kind of girl who would have aced that cheerleading try-out. She has brains, honey-colored hair, and the ability to make friends wherever she goes. The novel opens when she rents a cottage for the summer on a North Carolina island, hoping to heal a broken heart. Unfortunately, that cottage turns out to be a broken-down mess, and its owner, Nick Trent, isn't much better. He's a scruffy, gorgeous bad boy. He certainly doesn't fit in on the island: he's a loner who disappears for days at a time, leading the community to think he's keeping secrets. This is the kind of novel that will make you nostalgic for sand and suntan oil, and might even have you singing "Summer Lovin'" in the shower. But the novel is not just a story of opposites. The secrets Nick is keeping have everything to do with his status as a loner, without friends or relationships. Like all the heroes in these novels, Nick has a lot to learn. The novel's sweetness springs from its understanding that material possessions and the power they bring can never guarantee happiness. None of the elite groups -- Rich, Ivy League, Handsome -- matter when it comes to the smallest and the most important group of all.
I never made the cheerleading team, and some part of me still wants to vet my friends and make sure they didn't either. But reading novels like these assuages any lingering tinge of bitterness. In the end, it doesn't matter how rich and popular a person may be -- or how successful he or she is in building up connections to peers. These novels promise that a happy relationship is better than cartwheels or cash.
Posted April 23, 2011
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Miss Juliana Fiori has shown she can handle herself under any circumstances. She was raised to be independent by her Italian father after her scandalous English mother deserted them. She now lives with her brother in England after the death of her father with the only obstacle she can't seem to work around being English Society. Juliana tries to fit in but knows that she is never going to be one of them and the standard bearer of all things proper, Simon Pearson, eleventh Duke of Leighton keeps reminding her of this fact. He is scandal free and intends to make a perfect marital match with a quiet, demure woman who is biddable and with no reputation whatsoever, which is the complete opposite of all things Juliana. If there is a lake to fall into or a horse to ride however she chooses the fiery female inside Juliana is up for the challenge.
Leighton is trying desperately to keep a mortifying secret from everyone that will bring his family shame and will forever destroy their reputation, so Juliana is a risk he can't take. Leighton is also aware that Juliana's mother has been scandalizing several continents with her behavior and the fear that her daughter will become her scares everyone especially Juliana. But even knowing that Juliana cannot be his choice for a wife the need for her makes the wanting of her more than he can bear and even though he knows better he cannot stay away from her. The problem for both Leighton and Juliana is that all the reasoning in the world and knowing they are the worst combination to attempt a relationship without a scandal for reasons unexplainable to everyone but their hearts they can't stay out of each other warm embrace. Juliana believes she is the woman to bring Leighton to the fun side of life and when the challenge is extended he accepts but with the knowledge nothing will keep him from marrying anyone but her or so he keeps repeating to himself every chance he gets but only after just one more kiss, a soft caress or perhaps a gentle whisper of affection.
Love is tender and warm and should never be trouble in 16 layers of clothing but Juliana is and regardless the reader will love her. Potential husbands should be warm, loving and attentive to their future bride not worried about what people think, yet Leighton on all that and still you know he is more. Sarah MacLean 3rd book in this series is spectacular and trying to top the first two had to be a challenge but Juliana is wonderful and Leighton a surprise on all levels. Fabulous!
6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 16, 2011
Let it be known that Sarah MacLean is Queen of Romance! Nine Rules was an infatuation and Ten Ways really swept me away, but Eleven Scandals is in a whole another level of LOVE that I'm pretty sure that I'm still floating on Cloud 9 after weeks upon finishing it. I didn't think it was possible for Ms. MacLean's romances to burn any hotter, but holy fried-Twinkie-on-a-stick, the temperature of Eleven Scandals most likely rivaled the Sun's!
I was surprised to see how hard I fell for this new couple since the Duke of Leighton proved himself to be a right bastard by the end of Book 2 and Juliana didn't really have much pagetime in the first 2 books! Simon still was a bit of a pompous jerk at first, but once the spotlight shone on his inner conflict between his upbringing and his desires, he has to be one of my absolute favorite male characters! Watching the Duke carry the weight of reputation and family scandal was fascinating - and he definitely redeems himself after giving us a poor impression in Nine Rules and Ten Ways.
