Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday Book Review: A Rogue By Any Other Name


I have had an embarrassment of riches--books to review on the RWR site--and I'm commandeering Tuesdays for book reviews. The first book I'm reviewing for this new tradition is the much anticipated and eagerly awaited Sarah MacLean novel, A Rogue By Any Other Name.

I am a lucky pirate and you can be too.

I just finished reading Sarah MacLean’s newest delicious truffle of delight: A Rogue By Any Other Name. Delectable. Actually “truffle” implies something light and frothy—and this was really dark, rich, and sustaining. Like Starbuck’s coffee, maybe. A little frothy foam on top for sweetness, and dark and rich goodness to flood your veins and make you believe in a new day again. Yeah. Like that.

The hero was yummy, yummy delectable, though a bit of, well, a rogue. He, of course, has excellent reason to be a rogue—you burn for him, you do, but he’s a truly complex and broken hero who you want to wrap in a snuggie, feed him soup, and reassure him it’s all going to work out all right. The heroine does us one better and devastates him in (and out of) the bedroom. (Which is only fair, because he does his own share of being a devastating creature.) So when I wasn’t sad and weepy for either the hero or the heroine’s unfair life situations and hurt feelings, I was amazed my fingers weren’t scorching, turning the pages to some of the hottest love scenes I’ve read twice. (Believe me, they all need to be read twice. The man is delicious.) Complex, sensuous, life- and love-affirming—this book had it and a box of chocolates. Love really does conquer all.

As far as plots go, it works a nice Shakespearean kind of revenge. Our hero is young and foolish—as young men frequently are—and during a “winning streak” at the gaming tables, wagers everything not entailed on the turn of some cards. He loses everything to his guardian, the guardian who had spent the last several years building up the fortune that the hero was due to inherit through no work of his own. Of course, our burned and bitter hero seeks revenge at all costs, to claim back his inheritance and ruin the man who ruined him. The book is only missing a sword fight to make it really Shakespeare, but there are a few really lovely brawls for the pirate who adores a bit of blood-lust in her novels.

There are romantic moments galore to show the growth between the hero and heroine—mostly to show how far he has come because he has a long, long, long, long, long way to get to his happy ending. In fact, when I finally arrived at the Happily Ever After and our hero was pouring out all his apologies and “I love yous”, I was a bit, “Okay, enough already. He’s waxing way poetic.” But then I thought about it. I loved the hero—I felt bad for him—but he was an ass. He needed to grovel. If he was effusive in his praise of his bride, she deserved it for putting up with all the shoddy behavior he exhibited to her.

This story was just the sort of fantasy I love to get my hands on and consume in one sitting: Beauty and the Beast—the selfish prince who doesn’t believe he’s worthy of being loved by the woman he’s fallen in love with. Only her love can transform him back into a man, and it does.

Ms. MacLean hit this one out of the ballpark and set up her next book in one fell swoop, and I don’t know how she did it, but she managed to make me long for the next book even more than I longed for this one! Well done, Ms. MacLean!

Best of all, A Rogue By Any Other Name is out today, February 28, 2012. Go get it!

Now—to make another pirate as lucky as me. One lucky commenter will win a copy of A Rogue By Any Other Name (not my copy—a new copy I didn’t drool on). To be eligible, your comment should be either your favorite book featuring Beauty and the Beast as its structure or the book/series you’re looking most forward to devouring this year?

37 comments:

TerriOsburn said...

I'm not sure. Did you like this book or not? LOL!

Guess I'd better go pick this one up. I haven't been reading anything lately and something that will suck me and not let go until I turn the last page is exactly what I need. Plus, "yummy, yummy delectable" heroes should not be put off.

Can't beat Eloisa James' WHEN BEAUTY TAMED THE BEAST for the classic B&B story. Amazing book!

MsHellion said...

Best of all, Bo'sun, you're starting at the BEGINNING of a series. Nothing to miss! *LOL*

TerriOsburn said...

That settles it. I'm going to the book store and buy TWO books. (I haven't bought a book in forever. Shame on me!) Manda Collins and this one. These ones should get me back in the swing of things.

haleigh said...

ohh, this sounds wonderful! I love your descriptions of his hero, Hellie. Definitely going to have to read it.

I'm not 100% sure it qualifies as beauty and the beast, but Julia Quinn's "When He was Wicked" is an absolute favorite of mine where she has to tame the wild and wicked hero. He definitely doesn't believe he's worthy of her, but she loves him so much . . . ahhhh, just makes me swoon :)

MsHellion said...

