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Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: The Art of Taming a Rake by Nicole Jordan

Good morning! I hope everyone is doing well this SECOND week of February (Already?). Have any of you read Nicole Jordan's books before?

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine 
Release Date: January 26, 2016

Despite his notorious reputation, Quinn Wilde, Earl of Traherne, has mostly honorable intentions. So when beautiful Venetia Stratham boldly enters a gentlemen’s club, demanding that Quinn stop courting her sister, he does what any bachelor would do: He kisses her. With her sharp wit, intoxicating passion, and surprising vulnerability, Venetia is irresistible—except for all this nonsense about threatening to shoot Quinn. But when clandestine enemies make an actual attempt on the earl’s life, Venetia is implicated. To save her good name, Quinn does what any true gentleman must do: He proposes.

Thus Venetia finds herself wed to arrogant, wickedly sensual Quinn, whose devilish ways are as legendary as his rumored skills as a lover. Yet vexingly, her body rebels against her vow to remain immune to his many charms. If only she could reform the infuriating nobleman—without diminishing his undeniable allure. As Venetia discovers that a true rake is hard to tame, Quinn faces an even greater challenge: winning his wife’s fragile trust . . . while defending both their lives.

Basically Venetia Stratham wants notorious Quinn Wilde, the Earl of Traherne to stop courting her sister so she tracks him down to a gentleman’s club to demand he do just that. Somewhere among her threats to shoot him and his kissing her, an actual attempt is made on Quinn’s life. Since Venetia threatened to shoot him in front of witnesses, she’s quickly implicated in the attempt. Quinn, being nobler than anyone gives him credit for, proposes in order to erase suspicion, and with no other option, Venetia accepts. The threats against Quinn don’t stop and the two have to work together to solve the mystery of who wants Quinn dead and why, all while fighting the growing attraction between them.

This was way more than just a marriage of convenience, it was a marriage born out of necessity and for me that added more interest in Quinn and Venetia as a couple. Quinn started out as indifferent towards Venetia, noticing her as he would have any pretty woman but nothing special and Venetia all but loathed him for courting her sister with his reputation. It was their determination to make the best out of their circumstances that gave them the chance to fall in love. The physical attraction was already there but Quinn and Venetia needed more than that to make their marriage work. The steady progression from physical to emotional connection was mixed with the adrenaline rush of attempts on Quinn’s life and the mystery of who was behind it all.

I loved Quinn, he was such a revelation. On the outside he appeared to be an amoral rake who seduced every woman he came in contact with, all without remorse but in reality he was a man who did love the ladies but would never stoop so low as to hurt an innocent woman. He was surprisingly gentle and nurturing for a titled man and so considerate of the lower class. There was no chance I wouldn’t fall for this character.

Venetia was a little harder to like. What appealed to me was the fact that she was strong willed enough to take her future into her own hands against her family’s objections and loyal enough to want to protect her sister from what she perceived as Quinn attempting to add her to his list of ruined women. What I didn’t like was that she sometimes acted immature and lacked a logical thought process especially when it came to Quinn. Even when she had proof and facts in front of her, Venetia would still vehemently deny that Quinn was a good man and that she was wrong about him. That stubborn pride combined with her immaturity gave me a few eye roll moments and had me doubting her appeal. It wasn’t until the last 30% of the book that she started to grow up and think like an adult rather than a petulant child.

Despite her shortcomings I think Venetia was a good match for Quinn, he could be himself with her and show her his softer side and she not only accepted him but fell in love with him because of it. I loved the pace of their relationship. It wasn’t insta-love and they had to really get to know each other a bit because of how their marriage came about. I liked that it wasn’t too fast to be unbelievable or too slow and boring. Quinn added an element of fun and playfulness to the relationship that Venetia didn’t expect but enjoyed nonetheless.

I will say that The Art of Taming a Rake did bump around a bit in the conflict department. I felt that there were one too many conflicts for just one story. More than once Quinn and/or Venetia were derailed in their search for the person responsible for wanting Quinn dead. I really didn’t think those side trips were necessary since the bigger issue was the unknown assailant.

The lack of interference from Quinn’s family was a blessing. My biggest complaint with this series has been how meddlesome his cousin Katherine was. She annoyed me to no end with her persistent nagging that each of the Wilde clan was destined to find love based on legends of the world’s greatest lovers. Kate does make several appearances in The Art of Taming a Rake but thankfully her overbearing, nagging personality was toned down A LOT.

Final Verdict: While this series isn’t on par with Jordan’s earlier books, particularly her Courtship Wars series, it’s still enjoyable and The Art of Taming a Rake has so far been the best one. Kate’s story is next and long time fans of Jordan’s will recognize the name Brandon Deverill from yet another earlier series, The Paradise series.

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