Juliana definitely sparkled in Eleven Scandals - and I have to commend Ms. MacLean for creating a character with such an adorable quirk of not quite mastering English idioms. My favorites include: "He called me a pie!" and "I would like to clean the air." Oy, it was just too cute for words! Juliana has a lot of heart, and I could not help but admire her strength and determination to teach Simon a lesson on passion and what "family" truly means.
The most remarkable thing about Eleven Scandals is how it brought back beloved characters of the previous installments - Callie and Gabriel, Nick and Isabel, Leighton's sister Georgiana. I've read other romance series where prior characters make brief reappearances in the next book, but nothing of much substance. More like "hey, we're still here and together, but we've moved on and so should you." Not so with Eleven Scandals! Sarah MacLean gave her past characters an encore performance to further cement them into our hearts, which definitely makes me want to re-read the whole series again from start to finish.
I definitely recommend that you don't start the series with Eleven Scandals - if anything, at least read Ten Ways first, but I strongly suggest that you read Love By Numbers in numerical order. I guarantee that you'll fall in love with each successive book! Sarah MacLean has written such an amazing series that will keep your heart nice and toasty!
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 23, 2012
Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke’s Heart is the final book in the Love by Numbers trilogy by author Sarah MacLean. After devouring the first two books I was excited to begin this one. McLean didn’t disappoint me, as she delivered another humorous romance with a headstrong heroine. I quickly consumed this while on vacation and found it to be delightful. Juliana Fiori is the Italian half-sister of Gabriel St. John, the Marques of Ralston whom we met in Nine Rules to Break When Romancing A Rake. She has been introduced to London society but they whisper about her. She feels like a fish out of water trying to live by the tons rules. When she is accosted, she hits the man and narrowly escapes by hiding in a carriage. This particular carriage turns out to belong to Simon Pearson, the Duke of Leighton. (otherwise known as the Duke of Disdain.) The tango, these two dance, is delicious and the tale kept me completely immersed. I laughed, cried and cheered these misfits on. Juliana and Simon could not be more different. He is all prim and proper; strictly adhering to all the rules of society. She can be bold and outspoken. The two have previously met and were immediately attracted to each other. When Simon discovered her identity, he was outraged. (for not disclosing this information immediately) Simon needs a prim and proper wife and discovers he must do something immediately to protect his reputation before a scandalous secret is discovered. He sets his eyes on the tons darling; Lady Penelope Marbury. Juliana has other plans and I truly adored her. She is refreshing and I loved how she could turn Simon upside down and inside out. She is exactly what this stiff, controlled, smexy Duke needs. I loved Simon, despite the fact that several times I wanted to slap him across the face and shout, “What are you doing? You blundering idiot! “ What a thrill watching Juliana peel back Simon’s layers to reveal the steamy, passionate man within. MacLean’s tales are captivating. I became invested in the characters throughout the series. Reading this novel has been both exciting and depressing. I truly did not want this series to end. While this is a historical fiction and the characters are trapped within the structures of the period; the author breathes such life into them that they became real. I love when an author makes this happen. MacLean weaves drama, suspense and humor into the tale making it a real page turner. I read this in a single day, and I am sure my family was very aware I was spellbound. The romance was wonderful and dripping with sexual tension. The interactions between Juliana and Simon sent my emotions on a rollercoaster ride.
2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2013
Not your typical "Duke" story. I laughed out loud at times and cried at other times. My kind of story. I loved the way all the characters interacted and melded into an enjoyable story. I wish I had read the other two books in this series first, but it was still a very enjoyable story. Loved Juliana and her "un Duchess-like" ways.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 8, 2013
I bought this book because by reading the sample it was off to a great start.... However, as one continues reading and becoming more engrossed I noticed that most of the book had been spent in the Duke bring an a** and Julianna being pathetic by trying to gain his approval. All it's my personal opinion.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 30, 2015
Posted August 26, 2014
I was not a historical romance fan - until this author. I LOVE HER BOOKS. I love the characters the wit, the drama, the heat- all of it. I am never sure what to look for in reviews, so I am not sure what to put. To each their own - but I really enjoyed all her books.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 23, 2014
Eleven ways to ‘tell’ versus ‘show’ a Duke
Eleven scandals taught me how important well-rounded characters are towards a romance, particularly if one (or more) of your characters is not likable from the start.