Sounds like a great plan, Terri. A book for each hand, and the first books of two terrific series! CANNOT. GO. WRONG.

MsHellion said...

Hal, was it the "YUMMY" or "DELICIOUS" that won you over? *LOL*

I would say it qualifies. This hero doesn't look like a beast--he just acts like the beast, bitter and revengeful--and it's only through love that he is transformed back into a prince. I think something very similar could be said for WHWW. I think the hero in that book was also named Michael, wasn't he?

Janga said...

Hellie, yay for review Tuesdays! Michael really was beastly at times. If not for the younger Michael revealed in his letters, I would have given up on him. I was happy to see Penelope get an HEA after being jilted by Simon. Even though ARBAON starts a new series, it is loosely connected to Eleven Scandals to Start to Win a Duke's Heart.

Ter, if you need more suggestions for your book buys, I'm recapping my reviews of five of today's releases (ARBAON among them) at Just Janga today--all of them really good reads and one, Lisa Kleypas's Rainshadow Road is on my best of 2012 list.

MsHellion said...

Janga, I agree. The letters posted in front of new scenes that showed glimpses of the people the hero and heroine were before everything happened was necessary. It helped the reader see what the heroine saw in the hero--and why she calls him Michael when he insists on being called Bourne. The letters showed a very sweet guy, one who treated the heroine as a genuine friend--so when the hero we met was treating her anything but (though he treated everyone this way), you just thought, "Hang in there. It'll get better."

He's beastly, but so was The Beast. *LOL* And I loved him in the end. :)

Time to take a jaunt over to Janga's site. I know there is more to add to my reading list!!! Yay!

TerriOsburn said...

Janga - I put together another bookshelf this weekend because the FIVE I had were overflowing. I know have THREE 3ft shelves covered in TBR books. Are you trying to make me feel worse???

I know there are a million I'm missing out on. But I must start slow. LOL! Good thing your blog(s) will still be there when I get to needing them.

MsHellion said...

You need 6 ft bookshelves.

TerriOsburn said...

I have two of them!

P. Kirby said...

Went to the library this past weekend to pick up a book I had on hold--Meljean's Brook's Iron Duke--came home with six books. Oy. Tis a sickness.

I like the sound of the hero in A Rogue by Any Other Name. I like broken, wounded guys, fiction ones, anyway.

I can't think of any romance series I plan to read, but I will be reading more of Stacia Kane's Chess Putnam series.

MsHellion said...

I have heard of the Iron Duke series--it's really popular, I believe. :) Or maybe you have mentioned it before. *LOL*

I will also have to investigate what the Chess Putnam series is about....

TerriOsburn said...

I've heard raves about The Iron Duke. Steampunk. Mystery. Zombies. That book has everything. LOL!

MsHellion said...

Ahhhh. Now I remember.

P. Kirby said...

Re: Iron Duke. I'm on page 87 and so far I like it. This is where I note that while I love the idea of romance, when it comes to romantic fantasy, I want solid world building and strong subplots (in fact, I'm okay with romance being the subplot). Anyway, at this point, I like the world building and the characterization (although, the hero is the typical growly alpha--meh). So far, it has a strong heroine. We'll see. I've like books early on, only to have them fall apart in later chapters. I hope the heroine doesn't turn into a gibbering, helpless, feeb when she falls for the hero.

irisheyes said...

Love the review, Hellie! I'm having a real hard time getting into historicals lately. Maybe this one will snap me back into them.

I've already purchased Robyn Carr's REDWOOD BEND, another of her Virgin River books and I'm debating about the Lisa Kleypas. I LOVE LK but the pricetag is stopping me. I do have it on hold at the library, though.

One of my favorite Beauty and the Beast books is Elizabeth Hoyt's TO BEGUILE A BEAST. I just loved Alistair. It seemed so unfair that he was caught up in all the ugliness of the war just because he was documenting flora and fauna for the crown!

Tiffani G said...

One of my very favorite "Beauty and The Beast" themed books is Elizabeth Hoyt's "To Beguile a Beast". Oh and my other one is Monica McCarty's "The Viper". Scottish Beastie in a kilt. mmmmmmm

Besides, waiting for "A Rogue By Any Other Name", I'm looking forward to Elizabeth Hoyt's next book for the Maiden Lane Series and Monica McCarty's next book for the Highland Guard.

tgulbransen (at) hotmail dot com

MsHellion said...

P.Kirby, the only thing worse than heroines who turn into gibbering feebs are heroes who turn from complete jerks to psychobabbling ultra-sensitives. Some middle ground please. *LOL*

MsHellion said...

Irish, I agree about TBAB. That was a wonderful BATB structured novel and Alistair was quite lovable. :) War is rarely fair for anybody that's actually in it.

MsHellion said...

Tiffani, lovely to meet you. Another vote for Hoyt's book (and you all know I love Hoyt's stuff!)--and a vote for McCarty's stuff, which I'm also always recommending! I love that series! Thanks for coming by!

Kim said...

I'm not crazy about Beauty and the Beast tropes. I know a lot of people like them, but I've never really enjoyed this particular plot. I'm actually looking forward to 3 series this year: the aforementioned Sarah Maclean's, Lisa Kleypas and Sherry Thomas.

MsHellion said...

Hi Kim! Fortunately there are nearly as many tropes as there are readers. :) Everyone can have their own favorite. I've heard a lot about Lisa Kleypas' new series...and I've always enjoyed her stuff, so she's definitely going on my list. I'll need to investigate Sherry's series, though I know some of the pirates are huge fans of hers and probably already know about the series!

Marnee Bailey said...

Great review Hells! :) This one is in my TBR. It sounds both yummy AND delicious. :)

MsHellion said...

Try to sneak it to the top, Marn. It's a little darker...so delicious! :)

Jane said...

Happy Release Day to Sarah. My favorite is Judith Ivory's "Beast."

Janga said...

I just read Sherry Thomas's Beguiling the Beauty. Loved it, and her prose is so wonderful that I find myself rereading passages several times and sighing over their perfection.

I'll vote for Beauty and the Beast tales by Eloisa James, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Judith Ivory as favorites and add Teresa Medeiros's The Bride and the Beast and Robin McKinley's Beauty to the list.

fsbuchler said...

Darn it, Janga, You used up all my favorite Beast picks! So I'll just have to repeat them:
I'll vote for Beauty and the Beast tales by Eloisa James, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Judith Ivory as favorites. However, I also just finished Mary Balogh's "Simply Love" where Anne Jewell, a beauttiful teacher and unwed mother(Rape)is paired with Sydnam Butler, a horribly scarred and maimed war veteran. I loved this take on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale.

fsbuchler said...

P.S.Now I can't wait to read Sarah MacLean's
"A Rogue By Any Other Name."

MsHellion said...

Janga, I have a sweet fondness for The Bride & the Beast too. :)

MsHellion said...

Hi Jane! I believe I've read that book by Judith Ivory. It was very memorable and special--it is one of the first ones usually mentioned for favorite BATB type books. :)

MsHellion said...

fsbuchler--welcome aboard! Janga does that. *LOL* But it's a good thing--she always reminds me of something I forgot or lists a half-dozen I still need to read. It's rather like having Hermione Granger around to quote from Hogwarts, A History.

I don't think I've had a chance to read Simply Love yet, but I will definitely look it up. Mary Balogh is definitely a great read!

JulieJustJulie said...

Great review! And better than truffles? Lud, This sounds like a must read kind of book!
When you asked what is my favorite book featuring Beauty and the Beast Teresa Medeiros’ “The Bride and the Beast” immediately came to mind. How can you not love a story where the heroine finds herself tied to a post as a virgin sacrifice to a dragon? But instead of a dragon she encounters a beast … of a man!

JulieJustJulie said...

And what book/series you’re looking most forward to devouring this year?
I’ve been dying to get my hands on Manda Collins’ “How to Dance with a Duke” and The Hunger games. And after reading this review you can add A Rogue By Any Other Name to that list too.

Anonymous said...

I always love beauty and the beast storyline:). I found a book called beastly and it is very good:). I'm looking forward to devour Sarah Maclean ' book a rogue by any other name too and Julia London the revenge of lord eberkin , Aretha , arethazhen(at)rocketmail(dot)com

MsHellion said...

Jules, I'm giving thought to reading The Hunger Games (or trying AGAIN) since the movie comes out in a month.

I'm not sure being tied to a post and left to be a virgin sacrifice has been in my top 10 fantasies--probably why I tried so hard to get rid of my virginity as soon as possible.

MsHellion said...

Hi Aretha! Great to have you on the ship! I've seen a book called BEASTLY (it was YA, I think), and the premise looked really good. I'll have to try it! Thanks for the recommendation!