Juliana is a wonderful heroine! She is trapped by English society’s rules and traditions and readers sympathize with her right from the beginning. Some readers thought she was too immature and her ‘scandals’ too unrealistic, but let’s not forget she was 20 years old and from Italy. With the critical eye of every member of the ton on you, she’d either have to revolt or cave under the tremendous pressure. I admired Juliana’s adventurous spirit and bravery towards the tonnish vice-like grip, but her anxiety about being like her mother grew boring and her refusal to marry Simon because she wasn’t good enough? Pul-leeze
But Simon? A number of reviewers have exclaimed that Simon is one of the worst heroes they’ve ever read. He insults Juliana, does not treat her as his equal, and gets engaged to another woman. Readers are introduced to a cold, passionless man determined to enter into a cold, passionless marriage and he does not thaw until the ending. We are offered very few reasons for WHY Simon is this way, but we’re sure his mother (and maybe his father who no one talks about) has something to do with it. I wasn’t sure whether Maclean had not thought about Simon’s motivation or personality or whether she decided not to include it in her story? I thought some familiar justification of his character would have provided some additional sympathy from readers, but it never materialized. Simon’s mother is in several scenes, but only to increase conflict between Juliana and Simon. I felt Maclean was ‘telling’ me how bad Simon was without ‘showing’ me with his past and experiences. I wanted some stories from his past woven in to make me like him, but they never materialized. One author who does this very well is Lisa Kleypas in “It Happened One Autumn” – Lord Marcus Westcliff is snobby and arrogant, but the pieces of his past woven into the story make us sympathize and cheer the romance between him and Lilian. Readers are ‘shown’ evidence to why Lord Marcus is the way he is – he becomes three-dimensional character while Simon still felt two-dimensional.
Another strike against Simon was that his sister, Georgiana, was truly the hero in the book. She sacrifices her reputation (and shockingly enough, her DAUGHTER’S reputation!) to give her brother a happy ending. “Thank you, mom for telling English society that I’m a bastard, so Uncle Simon can get his girl. What?!” – any critique partner worth her salt would have called for a plot time-out to discuss that maneuver.
Pacing was slow in the beginning and middle and I felt there was some repetition about her scandalous nature, being like her mother, her thinking that she wasn’t good enough for Simon, and his aversion to scandal. It became a broken record. The writing is excellent and I admire Maclean’s versatility with words. I also thought the sexual tension between Simon and Juliana was paced more appropriately than “9 Rules” and each love scene was necessary towards the plot.
Posted April 19, 2014
Sorry, this book was quite boring. It took me several weeks to finish when I usually devour a book in a day or two. I just didn't get the chemistry with these characters. I like a book with a bit more witty banter. It's an ok read if you are really desperate for a regency novel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 18, 2014
Posted March 13, 2013
Posted March 6, 2013
This was a great end to a wonderful trilogy! Out of the three stories, Simon and Juliana's story was by far the best.
It had humor, sensuality, and love. I enjoy the fact that Gabriel and Nick was also apart of Juliana's story. I was so wrapped
In her turmoil that I was sobbing....loudly. I was totally lost in this book. Ms. macLean has become one of my favorite authors.
Can't wait to read her next book.
Posted January 30, 2013
Posted May 17, 2012
Posted April 17, 2012
Posted March 17, 2012
After reading the first book in the series I could only hope that Juliana would have her own story. I was not disappointed.
A great finale to the series. Loved them all.
Posted February 29, 2012
Posted October 23, 2011
This book was amazing. I literally could not put it down. Leighton is what you think a duke should be and Juliana is a one of a kind character that you can empathize with. I cant wait for Penelope Marbury's book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 23, 2011
I've probably read a thousand (I don't exaggerate) historical romance novels. I'm truly an addict!! I have my favorite authors and devour their new releases as soon as they hit the shelves. So I am always searching for a new favorite author - I've found her in Sarah MacLean. I really enjoyed this series - the main characters are funny, spirited and defy conventional ton behavior. All three books in this series are great reads - I look forward to her next work!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 26, 2011
Once again, Ms. MacLean has given us a wonderful, witty and hotter than hot story with a feisty heroine and a tortured, flip-flopping hero. Simon finally has a woman who will show him that avoiding scandal at all costs is not worth losing those near and dear to you. Juliana meets Simon thrust for thrust (um, take this for what you will) and holds her own not only with him, but with the stuck up, "I'm better than you", whisper-whisper behind my fan, women of the ton. The St. John and Fiori siblings all get their Happily Ever Afters. What a great book to end the "Love by Numbers" series. I can't wait to see what Ms. MacLean has next in store for us readers!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.